YouTube’s new teen safeguards limit repeated viewing of some video topics and more

Two years later testify before the US Senate on child safety issues, including adolescent exposure to eating disorder content, YouTube announced today additional product guarantees around its content recommendations aimed at teens. Specifically, the company said it would limit repeated recommendations of videos on topics that might trigger body image concerns, such as those comparing physical features or idealizing body types, certain weights or fitness levels. Additionally, it will also limit repeated viewing of videos showing “social aggression” in the form of non-contact fighting or bullying.

YouTube said some of these videos may be harmless when viewed alone, but could become problematic when teens watch the same type of content repeatedly. And, of course, YouTube’s recommendations depend on the content users interact with, which is why such controls are necessary.

The company said it would initially limit repeat viewing of these videos in the United States, with other countries following next year — a signal that YouTube is trying to get ahead of proposed video safety regulations. children, such as the bipartisan KOSA (the Kids Online Safety Act) bill offered last year following hearings on adolescent mental health. The law project recently added Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA-D) as co-sponsor, following her official presentation introduction in May by Senators Marsha Blackburn (TN-R) and Richard Blumenthal (CT-D).

Alongside the recommendations changes, YouTube said it will also revamp its “take a break” and “bedtime” reminders first introduced in 2018. Now, these features will become “more visually visible” and appear more often to viewers under 3 years old. 18. Features are enabled by default in Account Settings, YouTube Notes and will now appear as full-screen replays on YouTube Shorts and long-form videos, with the default “take a break” reminder set every 60 minutes . Competitor TikTok already offers similar reminders, in the form of short videos that appear in its For You feed to suggest when users have scrolled for too long.

Image credits: Youtube

YouTube says it will also expand its crisis resource panels to become full-page experiences as viewers explore topics related to suicide, self-harm and eating disorders. Here, they’ll see resources like third-party crisis hotlines and other suggestions to steer them toward other topics, like “self-compassion” or “grounding exercises.” says YouTube.

Image credits: Youtube

To develop its new standards, YouTube claims to have partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Common sense networks, a subsidiary of Common Sense Media. The latter will help YouTube produce new educational resources for parents and teens, including “tips on developing intentional and safe online habits, creating content with empathy and awareness, and best practices to address comments, shares and other online interactions,” the company said. . Meanwhile, WHO and the British Medical Journal will host an expert roundtable to examine strategies for adolescent mental health, in terms of providing online resources and information. A report is expected to be published in early 2024.

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