Kids are the way to YouTube fame–but at what cost?

BTW

YouTube videos featuring children are three times more successful than their children-less counterparts, according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center.

The center analyzed channels with subscriber counts greater than 250,000 in order to gain a sense of what a week in the life of a large YouTube channel is like. Among its findings was the success of English-language videos featuring children under the age of 13, which “garnered an “average of three times as many views as other types of videos.” Only, the platform isn’t even meant for children of that age, as you must be at least 13 years old in order to create a YouTube account.

YouTube has faced criticism for serving as a hub for pedophiles in the past. On June 3, YouTube changed its livestreaming policy in response to reports that its algorithm was helping pedophiles find home videos of kids.

In March, YouTube disabled comments on videos featuring kids after it learned that pedophiles were sharing–amongst each other–timestamps of nude content in videos featuring children.

YouTube also reduced recommendations of videos featuring minors in “risky situations.”

A spokesperson told the Daily Dot in February that it terminates thousands of underage accounts each week. “Any content—including comments—that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube,” the spokesperson said at the time.

YouTube took down several of 13-year-old ASMR creator Life With Mak’s videos on the basis that her videos were sexual in nature. The videos removed included her eating sticky foods. This forced Mak, or Makenna Kelly, to leave YouTube and her 1.5 million subscribers behind.

On June 19, reports surfaced that YouTube was under investigation for allegedly violating children’s privacy. The investigation ended in a reportedly multimillion-dollar settlement between its parent company Google and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The success of content featuring children isn’t lost on creators. Some of the most popular channels are family vlogs, where daily life and internet challenges are prominently featured. These channels, such as the ACE FamilyFamily Fun Pack, Bratayley, and Daily Bumps all have millions of subscribers each.

A YouTube spokesperson told the Verge that while it “couldn’t speak to Pew Research Center’s methodology or results, … the most popular content on YouTube tend to be areas like comedy, music, sports and ‘how-to.'”

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H/T the Verge

Brooke Sjoberg

Brooke Sjoberg

Brooke Sjoberg is an editorial intern for the Daily Dot studying journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. She is also the Daily Texan's Life and Arts Editor and an editorial intern for Texas Connect magazine.