Harmful or dangerous content policy

Starting Mar 18, 2024, our policy on Harmful & Dangerous content will be updated to include a stricter stance on audience disclaimers and updated guidelines to better assess the risk of potential harm of the act portrayed.
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

 

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

Harmful or dangerous content policy

What this policy means for you

Note: The list below isn't complete. If you think that your content might violate this policy, don't post it.
This content isn't allowed on YouTube:

Harmful or dangerous acts, challenges, and pranks

  • 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.
  • Harmful or dangerous acts: Acts performed by adults that have a risk of serious harm or death.
  • Minors participating in dangerous activities: Content that endangers the emotional and physical well-being of minors. For more info, review our Child safety policy.

Weapons content

  • Instructions to kill or harm: Instructions that show or tell viewers how to perform activities that are meant to kill or severely harm others.
  • Explosives: Giving instructions to make explosive devices or compounds meant to injure or kill others.
  • Firearms: For more info, review our Firearms policy.

Digital security content

  • Instructional theft: Instructional theft videos posted with the express intent to steal physical goods or get something for free.
  • Hacking: Demonstrating how to use computers or information technology with the intent to steal credentials, compromise personal data, or cause serious harm to others.
  • Bypassing payment for digital content or services: Content that shows viewers how to get unauthorized access to content, software, or services that usually require payment.
  • Phishing: Content that tries to get or gives instructions for how to get nonpublic personal identifying information from viewers by deceiving them.
    • Cryptophishing: Requests for cryptocurrency or cryptocurrency-related wallet details as a part of a phishing scheme.

Illegal or regulated goods or services

Examples of harmful or dangerous content

Here are some examples of harmful or dangerous content that isn’t allowed on YouTube. 

Note: The list below isn't complete.

Extremely dangerous challenges

  • Asphyxiation: Any activity that prevents breathing or can lead to suffocation. Examples include:
    • 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. Examples include the "No Lackin'" challenge.
  • Ingesting harmful substances: Eating, consuming, or inserting non-food objects or chemicals that may cause illness or poisoning. Examples include detergent-eating challenges.
  • Burning, freezing, and electrocution: Activities with a serious risk of severe burns, freezing, frostbite, or electrocution. Examples include the fire challenge and the hot water challenge.
  • Mutilation and blunt force trauma: Examples include:
    • Self-mutilation
    • Abstaining from normal health practices
    • Falling, impalement, collision, blunt force trauma, or crushing

Note: We may age-restrict content that has educational or documentary context.

Dangerous or threatening pranks

  • Intentional physical harm: Inflicting physical harm on unsuspecting prank victims. Examples include:
    • Punching attacks
    • Drugging food or drinks with laxatives
    • Electrocution pranks
  • Making someone feel like they’re in immediate danger: Tricking others into believing they're in real danger, even if no physical harm comes to them. Examples include:
    • Threats with weapons
    • Bomb scares
    • Swatting or fake 911 calls
    • Fake home invasions or robberies
    • Fake kidnapping
  • Emotional distress to minors/vulnerable individuals: Any prank that causes emotional distress, or fear of a threat to physical safety, to children or others who are vulnerable. Examples include:
    • 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 prank content that involves adults and that doesn't violate our policies.

Harmful or dangerous acts

  • Risking serious harm or death: Behavior that shows adults risking serious bodily harm or death, particularly if someone watching could imitate the dangerous act or if the content encourages or praises the dangerous act. Dangerous acts include, but are not limited to, any act in the categories listed under Extremely Dangerous challenges above, such as acts that risk asphyxiation or electrocution.
    • We also don’t allow content showing dangerous acts by minors. This includes content that shows minors:
      • Drinking alcohol
      • Using vaporizers, e-cigarettes, tobacco, or marijuana
      • Misusing fireworks
      • Using firearms unsupervised
  • Extremely dangerous driving: Using a motor vehicle in a way that presents imminent risk of serious injury or death to the driver or others. Examples include:
    • Cell phone footage of a motorcyclist deliberately veering into oncoming traffic at high speeds. A voiceover reacts saying “Wow, that was crazy!”
    • Driving a car at a high speed along a walkway meant for pedestrians.

Instructions to harm

  • Bomb-making: Showing viewers how to build a bomb meant to injure or kill others. Examples include:
    • Pipe bombs
    • Package bombs
    • Explosive vests
    • Molotov cocktails
  • Violence involving children: Any real fights or violence between children. For more info, review our Child Safety policy.

Note: We may age-restrict content that has documentary or educational context.

Age-restricted content

Note: The list below isn't complete.
Sometimes content doesn't violate our policies, but it may not be appropriate for viewers under 18.
We may restrict rather than remove if content showing a dangerous act meets one or more of the following criteria:
  • There is educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic context, such as providing information about the risks of the act. For example, this could include context explaining the types of injuries that can happen as a result of doing the dangerous act, or describing your own experience being injured as a result of the dangerous act. It could also include context explaining the types of precautions or training required to do the act safely and prevent injury. Saying, “Don’t try this at home” is not sufficient context.
  • The act shown does not risk serious injury.
  • The content does not promote the act shown. Promotion includes any form of encouragement or praise of the act, or providing instructions on how to complete the act.

Learn about age-restricted content and how to watch age-restricted videos.

Examples of age-restricted content

  • Prank content featuring adults using excessive fake blood or gruesome fake injuries.
  • Showing footage of people engaging in a dangerous challenge, with commentary describing the number of people seriously injured by the challenge.
  • Content that shows adults misusing fireworks.
  • Content that shows adults using tasers on other willing participants or themselves.
  • Content that shows an adult parkour athlete reacting to videos of highly dangerous amateur stunts and commenting about the risk of harm.

Educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic content

Sometimes, content that would otherwise violate this policy is allowed to stay on YouTube when it has Educational, Documentary, Scientific, or Artistic (EDSA) context. Learn about how YouTube evaluates EDSA content.

Note: In some cases, EDSA content may be age-restricted. Certain content isn’t allowed on YouTube even if it has EDSA context added, such as content that sells drugs or regulated pharmaceuticals without a prescription.

Examples of EDSA content

  • A news piece on the dangers of choking games may be appropriate, but posting clips out of context from the same documentary might not be.
  • A video in which a professional stunt person performs a dangerous motorcycle jump that shows viewers the safety precautions taken in preparation, like onsite emergency medical personnel and the use of protective equipment.
  • A documentary that shows the impact of drug use in a particular community that, while showing viewers drug usage, discourages viewers from using drugs and doesn’t provide information on how to make or purchase them.
  • A video that shows dangerous driving or vehicle crashes in controlled environments to educate viewers about safe driving practices or vehicle safety features.

What happens if content violates this policy

If your content violates this policy, we will 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. Note that violative URLs posted within the video itself or in the video’s metadata may result in the video being removed.

If this is your first time violating our Community Guidelines, you'll likely get a warning with no penalty to your channel. You will have the chance to take a policy training to allow the warning to expire after 90 days. However, if the same policy is violated within that 90 day window, the warning will not expire and your channel will be given a strike. If you violate a different policy after completing the training, you will get another warning.

If you get 3 strikes within 90 days, your channel will be terminated. Learn more about our strikes system.

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. We may prevent repeat offenders from taking policy trainings in the future. Learn more about channel or account terminations.

Familiarize yourself with the rest of our Community Guidelines.

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