You may have heard this week that YouTube’s parent company Google has announced a new policy for commenting on YouTube videos. If you’ve ever watched a YouTube video then scrolled down to leave a comment, or just read the existing comments, you know that people leaving comments feel free to say exactly what’s on their mind, even if it’s vulgar, racist, sexist or otherwise hateful.
Two things parents should find interesting about YouTube’s new comments policy are that:
- People hate it
- It will be more kid friendly
Until this week, all a YouTube user needed to leave a comment was a YouTube account. Many YouTube account names are/were vague and gave no clue as to who the user really is. As such, comments were effectively anonymous, and users could post any vile comment without having it linked to their real identity. With the new policy, users are required to have a Google+ account to leave a comment. When signing up for a Google+ account, you are required to use a real name. It may not be your true real name, but it can’t be “xyz123”, and is by default linked to a Gmail account.
It appears that some people don’t like it because it forces them to use Google+, but no doubt others don’t like it because it takes away the anonymity factor. Sure, Google is trying to drive engagement on its Google+ platform, and linking to YouTube, with over one billion monthly users, is a perfect platform to achieve just that.
Two things about the new policy will end up being more family friendly: no more anonymous comments will mean that people will think twice before bullying or trolling, and the new comment platform makes it easier to report spam or abuse. One thing that may be less user-friendly is that comments can now include a link to another site, so expect the spam merchants to be all over this.
Recognizing that many children watch YouTube videos, we still recommend that comments are hidden from view for the young crowd. That being said, this new policy should end up making YouTube a safer place for young users.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.