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YouTube Improperly Used Targeted Ads on Children’s Videos, Watchdogs Say


There has been a recent uproar in the media over allegations that YouTube, the popular video-sharing platform, has been improperly using targeted ads on children’s videos. This has sparked an international debate among parents, child rights groups, and advertisers, with everyone questioning the ethical and legal implications of such strategies. Several watchful organizations assert that not only is the content of these videos highly questionable, but the ads that run alongside them are being targeted at children up to the age of 13, which can be harmful.

In this blog post, we will explore the various arguments surrounding this issue and why experts think YouTube has gone too far in its ad targeting practices.

YouTube improperly used targeted ads on children's videos, watchdogs say


1. Is YouTube breaching the child protection regulations?

The first argument made by these watchdog groups is that YouTube is violating child protection rules by using targeted ads. Under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and other similar laws, websites must obtain parental consent before collecting children’s data or displaying personalized ads. Child rights advocates argue that YouTube is using artificial intelligence to target ads to kids despite this regulation, which could lead to harmful behavior.

2. Are brands insensitive towards the well-being of children?

This debate also puts brands who advertise on YouTube under scrutiny. Critics argue that advertisers are guilty of exploiting children for financial gain by placing their products next to inappropriate videos. Instead of advertising toys, games and other healthy products at adult audiences, they are attempting to capture younger viewers who are being exposed to the wrong kind of content, claiming little responsibility for the results. Brands should be sensitive to the fact that an influential medium like YouTube has a great impact on children’s development, neglecting which can adversely affect future generations.


YouTube to End Targeted Ads on Kids Videos - Bloomberg

3. Is the content of these videos also at fault?

Also, some the content creators who produce these videos, which are being monetized and thus resulting in pay-outs to themselves, are being blamed for producing videos that are both inappropriate and unsafe for minors. Videos with topics related to violent games, sexual content, and harmful behavior are considered inappropriate for children under 13. Even if some of these videos are moderated, a significant proportion are being able to slip through the cracks.

4. What role does YouTube play in this issue?

Experts widely agree that YouTube, as an advertisement platform, should take responsibility in preventing the spread of such content, especially since it is being viewed by young children. There is currently not a standard protocol for reporting inappropriate usage of ads, which is why watchdog groups desperately are calling on YouTube to take steps to eliminate these videos’ toxicity. The responsibility should not just rest on them, however, as it needs to be the onus of all to create content that is respectful to children regardless of specific rules and regulations.

5. What can we, as adults, do now?

As active users of the internet and YouTube, we are more than mere viewers, but also educators. We must learn to use technology safely, know the privileges and drawbacks of using the internet, recognize the risks, and help the children we know and love do the same. Educating yourself on these issues is a vital part of advocating for our children’s rights, using laws such as COPPA to better understand and demand ethical, legal, and proper conduct that will be appreciated by everyone involved.


There is little doubt that this topic has caused much controversy, and it has raised questions about how YouTube uses targeted ads and whether or not these techniques are safe for minors. As a society, we need to work together to come up with a solution that balances the rights of our children to peaceful and healthy online experiences and the rights of brands to advertise their products ethically. It is everyone’s responsibility to create content that is conducive to a safe and healthy media landscape. It is upon us to be the difference and make our voices heard.