Who are the people behind kid's YouTube channels?

Who are the people behind these channels? And are there any guidelines ensuring the content is kid-friendly?

    2019/04/12

NSFW    THE INTERWEBS — Kids' channels on YouTube are on the rise, but who are the people behind them? A report by the Wall Street Journal explored this issue.

If you haven't accidentally stumbled upon an hour-long YouTube compilation comprised solely of variations of 'Mary Had A Little Lamb', consider yourself lucky.

Kids channels on YouTube are becoming increasingly popular and they're making bank. According to Social Blade, CoCoMelon, one of the top kid channels on the platform, makes roughly $120 million a year in ad revenue.

But who are the people behind these channels? And are there any guidelines ensuring the content is kid-friendly?

YouTube doesn't monitor who uploads, it monitors what is uploaded. All you need to do to become a creator and collect revenue is provide a valid address and phone number. However, when it comes to channels directed at children, this can be risky.

In 2015, YouTube launched the YouTube Kids app, in order to give parents more control of the content their children were consuming, but the app still does not provide any clarification as to who creates the content.

Josh Golin, executive director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, told the Wall Street Journal that this "adds to the lack of accountability," when it comes to the quality of the videos being created.

Most of the top channels on the platform describe themselves as "educational" but whether or not that is true is questionable.

Former research director for Sesame Street, Renée Chernow-O'Leary, mentioned a video in one of these channels where a kid dropped Mentos into a Coca-Cola bottle. Chernow-O'Leary added, "I was waiting for the mother to say, 'Do you know why this happens?' But she didn't. What they lack is an intent to educate.'

But if these videos are repetitive and non-educational, what makes them popular on YouTube? Well, the algorithm and parents. On one hand, YouTube promotes channels that prolong watch time, AKA long videos and content that is advertiser-friendly.

On the other hand, parents see these hypnotic videos as the perfect nanny. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center last November, 81 percent of parents with children under 11 let them watch YouTube and 34 percent said their children watch it regularly.

But parents are catching up with the mind-numbing content. A mother told the Wall Street Journal that she stopped letting her 2-year-old-daughter watch YouTube videos after her daughter took a liking to a video of adults and kids opening plastic eggs with surprises inside.

Peyton added, 'It was disturbing to me that somebody was working so hard on the videos—intricately editing them and using so many eggs. I remember thinking, 'What was their agenda?'. That remains a mystery.
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