YouTube announced on Wednesday that it would be taking a harder look at videos marketed toward children to ensure that they are “family-friendly.”
In a statement, Johanna Wright, vice president of product management at YouTube, said that the website had reviewed how potentially inappropriate content was being marketed toward children and shared steps they were taking to address the issue.
“In recent months, we’ve noticed a growing trend around content on YouTube that attempts to pass as family-friendly, but is clearly not,” Wright said. “While some of these videos may be suitable for adults, others are completely unacceptable, so we are working to remove them from YouTube.”
Google is battening down the hatches around kid-friendly content in a handful of ways:
- Stricter content control. Now on warning: “content featuring minors that may be endangering a child, even if that was not the uploader’s intent” (that would be the mouthful of blood people) and “content with family entertainment characters but containing mature themes or adult humor.”
- Demonetizing shady kid stuff. Peppa Pig goes to the ham factory won’t be getting any ad dollars.
- Aggressive comment patrol on videos of kids. The comment section of YouTube is, to borrow Penny Arcade’s phrase, “like if the bottom of the barrel had its own barrel, with another bottom altogether, that then dripped on an ocean of diseased rats which then leapt into a rank sewer.” Videos found to have inappropriate (“abhorrent”) comments about the kids in them will have comments turned off altogether.
- Better understanding context. Rick & Morty may be a cartoon, but you probably don’t want your 7-year-old watching it. Similarly, a sexy cosplay of Dora the Explorer (why?) doesn’t really qualify as educational content. So YouTube is “growing the number of experts we work with, and doubling the number of Trusted Flaggers we partner with in this area” to better track this kind of thing.
Hopefully that prevents a few parents from having to answer awkward questions about butchering methods or why a banana would need a hammock.