Researchers are warning parents this week after a new study found that YouTube videos featuring children under the age of 13 receive more than three times as many views as videos without children.
The study, conducted by the Pew Research Center, analyzed the videos produced by popular YouTube channels (ones with more than 250,000 subscribers) during the first week of 2019. What they found was that only a small percentage of the English language videos were targeted at children. But, any video that featured a child who appeared to be under the age of 13, “received nearly three times as many views on average as other types of videos.”
“The very small subset of videos that were directly aimed at a young audience and also featured a child under the age of 13 were more popular than any other type of content identified in this analysis as measured by view counts,” the report reads.
So what does all of this mean?
We know YouTube is where kids go these days for entertainment. The Pew study further confirms that with views on videos curated FOR young children STARRING young children are by far the most popular on the platform.
But as we’ve seen time and time again, YouTube is not a friend to families.
As previously reported by For Every Mom, YouTube is a gold mine for pedophiles and child predators. The public site, which is free to use and open to everybody, hosts a plethora of videos featuring children of all ages.
This means that while your child may be watching an innocent video targeted at their age group and featuring children of their age, it’s likely that the video’s popularity is not just among young kids.
Matt Walsh, a popular Vlogger, found a glitch in YouTube’s algorithm. In a lengthy and emotional video, Walsh revealed a loophole, which pedophiles have used to prey on children, swap information, and use as a launching pad for child porn and exploitation. And they’re using our kids’ YouTube videos to do it.
After reports surfaced earlier this year of sexual child exploitation at the hands of YouTube’s algorithm, the platform effectively disabled all comments on videos featuring children.
Kids Presence Ever-Growing on YouTube
Creators are picking up on the trend of child popularity, and using kids in their videos as a means to guarantee ad revenue.
YouTube is currently at the center of a Federal Trade Commission investigation into the safety of kids on its platform, but the video streaming giant refutes the Pew study’s findings that kids are their most popular asset.
A spokesperson for the company said that “generally on YouTube, the most popular video categories tend to be areas like comedy, music, sports and ‘how to.’”
That may be so, but all of those categories can and do feature children, which further proves Pew’s theory that videos with kids are three times as popular.
Bottom line parents: be vigilant. Know what your kids are watching, and how their use of YouTube makes them a target.