My Letter to the FTC about the COPPA law’s Effect on Youtubers

Dear FTC members,
I am both a parent and a content creator/artist on Youtube. I would urge you to rethink the current rules and how vague they are, because the vagueness is very threatening to many channels. Music is especially important to content creators making their content have energy, and the music used should be allowed to reflect the creator without them fearing it will be deemed as child-attractive, and therefore content aimed at children.

The intent of the creator really needs to be taken into account. As a parent and creator, I value the positive, therapeutic effect that educational content and creativity/crafts/art has on individuals. Vibrant colors are for everyone, not just children. Cartoons also should not be considered childish because all age ranges enjoy cartoons and animations. The same with pets…I have a dog that I feature on my channel (often just because he hops in my lap as I talk), and I am afraid that it will be deemed as “child-attractive content” when we all know that animals are stress-relieving entities, and adults need that for sure.

From a female creator’s perspective, this impacts women negatively. Prior to the current rules, stay-at-home-moms like me had the opportunity to use naptime to create content for Youtube and upload it from the comfort of home in hopes of contributing to the family income. This dream is no longer possible if revenue is removed because we must mark things as child-directed because we included a clip of our child or child’s voice while doing a craft or cooking with us or showing how to cut their hair, simply sharing our interests, and not trying to attract children.

I strongly feel that traditionally “female” topics (or family friendly content devoid of cursewords) like arts and crafts are not childish and that we should not be penalized for having interests different than the majority of adult males. Regardless of gender, it feels like many have just been handed pink slips and are without a feasible income on a venue they’ve worked so hard on.

As a parent, I feel it is my responsibility to monitor what my children watch; giving a child access to a device IS consent. I am watching the shows with them and therefore approve of them. In fact, I prefer targeted ads that show our family’s actual interests and child interests vs random car or horror film ads.

As a viewer, I don’t want my viewing experience to be changed, either. I don’t want to be marked as a child viewer simply because some of the content viewed through my account is for children. As an adult I would like to, for instance, comment on lego-building videos or other craft videos, too. Youtube is really a community experience now, rather a simply a viewing experience, and if commenting is taken away, community is too. Loneliness is the number one cause of suicide.

As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, I also fear for the many others out there who will be impacted by the law that it could send them into a downward spiral of mental illness due to fears about financial repercussions due to the fines, feeling like they no longer have a viable creative outlet, and the deep sense of identity content creators have with their content and community, now at risk.

PLEASE speak to a panel of content creators, female in particular as well, and consider the harm that will come to them if the laws are left as they are currently.

Thank you for your time and consideration of our concerns.
Sincerely, Amy

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