COPPA and YouTube: Answering Your Top Questions
Regardless of your location, you’re legally required to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and/or other laws. You’re required to tell us that your videos are made for kids if you make kids’ content. These changes are to better protect kids and their privacy, and to comply with the law.
Why is it the creator’s responsibility to comply if YouTube is the one collecting data (not the creator)?
YouTube and creators share responsibility for complying with children’s privacy rules under various laws. We rely on you to tell us if your content is intended for kids because you know your content best. We trust you to set your audience accurately, and we’ll only override your audience setting choice in cases of error or abuse. Once you set your audience, we’ll limit how we use and collect data on that content to align with the audience setting.
How do I know if my content is NOT made for kids?
According to guidance from the FTC, if your video has actors, characters, activities, games, songs, stories, or other subject matter that reflects an intent to target children, it’s likely “made for kids.” If not, it’s unlikely that your content needs to be marked as “made for kids”.
A video is not necessarily made for kids just because:
- It’s safe or appropriate for everyone to watch (aka it’s “family friendly”)
- It covers an activity that’s traditionally associated with children
- Children may incidentally see it
Here are some examples of the types of videos that could be considered “general audience”, in the absence of information suggesting an intent to target kids:
- A DIY video teaching hobbyists how to remake dolls or to make clay figures
- A family vlog about an amusement park visit
- A video featuring detailed instructions around creating mods
- A satirical video with adults singing along to kids songs
- An animated program that appeals to everyone
- A Minecraft video that includes adult humor
Remember to carefully consider who you’re trying to reach with your videos as you evaluate your content and the factors above.
Is “general audience” content the same as “mixed audience” content?
No. General audience content is content that could appeal to everyone, but isn’t intended specifically for children, or content that is intended for a teen or older audience. General audience content should be set as “not made for kids.”
Here are some examples of the types of videos that could be considered “general audience”, in the absence of information suggesting an intent to target kids.
- A DIY video teaching hobbyists how to remake dolls or to make clay figurines
- A family vlog telling other parents about an amusement park visit
- A video featuring detailed instructions around creating mods or avatars
- Animated content that appeals to everyone
- A gaming video that features adult humor
Mixed audience content, on the other hand, is considered a type of made for kids content. This is content that targets children as one of its audiences, even if it’s not the main or primary audience, and that qualifies as child directed after balancing the factors described above.
Can I just add a disclaimer that my content isn’t made for kids?
Adding a disclaimer stating that your content is meant for 13+ audiences doesn’t mean that the FTC will automatically deem your content as not made for kids. It is definitely a factor that can help determine your intended audience, but the FTC will weigh it against the other COPPA factors such as:
- The presence of characters, activities, games, toys, songs, stories, or other elements that are particularly appealing to children
- Other statements you may have made regarding your content’s intended audience that differ from the disclaimer (such as those made on a personal website)
Do I need to prove the age of my audience if I don’t have the tools to do so? What does FTC consider as evidence that kids are watching my content?
Any evidence you may have about the age of your viewers is just one of the factors that you should consider in designating your content as “made for kids”. Unfortunately, YouTube Analytics (YTA) isn’t designed to help determine if kids are watching your content. The FTC has advised that considering data, like results from a survey about your users’ ages, could be helpful in determining if your content is made for kids.
Why didn’t YouTube add a “mixed audience” setting option?
In designing the audience setting feature, we streamlined the options for creators by creating a single “made for kids” category to avoid further confusion in an already unclear space. There are some complexities with the mixed audience category, and we’ve submitted public comments to the FTC to help us create a better solution for creators, including mixed audience creators.
What features are not available on content that is made for kids, and why are those features not available?
You can find a list of features here
that are not currently available on content made for kids. All or part of these features may rely on user data. To help protect kids’ privacy and meet legal requirements, we have to limit data collection and use on videos that are set as “made for kids.”
How will recommendations work for made for kids or not made for kids content? Will the discovery of my videos be affected?
The goal of YouTube’s recommendations systems is to help users find videos they want to watch and connect users with the content they love -- including content designated as “made for kids”. We work to give users content that interests them and gives them a quality experience on YouTube. Videos that are set as “made for kids” are more likely to be recommended alongside other kids’ videos. To ensure your content is reaching the right audience, it’s important to accurately designate your content as “made for kids” or “not made for kids.”