What do you want to watch?
While it probably isn’t the most important question that you’ll ask throughout your day, it is an important question when it comes to your viewing habits. It’s also sometimes important to ask yourself, what are you comfortable watching, and furthermore, what are you comfortable with your children watching?
YouTube, the online video social media website, tried to help its viewers answer that second question more comfortably by implementing a restriction mode for parents to make sure their children aren’t watching inappropriate content. The feature can be activated by going to the bottom of any YouTube page and clicking on the restriction mode button.
The screen will then prompt you to turn the feature on or off and also states in a prompt that “Restricted Mode hides videos that may contain inappropriate content flagged by users and other signals. No filter is 100% accurate, but it should help you avoid most inappropriate content.” Once you finish reading the prompt, you are asked to confirm that you want it on, and then the browser reloads.
The restriction mode works on your mobile device too and is accessed by clicking the dot button after the magnifying glass and then clicking on settings. From there you just need to click the general option until you see restriction mode and then just follow the instructions on the screen. YouTube will then block videos that other viewers and the youtube filter see as inappropriate content.
Of course, this is probably a good idea, especially with YouTubers like Game Grumps, Mcjuggernuggets, Leafy is here, Onision To catch a cheater, and Drama Alert accounting for over 4 billion views on YouTube and being wildly popular with younger audiences. Unfortunately, children’s right to innocence comes at a price as LBGTQA YouTubers and other groups are crying foul over the filters algorithm.
How It Works
It is not known how exactly it works, but once someone enters restriction mode, they are unable to view videos that center on topics such as atheism, conspiracy theories and other sensitive subjects that might not be suitable for children. The problem, however, comes when one realizes that the filtering system seems to target LGBT videos from younger viewing audiences, too.
Now that wouldn’t be such a bad thing if YouTube went a step further and did the same with videos about heterosexual relationships. They don’t though, and while videos of male couples and woman couples holding hands, kissing, explaining how to come out to your family and how to deal with bullies are blocked on restriction mode, heterosexual couples are displayed unrestricted and even display kissing.
Two Sides of the Issue
“It’s okay to have your own views. But this is the world today. we have bis, gays, lesbians, etc. Why block out what we see every day as an everyday norm,” student Lizzy Gerson told us when asked about the possible double standard between heterosexual relationships and homosexual relationships being displayed on YouTube. “It’s normal to see that now, so what’s the point?”
Whether someone sees that as normal or not is ultimately up to them, but it is worth noting that Pew Research Center reports that 55% of people polled in 2016 said they were for gay marriage. That’s a 20% increase since 2006 and has stayed steady at 55% for the last two years. Despite these polls, YouTube still finds it acceptable to block LGBT content on restriction mode.
There were various YouTube personalities that blew the whistle about YouTube seemingly targeting LGBT videos, but the most interesting was a tweet by YouTuber Tyler Oakley that said, “still not fixed. one of my recent videos “8 Black LGBTQ+ Trailblazers Who Inspire Me” is blocked because of this. I’m perplexed.” Of course, that’s probably not something every parent wants their young child watching. But what if the scenario was a bit different?
Is Homosexuality Family Friendly?
For example, a YouTube channel named Zach and Evan, which features a homosexual couple that blogs about their everyday life, is shedding light on YouTube targeting videos that feature homosexual relationships but allowing videos of heterosexual couples on restriction mode without much issue.
“It feels like they’re trying to hide this part of us that were no longer hiding,” Zac and Evan tell their subscribers in their latest video entitled, “YouTube Anti LGBT Restriction.” “The funny thing about this video is that it’s filtered out and on restriction.” The video features the two men kissing, which is believed to be the reason for it being blocked, but it is not confirmed if it is or not.
The list of things that are blocked under YouTube’s new restriction mode includes videos of LGBT makeup tutorials, how to come out to your family about your sexuality and even videos about how to report LGBT bullying, which has been huge all over the world after the various teen deaths over the past decade or so.
This is raising the question of whether it is right or not to block these kinds of videos from young impressionable children, and if by not allowing LGBT videos, they are normalizing heterosexual relationships and demonizing its counterpart. The question also extends to whether a parent or family member has the right to have their children protected from such content.
“The LGBT community is making a much bigger deal about this than they should,” YouTuber, Shady C Network told us. “It seems like whenever anyone takes a negative stance against the community they start an uproar and shame anyone who doesn’t agree with them. You can still access anything you want to, just not in family friendly mode, which is a parent’s right to have.”
Heart of It All
Although parents do have the right to protect their children from content they deem unsuitable for them, it’s now being asked whether it’s important to put heterosexuality and homosexuality on an equal playing field. Furthermore, should YouTube ban all relationship and sexual content under their restriction mode filter?
According to The Human Rights Campaign, who did a research study on LGBT youth and the internet, “roughly three quarters (73%) of LGBT youth say they are more truthful about themselves online than in the real world. The study also finds that 92% of people surveyed see negative messages about LGBT, with the main sources being school, peers and online.”