YouTube is particularly popular with the youngest users. All the more reason to protect them adequately on the platform. YouTube and Google are now adapting various functions for the protection of children and young people.

85 percent of 14-year-olds use YouTube

Although young people are not allowed to open their own Google account to use YouTube until they are 16, the platform is also very popular with younger children. Google also contributes to this with offers such as the YouTube Kids app or the Family Link family settings.

It is therefore not surprising that the number of particularly young users on YouTube is also high. In 2019, 75 percent of twelve to 13-year-olds said in a survey that they use the platform. Among 14- to 15-year-olds, the figure was as high as 85 percent.

However, if parents do not restrict the youngest children’s use, they can quickly end up with disturbing content. But Google now wants to change that and adjust the rules for child and youth protection. Google Search is also getting some changes.

The new rules for more child and youth protection on YouTube

YouTube’s main focus for more child and youth protection is on children’s awareness. Videos uploaded by users between the ages of 13 and 17 will in future be automatically set to private.

In this way, YouTube wants to create awareness among young users for their decisions on the Internet, according to the corresponding blog post.

We want to help young users make informed decisions about their digital footprint and privacy online, and encourage them to make a conscious decision about whether to publish their content.

Digital wellbeing is also a focus of the innovations. For young users, YouTube will set break reminders and bedtime reminders by default. The autoplay function will be deactivated by default in the future.

Paid product placements are not available on YouTube Kids anyway. However, the platform is now to become even more ad-free. In return, YouTube wants to remove “excessively commercial content. In plain language, this means videos that encourage children to spend money or focus on product packaging.

What does the new child and youth protection at Google look like?

However, the measures are not limited to YouTube, but some changes are also to come into effect at Google, the search engine giant announces in a blog post.

One of the probably most important adjustments concerns the Google image search. In the future, it will be possible for children under 18 or their legal guardians to have images deleted from Google search results.

Removing an image from image search will not remove it completely from the internet, but we believe this change will still give young people more control over their images online.