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YouTube Kids’ new monetization policy could defund consumeristic videos

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YouTube wants to demonetize ‘low-quality’ content for kids

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

YouTube is making it harder for kids’ videos that it deems “low quality” to qualify for monetization (via Engadget). The platform outlined its updated policies in a post on the YouTube Blog, noting that channels with “made for kids” content will need to abide by a stricter set of guidelines if they want to stay in the YouTube Partnership Program (YPP).

Its policies are meant to discourage kids’ content creators from pushing out videos that it describes as “heavily commercial or promotional” or if it encourages “negative behavior or attitudes.” If a channel violates these guidelines, YouTube may suspend them from YPP. Meanwhile, any individual videos that break the rules will lose advertisers.

YouTube’s new guidelines could impact a number of channels, including one of the biggest kids’ channels on YouTube: Ryan’s World. Ryan Kaji is a 10-year-old YouTuber whose videos garner millions of views. At this time of writing, his channel currently has 30.8 million subscribers. Kaji’s massive popularity has landed him a show on Amazon, along with a virtual world on Roblox.

A large number of Kaji’s videos revolve around unboxing toys, as well as showing off toys that Kaji has helped create. It’s definitely what one would describe as “consumeristic” — which is what YouTube says it’s trying to cut down on. YouTube says that it has “reached out to potentially impacted creators” to help them prepare before the policies go into effect in November. If Ryan’s World wants to remain one of the most popular YouTube channels for kids, it may need to make major adjustments to the kind of content it puts out.

The most recent major change to kid-focused content took place in early 2020 when YouTube banned targeted advertising, comments, and some community features for kids’ videos. Just this February, YouTube rolled out “supervised experiences” to help parents gain more control of what their older children watch.