Sunday, December 8, 2019

To Stay or to Stop?

Early this year, I added a new venture, or challenge, to do a video blog (or vlog). I didn't have any real plans or goals for it, just another way to reach out to people. My daily activities are very routine and would not have any interest to anyone for very long. Therefore, I made videos about how, and why, I do regular activities.

I started with 0 subscribers and 1-2 old videos. As of today, I'm up to 212 subscribers and 23 videos. It's a very small number, but without any advertising and only two new videos a month, I think it's a good start. I don't want to have large numbers of followers anyway, but it has been a fun venture. Some viewers have become regular commenters that I'm starting to wonder their thoughts each week. Others have said they have spinal cord injuries and have been encouraged to try to do more after watching me.

Unfortunately, it seems all good things must come to an end. This fall, YouTube was found guilty of targeting videos, and having content, from children under 13. The Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) outlaws tracking information from this age group. As a result, YouTube (which is owned by Google) have to change the way they handle videos.

However, instead of handling the issue on their own, the responsibility was shifted to content creators, the people (like me) who make and publish videos. Every video must be marked as either targeted toward children, or not targeted toward children. There isn't a maybe, it's yes or no. If the video is marked incorrectly and the video is flagged by either YouTube or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), then the video owner can be fined over $42,000 per video.

I have two channels, one showing trains and the one mentioned earlier. Both channels combined have over 160 videos that I had to mark. The vast majority of my content isn't specifically targeted toward children, but I know some kids like to do things like watch trains and may come to my channel. I also have used some of my quad life videos in grade schools to help show how I do tasks.

As one person said, this ruling almost makes it so that anything family friendly can't exist. Some people I regular watch are closing down their videos at least temporarily until more direction is given. The rules start to apply January 1 and I'm considering stopping any new videos for a while as well. The FTC is allowing public input until December 9, but I don't see many changes coming soon.

Living this unique quad life God has given me is interesting and I'm glad to help others. When that ability is threatened though, it makes sharing more difficult. I will wait to see what comes the next few weeks and months and hopefully respond correctly.

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