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YouTube rolls out ‘pause pages’ and content recommendation changes for children

YouTube rolls out ‘pause pages’ and content recommendation changes for children

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YouTube will be expanding its digital wellness reminders and bedtime notifications to help teenagers set appropriate boundaries [File]

YouTube will be expanding its digital wellness reminders and bedtime notifications to help teenagers set appropriate boundaries [File]
| Photo Credit: REUTERS

YouTube is globally rolling out changes to its app and platform experience in order to better shield young users from possibly risky content, remind them to take breaks, and provide them with resources in case they are going through a crisis.

YouTube said it was using Google’s machine learning technology to update its content recommendation system, with the aim of preventing teens from repeatedly being exposed to content focusing on idealised fitness levels, body weight, non-violent social aggression, desirable physical features, etc. across both long and short form videos.

While such content is allowed on the platform, repeated exposure to them could impact youngsters in the long run, YouTube had learned from external advisors and experts.

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In addition to this, YouTube will be expanding its digital wellness reminders and bedtime notifications to help teenagers set appropriate boundaries when scrolling through content.

Meanwhile, a ‘pause page’ will pop up with handy access to resources in case a teenager is looking up sensitive content related to self-harm or suicide.

While YouTube has a dedicated kids app that implements “the highest bar” for which videos are allowed, the company also offers a ‘Supervised Experiences’ mode for older users on the main app, so that a responsible adult can keep tabs on their activity, according to James Besar, Director, Product Development.

On YouTube’s Supervised Experiences part of the app, there are adjustment settings for the content that children see. Creating videos and commenting are disabled, while personalised ads are restricted.

For younger users who require more supervision, parents can approve content. There are also age-specific controls for pre-schoolers, younger kids, and older kids.

Adults can find similar tiers in YouTube’s Supervised Experiences option.

“We are very big critics of ourselves,” said Besar, noting that many YouTube employees and red-team testers were also the parents of children who used the app. “We are very motivated to keep it as safe as we can.”



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