YouTube videos featuring children rank in highest views, Pew study says

Videos with children under 13 received three times as many views as other videos.

Dhara Singh CNET News Intern
Dhara Singh is one of CNET's summer interns and a student at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She loves digging deep into the social issues that arise from everyday technology. Aside from wording around, you can catch her discussing Game of Thrones or on a random New York City adventure with her dSLR.
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Videos featuring children were the most popular during the first week of 2019, a Pew research study finds. 


YouTube's ties to videos with children just got even more awkward. In the first week of 2019, videos featuring children under the age of 13 brought in three times as many views as any other content, according to a new study by Pew Research Center released Thursday. 

The details come a week after YouTube parent company Google reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission over alleged violations of child data privacy laws on YouTube. The settlement followed an FTC investigation into whether Google was protecting children's data. YouTube doesn't intend for its main platform to be used by those under 13 and directs a younger audience to use YouTube Kids.

Pew analyzed videos published in the first week of January by 43,770 channels, all of which featured more than 250,000 subscribers. Collectively, the channels in the Pew study posted nearly a quarter-million videos and spanned 48,486 hours.

"A single person watching videos for eight hours a day (with no breaks or days off) would need more than 16 years to watch all the content posted by just the most popular channels on the platform during a single week," the study added. 

In other findings, 18% of English-language videos analyzed in the study were related to gaming. These videos were often longer in length than other content. Also, videos with keywords such as "Fortnite," "prank" or "worst" received five times as many views as videos not mentioning those words. 

Earlier this year, Wired reported on how pedophiles were using the comment section of YouTube videos with children to lure in other predators. 

Neither Pew Research Center nor YouTube immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Watch this: YouTube accused of violating child privacy laws