Some changes are coming to the way YouTube does business.
YouTube has agreed to pay a 170 million dollar penalty to settle allegations that it knowingly tracked and sold ads targeted to children. It’s the largest penalty on record under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Besides paying the fine, YouTube must also require the makers of children’s videos to state whether their content is aimed at kids.
Reports were circulating over the summer that the site was thinking about moving all its kids’ content to the YouTube Kids app and disabling the autoplay feature for children’s content. That’s the feature that lines up videos using an algorithm, sometimes resulting in inappropriate content popping up while kids are on the site. YouTube is not commenting on the situation.
Whatever changes YouTube makes affects many families.A 2018 Pew Research study found 81% of parents with kids 11 and younger let their kids access YouTube, with 34% of those doing so regularly. The study also found 61% of parents also found YouTube’s “content unsuitable for children.”
What’s in the Future for Kids Online?
While the outcome of the YouTube investigation and potential changes remain uncertain, what is certain is that other companies are looking to attract those YouTube viewers.
Dylan Collins, CEO of SuperAwesome (pictured above), recently spoke with Parentology about his company’s up and coming online video platform for kids called Rukkaz. SuperAwesome is just one of several companies launching more kid-friendly technology.
Collins tells Parentology Rukkaz is being built for children ages four -13 with age-appropriate video content.
“All of the content is focused on influencers and live-action, real people doing outdoor videos and real-world activities,” Collins says. Rukkaz will be specifically targeting kids in the seven-12 age range with live-action videos.
While other sites totally rely on algorithms to suggest content, that won’t be the case with Rukkaz. Real people will be the brains behind suggesting content for kids. Collins says, “You need humans to augment algorithms.” Adding this is particularly important in digital service for kids.
Real people will also be monitoring engagement platforms to make sure there’s no inappropriate activity. When Rakkuz launches, kids will only be able to follow approved content and will not be able to create their own channels.
This is something that could change in the future. Collins says as users prove to be good community citizens, they’ll be allowed to create their own channels. Right now the focus is on building the right platform. Rakkuz is in the live testing phase right now with a launch date yet to be announced.
Collins tells Parentology that his company isn’t trying to replicate YouTube, but rather introduce an additional place for influencers to engage with kids.
Collins predicts, “I think the kids’ video landscape will change and you’ll see other platforms interacting with kids and influencers.”