Child protection experts warn YouTube age restrictions on music videos won’t work

images_2Age restrictions have been placed on some music videos following an agreement between YouTube and Vemo and government ministers to help prevent children watching violent and sexually explicit content. However, online safety analysts at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) have warned that children can easily get around the age verification systems.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) recently viewed 132 music videos from UK record labels and placed age ratings on them in the same way films are rated. YouTube and Vemo agreed to work with the BBFC and government to implement age restriction verification systems

Julia Fossi, a senior analyst in the online safety team at the NSPCC, said that age verification systems on sites like YouTube and Vemo “can be easily bypassed”, and they needed to be strengthened.

Fossi praised the government’s efforts but pointed out that it was “still far too easy for children to watch videos that upset them”. She said that video sharing sites “should be held more to account for the material posted on their sites” and take responsibility when children are subjected to sexual and violent material.

Currently when anyone tries to watch any age restricted material on YouTube they will be required to sign in with a Google account which has the users age linked to it. The recent BBFC scheme will now place these same restrictions on music videos from UK record labels however it can be easily bypassed by making a small change to the web address of a blocked video. By typing three letters- pwn- at the beginning of the URL for a blocked video the restrictions are bypassed, there are even numerous videos on YouTube which explain how to do it. Another simple method is to just set up another google account and entre a false age.

Last year Childline, the NSPCC’s telephone counselling service, said it had organised more than 1,000 counselling sessions for children who had been affected by viewing sexual content online.

Source: The Drum