Moderating YouTube is a practically impossible task for mere humans to undertake, which is why YouTube has taken to using algorithms and AI to lessen this particular burden. Of course, this can sometimes lead to incorrect judgements and, more often, correct judgements that are called into question due to the fact that it wasn’t a human being that made them.
Age restriction is one of the more tricky things that can happen to your video because it’s not always clear why it happened. Demonetisation is—most of the time at least—relatively straightforward.
If your video has a lot of bad language, is about a controversial topic, or is generally adult in nature, you can expect it to get pulled from the eyes of paying advertisers.
But when your content is age-restricted, there are a number of limitations that come with it, and it may not seem fair if your content isn’t intended for younger audiences.
Age Restriction: Things to Note
Understanding some of the logic behind age restriction judgements can help you stay on top of things and avoid unexpected notifications on your videos. Here are a few things to think about when considering your videos in this context.
YouTube Doesn’t Care About Intent
YouTube’s hands are legally tied when it comes to content that is consumed by underage viewers. The COPPA regulations that caused so many changes to YouTube in the not-so-distant past are a little broad in scope, and YouTube has been forced to be similarly broad with their application of it.
In practical terms, this means that it doesn’t matter if your video is meant for children. If the majority of your audience is underage, your content—and probably your channel—will be treated as though it is a channel for younger viewers, and that means age restriction.
Age Restriction Does Not Equal Demonetisation
It can sometimes feel like having your videos age-restricted is the same as demonetisation, especially when compared to the earning performance of non-age restricted videos, but unless YouTube explicitly says your video is not eligible for monetisation, you are not demonetised.
The problem is that the aforementioned COPPA regulations dramatically reduce the amount of information that YouTube can collect about the viewer when that viewer is a child. This, in turn, dramatically reduces the number of advertisers that are interested in having their ads shown on those videos.
The main advantage of online advertising is the wealth of information that can be gleaned in real time. Where TV advertisements have to rely on vague demographics, YouTube can deliver specific information on a per user basis. This is extremely appealing for advertisers because it means they get more bang for their buck—more likelihood of their money resulting in customers—but COPPA’s restrictions remove that advantage. The net result is that fewer advertisers are interested in spending their money on videos where they can’t be sure what kind of viewers are watching.
AI and Algorithms Make Mistakes
People make mistakes, so it stands to reason that automated methods made by people can make the occasional gaff as well. Unfortunately, because those mistakes are made by machines, it can sometimes be difficult to get them overturned. One of the more common examples of this is facial recognition.
If YouTube’s AI overseers spot a child in a video, it will put certain restrictions in place, such as disabling comments. You can turn comments back on, but YouTube will automatically turn them off again. Getting human intervention from a company like this with as many users as YouTube is, needless to say, difficult.
Negatively Affected Users Are a Minority
From YouTube’s perspective, the number of users who are negatively affected by things like false flags—or even who are negatively affected by accurate flags—makes up such a small percentage of the overall user base that YouTube have little or no intention of expending the resources needed to it perfect. In other words, if you are one of those statistically insignificant YouTubers who are affected by these problems, there is little sense in waiting for it to get better.
How to Avoid Getting Age Restricted
For YouTubers who make content for kids, or whose channels often feature children (such as family vlogs) there isn’t much you can do other than drastically changing your channel’s content.
One of the most obvious things you can do is making sure that your video is not set as “for children” when you upload it. If this box is checked, YouTube won’t do any verification, it will just assume your video is correctly set as children’s content and treat it is as such.
For YouTubers who do not make content that falls into this category and who have correctly set it up in YouTube Studio, the main thing to avoid is having children in your videos. You can usually convince YouTube’s algorithms that your content is not for kids—even if it is a very child-centric topic—if your content is mostly not for kids. But the presence of a child in your video will cause that video to be flagged for age restriction regardless of how often you make that kind of content.
Finally, if possible, try not to focus too heavily on topics that are predominantly associated with children’s content. As much as things like Minecraft and Fortnite may be perfectly good entertainment for adults, the reality is that most of the people watching videos about those things will be children. If you exclusively make videos on those topics, you greatly increase the chances of YouTube thinking your content needs age restricting.
Age restriction, unlike full-on demonetisation, is not the end of the world for YouTubers who rely on revenue from YouTube’s Partner Programme. We’d be lying if we said the earning potential isn’t greatly reduced, but it is not removed altogether. Ultimately, you should make the content you want to make, and consider tweaking things to suit your financial goals, rather than changing your channel wholesale.
There are always other ways to monetise your content.
Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube
Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.
1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search
I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.
2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos
I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.
When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.
I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.
That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.
Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.
3. Rev.com helps people read my videos
You can’t always listen to a video.
Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.
This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.
Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.
A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.
4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube
I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.
I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.
That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.
Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).
5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways
I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.
And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.
I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.
I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.
They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.