YouTube not kidding around with videos for children

YouTube is changing how kids can watch videos and more importantly how parents can monitor those videos.

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Following a $1 million federal fine earlier this month for allowing targeted ads on its children's videos, YouTube is now re-working its YouTube Kids outlet with three new age-related genres to better protect children who enjoy watching their videos.

The new video classification system YouTube is implementing allows parents to choose between kids videos in three different age groups: Preschool for kids age four and under, "Younger" for kids ages 4-7 years old and "Older" will feature videos for kids from years 8-12.

The Federal Trade Commission fine was levied on the media giant for allowing ads targeted at children to be screened to the minors without parental consent. This was problematic because the ads were so targeted by collecting information on the underage viewer, which when done without parental consent, is a direct violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

The new, “safer environment,” according to YouTube’s statement about the changes, is the video platform's solution to protecting young viewers and putting the control back into the hands of the parents.

“We built YouTube Kids to create a safer environment for kids to explore their interests and curiosity while giving parents the tools to customize the experience for their kids,” YouTube said in today's statement.

YouTube said the new plan will recognize that “content for a 4-year-old may not be great content for a 10-year-old" and "parents will be able to select from three different age groups to choose the right content for their kid.”

The pre-school group of videos will feature content that, “promote creativity,” and allows kids to “explore their interests,” the YouTube statement promised. The "Younger" and "Older" categories will have videos designed to help kids "grow independence" and “explore music videos, gaming and family vlogs.”

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The move for the company, owned by Google, comes more than six months after YouTube suspended the comments section on videos of kids.

YouTube believes this new system is designed to increase the protection of its young viewers, but said also it needs the help of parents. “Our systems work hard to exclude content not suitable for each of these age categories . . . (but) not all videos have been manually reviewed. If you find something inappropriate that we missed, you can block it or flag it for fast review.”