YouTube’s COPPA Changes: See if You’re Ready

YouTube’s COPPA Changes: See if You’re Ready

January 14, 2020 6:40 pm

It’s a new year, a new decade, and there’s a big new change on YouTube. On January 6, 2020, YouTube began requiring creators to label their channels and videos as “made for kids” if the primary audience for their content is children. 

Videos that are designated as “made for kids” will no longer support features such as comments, save to playlists, live chat, notification bell, and others. Additionally, personalized ads will not be served.

This might seem like a detrimental rule for both creators and kid-focused brands but as it aims to protect our most vulnerable population – children – a few more rules can be worth it. We’ve done our research, and are here to tell you why the changes are necessary, and how you can create content that aligns with the regulations while still showcasing kid-focused products.

Why now?

YouTube has been around for well over a decade, and there hasn’t been any issues with kids content before, right? Wrong. Kid-focused content has been abused in the past, and it all came to a head in 2018, when multiple child protection groups filed a complaint with the FTC. Their chief complaint was that YouTube, a subsidiary of Google LLC, had illegally collected personal information from children (individuals under the age of 13) without their parents’ consent.

Google and YouTube were fined a total of $170 million in September of 2019 for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule. The COPPA rule forbids the use of identifiers, such as cookies, from collecting personal information on individuals under the age of 13 without their parents’ consent. 

Determining if your content is safe for kids

Lots of creators and brand channels are worrying that they’re going to get penalized – and even shut down – for creating kid-oriented YouTube content. Most need not worry, as it’s easy to designate your content as made for a “general audience.” Additionally, it is possible to manually override the AI scanning content, which is helpful for channels that are aimed at adults but feature products such as collectible toys.

According to YouTube, even if children are not the primary intended audience for your video it could be flagged if there are elements directed at children.  The below list of questions will help you decide whether your video is at risk: 

  • What’s the subject matter of the video (is it educational content for preschoolers)?
  • Are children the intended audience for the video?
  • Are live children featured in the video?
  • Does the video include symbols (characters, toys, etc.) that are aimed at children?
  • Is the language used in the video, including any songs, stories or poems, easy for children to understand?
  • Are games that appeal to children being played in the video?
  • Can this content be used to advertise to children? 

What now?

With the rules getting stricter, it’s important to make sure all your bases are covered before posting content on YouTube. Here are best practices to avoid having your content be flagged:

  • Examine your videos carefully based on the above list, and see if there is easy editing that can be done to remove children-focused points
  • Categorize videos as “Not Made for Kids” 
  • Turn off monetization on any at-risk videos   
  • Work with parent influencers who speak directly other parents about children’s products, rather than directing messaging at kids
  • Connect with Trending Family to produce parent-focused videos that meet the new COPPA requirements 

— —

Influencer marketing is a tricky realm with new rules and regulations coming up all the time, and Trending Family is here to help. Join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on all the changes in influencer marketing.

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