To protect teens, YouTube’s limiting some video recommendations

From The Verge: Starting November 2nd, YouTube will impose restrictions on how often teens receive repeated video recommendations related to sensitive topics like body image, the company announced on Thursday.

YouTube says the new safeguards are the result of its partnership with the Youth and Families Advisory Committee, which consists of psychologists, researchers, and other experts in child development, children’s media, and digital learning. For years, the committee has advised YouTube on the potentially harmful mental health effects repeated exposure to certain content online can have on teenagers.

“A higher frequency of content that idealizes unhealthy standards or behaviors can emphasize potentially problematic messages—and those messages can impact how some teens see themselves,” Allison Briscoe-Smith — a clinician, researcher, and Youth and Families Advisory Committee member — explains in a press release. “Guardrails can help teens maintain healthy patterns as they naturally compare themselves to others and size up how they want to show up in the world.”

YouTube worked with the advisory committee to identify categories of videos that could potentially pose a problem if viewed repetitively. Now, teen viewers will no longer receive repeated video recommendations for content that “compares physical features and idealizes some types over others, idealizes specific fitness levels or body weights, or displays social aggression in the form of non-contact fights and intimidation.”

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