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The Good and Bad of How COPPA Effects All Users on Youtube

The Good and Bad of How COPPA Effects All Users on Youtube

For the past few years, Youtube has undergone many controversial updates that have managed to upset both the creators and the viewers. Along with the development of modern social media, Youtube has become one of the top platforms that the public turns to in hopes to seek mindless entertainment. Although Youtube may not be considered social media by definition due to its beginnings as a basic video-sharing website, the culture and connection between users have developed into a modern online social environment. When comparing today’s intricate Youtube environment with its simple introduction, its evolution as a social website and business opportunity represent the possibilities that modern social media can now provide. What used to be a straightforward website that, basically, only provided funny cat videos is now a personal business opportunity, educational resource, and spectator phenomenon. With Youtube’s growth in popularity among users, the style of videos began to change along with it, sparking the creation of the website’s modern culture. Once people began to realize that they could not only make money through Youtube, but also have the potential to achieve online fame the types of videos posted went from America’s Funniest Home Videos to people sitting face to face with the lens of a camera. This style of video was slow to take off, but it set the trend for the self-made career of a social media influencer, those of which are now established as ‘Youtubers’. Becoming a modern ‘Youtuber’ is currently a desired career path, mostly by younger viewers, because it offers an enticing lifestyle surrounded with money, free stuff, and all-expense-paid trips around the world. Recently, many Youtubers have spoken out on how toxic the members of their community are in real life and also how the recent developments have made it harder to obtain and continue their career path, revealing that the life of a Youtuber is not as amazing as it is portrayed to be.

Past Youtube Developments Due to Controversial Creators

Many of Youtube’s past updates on their Terms of Service have been aimed towards the control of its creators. Youtuber’s and viewers alike have been aggravated by these developments that are mostly made up of strict rules regarding language, body imagery, and content provided. The continued argument against these decisions is that users feel as if the website is overly censoring their freedom to create and watch whatever videos they want to. Content creators have also experienced a decline in their income, because their videos get flagged for demonetization due to a new set of rules being implemented that they were not aware of. Although mostly every user has agreed that Youtube’s censorship policies have gotten out of hand, there are viewers who support these changes. Those who complain about Youtube’s recent developments, especially its influencers, may not be aware of COPPA, or the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. 

Due to Youtube’s public nature, it is easy for children to view content that is not appropriate for their age. Buried under all of the family and lifestyle channels are porn videos and compilations of world disasters or illegal actions, but there is also a trend of videos that directly targets children. There have been multiple cases of videos that have passed through Youtube’s previews that disguise themselves as child-friendly, but are the complete opposite. The videos typically include adults filming themselves playing with dolls so that the video appears to be appropriate, but the dolls discuss topics of a sexual nature. There was also a trend in videos marked as child-friendly that included a pop up of a terrifying creature named “Mo-Mo” at the end who threatened to kill the child’s family if they didn’t complete the offered challenge, much of which caused children to do acts of self-harm, physically hurt others, or commit suicide. Along with the videos that were created to fool parents into thinking the content was appropriate for children, Youtubers themselves have been considered to be a part of the problem. One of Youtube’s most controversial moments was the exposure of the Paul brothers and how they produced content towards their millions of subscribers that was labeled as family-friendly but was far from it. Jake Paul was criticized for portraying a disruptive, obnoxious, and dangerous persona that inadvertently encouraged his young viewers to act the same way. His brother, Logan Paul, withstood the most backlash when he uploaded a video of him filming a dead body while in the Suicide Forest in Japan showcasing it to an underage audience. After the Paul controversy, Youtube became more strict on the content that Youtubers are allowed to post and it seems that the newest update proves how restrictive the website can be.

The Latest COPPA Update on Youtube

Youtube has continued to develop its platform with the hopes of maintaining a family environment. Realistically, it is nearly impossible to completely wipe out all of the inappropriate content that is uploaded every day, but Youtube’s newest update has created an easier way for creators to define which audience their videos are for. With hopes to please both the creator and the viewer, Youtube has solved the confusion surrounding child-friendly content by simply adding a button that the creator can label. To upload a video, one must state whether it is appropriate to be viewed by children. This especially helps any parent who has access to kid controls on socials, which is the primary audience that complained about Youtube’s lack of controlling its content. It is also relieving that any creator who refuses to label their video or breaks the rules of kid-friendly content could potentially be fined $42K, basically making the situation a no brainer for every single influencer. Although this update is small and has received no negative comments, not everyone will be pleased with the development, but it is definitely the right step towards listening to the users and providing a solution to the main problem. 


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 @Sierra Swanson  @sierrajoan  @sierrajoan_  @sierrajoan_