Why is there a disclaimer at the start of my videos?

Short answer:

I don't want to get fined by the FTC

Long Answer:

In January 2020 YouTube made it so that the content creators of the videos being uploaded to their website are now responsible for declaring if the videos they upload are "made for kids", aimed at children or contain children within the videos.

This was a direct response to the $136,000,000 fine that YouTube were made to pay by the FTC for knowingly and illegally collecting advertising data on children under 13.

Basically, the way YouTube works is to assess your browsing habbits online and then offer you adverts before, during or after their videos that are aimed at your preferences. These adverts are purchased by companies all over the world that pay YouTube to have their adverts shown. A portion of that money goes to the content creator to allow them to earn revenue from the videos they upload. This is often referred to as "Advertising Revenue". The "data" that YouTube collects from you is collected via tracking cookies that monitor your browsing habbits across YouTube and the internet to build a picture of what your interests are so they can provide suitable advertising to you.

Many people fear this data! It's harmless and it enables Google and YouTube to operate for free and give us access to amazing services.

It is illegal for YouTube, or any other company for that matter, to collect data on people under the age of 13, and whilst YouTube does not allow under 13s to register accounts on their website, they are more than aware that millions of children access their website and view their content via parental accounts or other people's devices.

Because it is impossible for YouTube to determine what content is made for kids and what isn't, from the billions of videos in its database, it has asked the content creators, i.e. the people uploading the videos, to make that decision themselves about whether a video is made for kids or not.

If a content creator marks their video as made for kids, the video cannot be used to collect data on the viewers and also has limited features such as comments and engagements disabled. The content creator, if monteized, will lose up to 90% of their revenue from videos marked as "made for kids".

This is fine for a lot of situations, however Minecraft videos and gaming videos fall into a grey area which is difficult to judge if the content is made for kids or not. Just because a video is family friendly, doesn't mean it's directed at or aimed towards children.

Many of my earlier videos could certainly be judged as "made for kids", however my later content and the community I have built around my channel is certainly more adult and I personally aim my videos at those older people. However I realise that under 13s will still watch and enjoy my videos, which is fine.

The issue I have is that, whilst YouTube allows me to certify my videos as "Not Made for Kids", if the FTC decides that they think my content IS made for kids, then I may face a minimum $40,000 fine, which I cannot afford and certainly do not want to be worrying about.

As someone that is trying hard to become a full time content creator, I cannot afford to mark all of my videos as "Made for Kids" and lose 90% of my advertising revenue, just incase the FTC decides they think my videos are made for kids, so by adding this disclaimer at the beginning of each video, I can cover myself from the responsibility.

This disclaimer passes the responsibility of your children's data being tracked to you, the parent or guardian of the child in question. If you do not wish for your child's data to be tracked, then please do not let them use YouTube on your device or account. If you agree to data being collected then please go ahead and watch the video.

I just want to be clear, I DO NOT collect anyones data nor do I have access to the data that YouTube or Google collect. I have no control over what data they do collect or what they do with that data. In my opinion, that data is harmless and as a parent myself, I do not mind my children's data being tracked. But you need to make that decision about your children yourself.

Below are links to YouTube, COPPA and the FTC so you can better understand what data is collected, how it is used and why it is important.

If nothing else, always be aware of what your children are watching and what content they are consuming. Know your rights and take responsibility for what they access online.

Links