YouTube is rolling out new tools and upgrading existing ones to protect youngsters from certain types of content that may affect their well-being. The platform is used by 95% of U.S. teens, according to a 2022 Pew Research Center survey, and has faced several lawsuits, alleging they're contributing to the teen mental health crisis.
The mentioned features are seamlessly integrated into YouTube, requiring no action from parents or caregivers. It's essential to be aware of these tools, evaluate their effectiveness, and consider adding parental controls for additional peace of mind.
YouTube is taking steps to limit repeated recommendations for videos on specific themes. According to James Beser, Director of Product Management for YouTube Kids and Youth, this decision stems from identifying content categories that may be harmless as a single video but could be problematic when viewed repeatedly. YouTube is particularly addressing the negative impact of repetitive content related to body image/ weight and social aggression, removing reminders about such content.
For instance, if a young user watches a video about a specific way they should look/ wear/ act, they won't receive related video suggestions as they would after watching a different type of video. This limitation for teen users in the U.S. began in November 2023, with plans to
expand to more countries in the next year.
YouTube is expanding its crisis resource panels to offer help for teens exploring sensitive topics. These full-page experiences are designed to interrupt the flow of information, give teens a chance to think about what they're searching for, and redirect searches toward positive topics and third-party crisis hotlines.
YouTube's Take a Break and Bedtime reminders are getting an upgrade. They will now be displayed more prominently and frequently, appearing as full screen interruptions every 60 minutes (unless otherwise adjusted). These enhancements aim to encourage healthier screen time management, providing parents with a valuable tool to guide their teens towards a balanced digital lifestyle.
In addition to YouTube's native tools, parents can further enhance oversight using Bitdefender Parental Control, not only on YouTube but also on other platforms their teens might use. This tool offers a range of features, allowing parents to monitor messages, social media accounts, emails, and other mobile activities. With Bitdefender Parental Control, parents can shield their children from objectionable material, online threats, and sensitive apps, providing an extra layer of protection.
Parents can leverage these tools to guide their teens toward a balanced digital lifestyle and create a safer and more positive online environment for their teenagers.