The channel, hosted by the seven-year-old Ryan Kaji (but operated by his parents), has often released Kaji's toys and unboxing. The complaint said that Kaji's parents did not disclose Chuck E. Cheese.
"an adult may distinguish. When a child influencer like Ryan is playing with his own product, "Bonnie Patten, executive director of Truth in Advertising, told The Verge. "as a target audience for preschool children, they are not aware that they are advertising. Their goal is to get children to say something like 'what Ryan has,' and so on. "
Patten's main concern is that placing a disclaimer at the top of the description box of YouTube videos is not enough for young children to understand that it's a paid advertisement. The moral dilemma posed to creators like Kaji and his parents is a gray area that has attracted YouTube's attention before. The creator has mentioned netizens like Jake Paul, who has repeatedly mentioned that his target audience includes children of about eight years old, because he uses sponsors to promote controversial products on his channel.
The truth complaint in the ad also raises a related issue that the YouTube community has previously addressed: creators present their goods and other products to young viewers. A survey by NerdCity's podcast Een in 2018 found nearly half of Paul's video was used to advertise his products, which are trying to sell to young children. That's why someone has described Paul's advertising approach as predatory.
This is a problem. Advocacy groups have been fighting YouTube for years, but this week a key factor changed. YouTube has in the past reversed criticism by reiterating that its terms of service clearly stipulate that the site is not suitable for anyone under the age of 13. Instead, YouTube points out that its official children's app is where younger viewers can watch more planning videos. Even so, child rights advocacy groups complain that YouTube blatantly ignores many of its largest channels, including toy box-breaking, which are specifically targeted at young children. The company also allows advertisers to specialize in family content, which seems to contradict YouTube's statement.
Now, YouTube is changing everything after receiving a record $170 million fine for alleged violations of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. YouTube must stop collecting video data for minors, which means that these videos will not be able to be launched with location-based advertising. This may encourage creators to get more sponsorship from companies because they can no longer broadcast a popular advertisement on their channels. Authors who make videos that appeal to young audiences or directly target children must also mark their videos as such and lose some product functions, including the ability to send notifications. YouTube has also launched a dedicated children's version of the website that can be accessed online, which exists alongside the YouTube children's application.
This does not address Patten's concerns about the blurred boundaries in the creator's videos, but she believes it proves that the government and YouTube are ready to address the serious advertising problems on the platform. "Influential marketing is a relatively new form of marketing," Patten said. "Research and law must catch up with it now. Now there is a series of studies that can guide FTC to solve this problem, especially when it comes to children. I think we will definitely see new guidelines for FTC. "
Patten says that this is not a restriction on all creators working with advertisers or using their own platforms to promote their own products. This is to understand the difference between the process of viewing videos and trying to sell them something and the process of not selling them. "When it comes to young children, especially preschool children, studies show that'You can't advertise them in a deliberate way because they can't distinguish advertising from content'.