YouTube has announced a series of new measures aimed at safeguarding underage users of the platform, which includes restricting the recommendation of videos related to sensitive topics such as physical appearance and body image.
In developing these proposals, the company has worked closely with the Youth and Family Advisory Committee, comprised of independent experts who play a significant role in shaping the products, policies, and services offered to young audiences and their families.
The platform has acknowledged that one of the most significant contributions from this committee relates to the developmental stages of teenagers and, more specifically, how online content consumption can impact their well-being, according to a statement on its blog.
Working alongside this group of experts, YouTube has identified categories of content that, when viewed individually, may seem innocuous but could become problematic when repeatedly consumed. These categories include videos centered around physical appearance and those idealizing specific physical characteristics, fitness levels, or body weights.
In response, the platform has announced that it will restrict the repeated recommendations of videos associated with these topics for teenagers. This measure will be first implemented in the United States and will expand to more countries over the next year.
Additionally, YouTube has revealed its plan to increase the frequency of reminders for users to take breaks when continuous activity is detected on the platform and to remind users of bedtime, a feature available since 2018.
“We are revamping these functions to make them more visually prominent and appear more frequently, particularly for viewers under the age of 18 whose accounts have these reminders activated by default,” the company emphasized in a statement.
Furthermore, YouTube has stated that it is expanding the dedicated space for crisis resource panels. These panels are designed to provide users with information and resources on topics related to suicide, eating disorders, and self-harm when queries about these subjects are made.
In taking these steps, YouTube is aiming to create a safer online environment for its younger audience and address concerns about the potential impact of content related to physical appearance and body image on adolescents’ well-being. The collaboration with the Youth and Family Advisory Committee underscores the platform’s commitment to responsible content recommendations and user well-being.