Harmful or dangerous content policies

The safety of our creators, viewers, and partners is our highest priority. We look to each of you to help us protect this unique and vibrant community. It’s important you understand our Community Guidelines, and the role they play in our shared responsibility to keep YouTube safe. Take the time to carefully read the policy below. You can also check out this page for a full list of our guidelines.
Note: We recently reorganized our Community Guidelines to provide further clarity about our policies related to Misinformation on YouTube. To review these policies, check out our articles on Misinformation and Elections misinformation.

YouTube doesn’t allow content that encourages dangerous or illegal activities that risk serious physical harm or death.

If you find content that violates this policy, report it. Instructions for reporting violations of our Community Guidelines are available here. If you've found a few videos or comments that you would like to report, you can report the channel.

What this policy means for you

If you're posting content

Don’t post content on YouTube if it fits any of the descriptions noted below.

  • Extremely dangerous challenges: Challenges that pose an imminent risk of physical injury.
  • Dangerous or threatening pranks: Pranks that lead victims to fear imminent serious physical danger, or that create serious emotional distress in minors.
  • Instructions to kill or harm: Showing viewers how to perform activities meant to kill or maim others. For example, giving instructions to build a bomb meant to injure or kill others.
  • Hard drug use or creation: Content that depicts abuse of or giving instructions on how to create hard drugs such as cocaine or opioids. Hard drugs are defined as drugs that can (mostly) lead to physical addiction.
  • Instructional theft or cheating: Showing viewers how to steal tangible goods or promoting dishonest behavior.
  • Hacking: Demonstrating how to use computers or information technology with the intent to steal credentials, compromise personal data or cause serious harm to others such as (but not limited to) hacking into social media accounts.
  • Bypassing payment for digital content or services: Showing viewers how to use apps, websites, or other information technology to gain unauthorized access to audio content, audiovisual content, full video games, software, or streaming services that normally require payment.

Keep in mind that this isn't a complete list. Please note these policies also apply to external links in your content. This can include clickable URLs, verbally directing users to other sites in video, as well as other forms.

Don’t post content showing a minor participating in dangerous activity, or encouraging minors to participate in dangerous activities. Never put minors in harmful situations that may lead to injury, including dangerous stunts, dares, or pranks. You can learn more about Child Safety here.

Age-restricted content

We may consider the following factors when deciding whether to age-restrict or remove content. Keep in mind that this isn't a complete list.

  • Whether the act in question could lead to serious injury or death.
  • Whether the individuals participating in the act are trained professionals taking precautions to prevent injury.
  • Whether minors could easily imitate the act.
  • Whether the content could be used to commit serious acts of violence.
  • Whether the upload is educational, documentary, scientific or artistic in nature.
  • Whether there's any commentary discouraging the act.
  • Whether the viewer can tell if it's real or fake.
  • Whether the content promotes a product that contains drugs, nicotine, or a controlled substance.

Examples of age-restricted content

  •  A video about fake harmful pranks that seems so real that viewers can't tell the difference.
  • A reaction video to a dangerous challenge without any commentary discouraging the challenge.
  • A video promoting a cannabis dispensary.
  • A video reviewing brands of nicotine e-liquid.
  • A video providing instructions for or facilitating cheating.

We might allow videos that depict dangerous acts if they’re meant to be educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic (EDSA). For example, a news piece on the dangers of choking games would be appropriate, but posting clips out of context from the same documentary might not be.

This policy applies to videos, video descriptions, comments, live streams, and any other YouTube product or feature.

Extremely dangerous challenges

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. This isn't a complete list.

  • Asphyxiation: Any activity that prevents breathing or can lead to suffocation like:
    • Choking, drowning, or hanging games
    • Eating non-food items
  • Misuse of weapons: Using weapons, like guns or knives, without proper safety precautions or in a way that could cause physical harm. Includes the "No Lackin'" challenge.
  • Ingesting Harmful Substances: Eating, consuming, or inserting non-food objects or chemicals that may cause illness or poisoning. Includes detergent-eating challenges.
  • Burning, Freezing & Electrocution: Activities with inherent risk of severe burns, freezing, frostbite, or electrocution. Includes the fire challenge and hot water challenge.
  • Mutilation & Blunt Force Trauma: Activities like:
    • Self-mutilation
    • Abstaining from normal health practices
    • Falling, impalement, collision, blunt force trauma, or crushing
  • Challenges featuring children: Showing minors drinking alcohol, using vaporizers, e-cigarettes, tobacco or marijuana, or misusing fireworks.

Note: We may age-restrict content that explains this type of content in an educational or documentary way. For example, a documentary about self-mutilation may be allowed but it won't be available to all audiences.

Dangerous or threatening pranks

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. This isn't a complete list.

  • Intentional physical harm: Inflicting physical harm on unsuspecting prank victims through actions like punching attacks, drugging food or drinks with laxatives, or shock pranks.
  • Making someone feel in immediate danger: Tricking others into believing they're in real danger, even if no physical harm comes to them. This includes:
    • Threats with weapons
    • Bomb scares
    • Swatting or fake 911 calls
    • Fake home invasions or robberies
    • Fake kidnapping
  • Emotional distress to minors: Any prank that causes emotional distress to children or others who are vulnerable. This includes:
    • Fake death or suicide
    • Fake violence
    • Pretending that a parent or caregiver will abandon a child
    • Showing a parent or caregiver verbally abuse or shame a child

Note: We may age-restrict pranks involving adults that don't violate our policies. For example, a prank with a realistic looking injury may be allowed. But, it won't be available to all audiences.

Violent events or instructions to harm

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. This isn't a complete list.
  • Bomb-making: Showing viewers how to build a bomb meant to injure or kill others, such as:
    • Pipe bombs
    • Package bombs
    • Explosive vests
    • Molotov cocktails
  • Violence involving children: Any real fights or violence between children.

Note: We may age-restrict this type of content if it's documentary or educational. For example, content that gives medical, academic, historical, philosophical, or news perspective on a violent act may be allowed. But, it won't be available to all audiences.

Drug use

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. This isn't a complete list.

  • Displays of hard drug uses: Non-educational content that shows the injection of intravenous drugs like heroin or huffing/sniffing glue.
  • Making hard drugs: Non-educational content that explains how to make drugs.
  • Minors using alcohol or drugs: Showing minors drinking alcohol, using vaporizers, e-cigarettes, tobacco or marijuana, or misusing fireworks.
  • Selling hard or soft drugs: Featuring drugs with the goal of selling them. If you're using links in your description to sell hard drugs, your channel will be terminated.
  • Steroid use: Non-educational content that shows how to use steroids for recreational purposes (like bodybuilding).
Note: If this type of content is educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic, we may still age-restrict it. For example, a documentary about intravenous drug use that shows the injection of drugs may be allowed, but it won't be available to all audiences. If your content shows items used for taking drugs, it may also be age-restricted.

Remember these are just some examples, and don't post content if you think it might violate this policy.

What happens if content violates this policy

If your content violates this policy, we’ll remove the content and send you an email to let you know. If we can’t verify that a link you post is safe, we may remove the link.

If this is your first time violating our Community Guidelines, you’ll likely get a warning with no penalty to your channel. If it’s not, we may issue a strike against your channel. If you get 3 strikes within 90 days, your channel will be terminated. You can learn more about our strikes system here.

We may terminate your channel or account for repeated violations of the Community Guidelines or Terms of Service. We may also terminate your channel or account after a single case of severe abuse, or when the channel is dedicated to a policy violation. You can learn more about channel or account terminations here.

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