YouTube will limit the frequency with which teens receive recommendations for lifestyle videos. It will also restrict those who are socially aggressive. On Thursday, the company explained that the new measure is aimed at ensuring the "well-being and mental health" of these users.
YouTube explained that it made the decision after consulting with the Committee on Youth and Family Affairs, which includes psychologists, researchers and other experts in the field of child development. For years, the committee has advised the platform on the potentially harmful effects that some content may have on children and teenagers.
“More frequent posting of content that idealizes unhealthy standards or behaviors may highlight potentially problematic messages,” Allison Briscoe-Smith, a researcher and member of the Youth and Families Advisory Committee, explained in a statement. “These messages can influence how some teenagers see themselves. Restrictions can help teenagers maintain a healthy lifestyle,” the expert added.
New YouTube updates to protect teen health
Teen users will receive fewer recommendations from YouTube videos that, among other things, “compare physical characteristics and idealize certain types over others, or idealize certain fitness levels or body weight.” Regarding social assault content, the company cited those videos that depict assaults "in the form of non-contact fighting and bullying."
YouTube said the restriction will begin on November 2 in the US and will expand to more countries in 2024. The company also announced updates to other teen well-being tools, such as "take a break" reminders and bedtime reminders. Now they will be more visually attractive and will appear more often.
YouTube has also expanded its crisis resource dashboards to full screen. This feature connects users who search for topics such as “eating disorders” with real-time support services. It also redirects them to search results for “self-compassion” or “grounding exercises.” This feature is now available to audiences of all ages in locations where these dashboards are already enabled.