Young Kids and YouTube: How Ads, Toys, and Games Dominate Viewing
November 17, 2020
YouTube is the largest free, global platform for online video, which makes it a preferred platform for families, and especially those families whose access is limited, who can't afford expensive streaming service subscriptions or premium cable.
In this report, done in partnership with the University of Michigan, we look at YouTube videos watched by kids age 0–8 to understand what they're watching, what kind of advertising they're seeing, and what kind of inappropriate content they might be exposed to. What we found is that the content that young kids are seeing on YouTube is overwhelmingly entertainment-driven, and riddled with inappropriate content, from advertising to violence.
As the largest, globally accessible, free platform for online content, YouTube must be held accountable for the ways in which it serves content to its youngest viewers. YouTube must understand that young viewers are accessing content on the main platform (not just YouTube Kids), and it must change the ways in which it serves those younger viewers, from rethinking how content recommendations are served to how advertising appears and other guardrails around violent and sexual content. The online environment is heavily commercialized, and there are far fewer regulations in place to protect children's well-being in that space.
For Parents and Caregivers: