March 28, 2023

YouTube recently rolled out new guidelines to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), requiring all videos geared toward kids ages 13 and under to be marked as such. 

These videos will not receive targeted ads anymore. A change in ad rules is meant to protect children from inappropriate ads, but will unintentionally affect YouTubers’ revenue and creative processes. 

The guidelines provided by COPPA are broad, which leads many YouTubers to be apprehensive about what will be considered as “geared toward kids.”

Many believe the start of these new guidelines could begin to affect video content and quality.

Susannah Metzler, junior graphic design major, points out the general nature of the new COPPA guidelines.

“Because COPPA is not specific on what makes a video child-friendly, many channel creators don’t know if the videos they release will be flagged as child-friendly or not child-friendly,” Metzler said.

Metzler said she believes this could affect how YouTubers decide to market and promote their channels’ videos and that viewers might see some YouTubers start to be more cautious in their decisions.

“So if a video is child-friendly, that channel (might) not market it as such for money reasons. But then the viewers could flag it as such, bringing down revenue for that channel. So I think either channels will ultimately stop releasing videos that are child-friendly or increase content geared toward adults intentionally to make their videos seem less child-friendly so they can still get money for it,” Metzler said.

A decrease in views, which will affect ads and profitability, is a possibility with these new COPPA guidelines, as well.

James Earhart, senior graphic design major, is aware of how these new rules will change the way YouTubers approach their videos and try to obtain views. James Earhart has a YouTube channel of his own called Powercordz Project.

“Creators who push the boundaries or do not meet the guidelines they will suffer greatly,” Earhart said. “However, creators who have followed the guidelines or adapt to this will more than likely see a spike in views.”

With the changes that could come to viewership, additional problems could arise. Earhart said this could effect the creative experience for both the audience and the YouTuber.

“These rules were made to appease advertisers 100 percent,” Earhart said. “These rules are so restrictive. It doesn’t allow creative freedom for creatives. These rules are made to ‘protect’ children, but instead of creating a safe space for children to watch content they’ve created an un-creative visual and listening experience for children to consume.”

There appear to be many issues that can arise from this new set of rules and guidelines. The new COPPA guidelines could interfere with content creators’ video content and their ads, however, some people view this as a wise move to protect children and advertisers.

Faith Wicks, freshman communication studies major, shared her opinion on the situation.

“I think it will be a positive thing,” Wicks said. “It will cost YouTubers a lot of views, which will be negative, but some of these ads are not appropriate for kids. So, in the end, I think it (will be) positive.”

The YouTube world is about to change and viewers will see their favorite YouTubers and channels affected. In the end we will see how COPPA will change the overall YouTube experience for viewers and creators.

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