YouTube Introduces New Safeguards To Protect Teen Users


YouTube has announced new product safeguards aimed at protecting teenagers from potentially harmful content. The company’s latest measures include limiting the repeated recommendations of videos that can contribute to body image issues and social aggression. These steps come two years after YouTube’s CEO testified before the U.S. Senate concerning child safety concerns.

Key Takeaway

YouTube is implementing additional safeguards to protect teenage users from potentially harmful content. These measures include limiting repeated recommendations of videos that can contribute to body image issues and social aggression. The company is also enhancing existing features to promote healthy browsing habits and expanding crisis resources for sensitive topics.

Limiting Repeated Viewing of Triggering Content

YouTube will now limit the repeated recommendations of videos that promote body dissatisfaction or idealize specific body types, weights, or fitness levels. The company recognizes that while these videos may seem harmless individually, repeated exposure can have a negative impact on teenagers’ mental health. By implementing these limits, YouTube aims to prevent the potential harm caused by continuous engagement with this type of content.

Keeping Up with Proposed Regulations

In an effort to stay ahead of child safety regulations, such as the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), YouTube plans to roll out these safeguards initially in the United States, with more countries following suit next year. KOSA, a bipartisan bill, gained additional support from Senator Elizabeth Warren and aims to address teen mental health concerns. YouTube’s proactive approach indicates its commitment to user safety and aligning with the proposed regulations.

Enhancing “Take a Break” and “Bedtime” Reminders

YouTube will also enhance its existing features, “take a break” and “bedtime” reminders, which were introduced in 2018. These reminders will now appear more prominently and frequently for viewers under the age of 18. Default settings will include a full-screen takeover for YouTube Shorts and long-form videos, reminding users to take breaks from excessive screen time. This update brings YouTube in line with competitors like TikTok, which also implements similar reminders to promote healthy browsing habits.

Expanding Crisis Resource Panels

In an effort to provide more support to teenagers navigating sensitive topics like suicide, self-harm, and eating disorders, YouTube plans to expand its crisis resource panels. These panels will now appear as full-page experiences, offering viewers access to third-party crisis hotlines and suggestions for alternative topics like “self-compassion” or “grounding exercises.” By enhancing these resources, YouTube hopes to guide teenagers towards helpful information in times of need.

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