YouTube is banning minors from streaming on the site

5 June 2019, 17:37

YouTube
YouTube. Picture: Getty: SOPA Images

By Rachel Finn

Under 14s will need parental permission to stream on the platform.

YouTube has announced new steps it will be taking to protect young people who use its platform by banning minors from streaming from the site.

The new policy is already being put into place and according to a blog post by YouTube released this week, is intended to “specifically disallow younger minors from live streaming unless they are clearly accompanied by an adult”.

They’ve also announced they’ll be disabling comments on videos featuring minors and will be limiting recommendations “of borderline content” including “videos featuring minors in risky situations”. The site defines minors in this case as those being thirteen or under.

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Despite the new rules, there are still plenty of kids who have found their fame on YouTube. 2018’s highest paid YouTuber was Ryan of Ryan ToysReview, a 7-year-old who made an incredible $22 million reviewing children’s toys. Since he appears in most of his videos with a parent and his channels are managed by an adult, it’s unlikely these changes will affect channels like these.

But it might make a difference for the content of children who use the site to stream themselves playing video games. Some of them already earn enviable salaries - one such YouTuber being Griffin “Sceptic” Spikoski, a now 14-year-old who reportedly made $200,000 last year streaming himself playing Fortnite on the site. Another - Ethan of EthanGamerTV, who’s twelve-years-old - has over 2 million subscribers and is worth an estimated 3.7 million, although his parents apparently monitor all his communications.

Short of a parent or guardian sitting in the frame while a stream is happening, it’s not clear how YouTube verifies how a minor has parental permission to stream on the site or not. That being said, a policy that tries to make sure kids have guidance in what they’re posting online until they’re old enough to understand the potential consequences of the content they post is surely a step in the right direction.