Google introduces new protection measures for children in searches and on YouTube

4 mins read

On YouTube and YouTube Kids, Google is changing the default settings for those under 18. The most notable change for creators between the ages of 13 and 17 is that their videos will default to the most private setting. This means that only they and the people they choose to share the videos with can see them, says James Beser, Director of Product Management for Kids and Families.

It is possible to change this setting to make the videos public, but

“We want to help younger users make informed decisions about their online footprint and digital privacy, including encouraging them to make an intentional decision if they want to make their content public”

james beser

YouTube already offers what it calls “digital wellbeing” features, including time watched, rest and bedtime reminders, scheduled notifications, and the ability to turn off notification sounds and vibrations.

From now on, rest and bedtime reminders will be enabled by default, and autoplay will be disabled by default.

Again, you can change these settings.

YouTube Kids adds an autoplay option: Parents who want video content to play for a longer time, for example during a road trip, can turn it on.

But, just like for older children, it’s off by default.
Finally, YouTube has made the decision to remove content from YouTube Kids that it considers “excessively commercial”.

“Examples cited by Beser include “videos that only focus on product packaging or directly encourage kids to spend money.”

It’s unclear how many videos will be removed from YouTube Kids due to this decision, but it definitely means that there will no longer be any new content of this kind on the service.

Google search blocking

At Google, the company will allow people under the age of 18 – or their parents or guardians – to request removal of their images from Google Image search results.

“Of course, removing an image from Search doesn’t remove it from the web, but we think this change will help give young people more control over their images online.”

Mindy Brooks, CEO of Children and Family

Information on how to make these requests will be reported in the coming weeks.

Google will also turn on filtered SafeSearch results for users under the age of 18, and make it the default setting for teens who create new accounts. It is already activated for those under 13 years of age. In the coming months, SafeSearch will also be applied to browsers on smart screens.

For those of you concerned about location tracking, Google will soon not allow those under the age of 18 to turn on location tracking.

“It’s already off by default for all accounts, and kids with supervised accounts don’t have the option to turn on location history. Going a step further, we will soon expand this to users under the age of 18 globally, which means Location History will remain off (with no option to turn it on).”

james beser

The move comes shortly after Instagram said that those under 16 who sign up for the app will have private accounts by default.


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