YouTube for Kids. A wish list.

A few days ago Techcrunch wrote about a new idea brewing at Google/YouTube to create a Kid’s Youtube. This is a wonderful idea I’d love to see go live ASAP. Google, allow me to humbly suggest a short wish list.

The single most important requirement here is SAFE content. Safe: no sex, nudity, foul language, violence, bad things and evil monsters, even those under the bed. No mistakes are possible here so please, if there’s any doubt about a video, err on the side of conservatism and leave it off the site.

The question of what videos are OK for kids needs to be vetted and double-vetted. It’s not easy. For example, I wouldn’t put Beyonce’s and Gaga’s “Telephone” on the OK list but the Glee version is fine. It will be necessary to vet individual videos as many users put up a variety of different videos.

1.  I wholeheartedly agree that the screening of content needs to be taken from a white list so that only vetted videos are included, not a black-list where all videos are available until someone reports them.

2. Vetting: as it’s probably necessary to vet individual videos and not just users. I suggest a checks and balances system loosely copied from Google’s Recapcha effort. First build an active community of “allowers:” approved users who determine that a video can go on the kids-can-view list. Second, make sure each video is approved at least twice.  

 3. Special “verified/vetted” video sharers: those allowed to post videos without pre-screening. One misstep and they’re off the list forever. Companies such as Disney would love paying for this extra privilege.

 4. Ignore tagging, descriptions and comments when making descriptions to include videos. These can be misleading.

 5. There’s good speech recognition technology today that can weed out language issues. Let’s put it to good use.

6. Ads. Don’t put an ad for beer right before a video from Sesame Street.

7. Related and recommended videos can only be from the vetted group.

It’s amazing what sort of things people will do in the hopes of getting a larger audience for their video. Using existing videos of cute furry animals but “dubbing” with a new, vulgar voiceover is one example. I’ve seen videos with Muppets, Sesame Street and other kid’s characters.  Also popular is to tag videos with popular search terms but that have nothing whatsoever to do with the term. One example I saw is a video of “My Lasik eye surgery” tagged and described as a song from Glee.

Youtube, please do this. Call me if you have any questions. Thanks 🙂


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