Ubiquitous YouTube

Have you recently turned to YouTube to learn how to do something?  You’re not alone – over half of the respondents in a recent Pew Research Center study reported using YouTube videos to help them learn something new.

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The study also looked at YouTube as a content provider for children:

The findings also highlight YouTube’s key role in providing content for children. Fully 81% of all parents with children age 11 or younger say they ever let their child watch videos on YouTube. And 34% of parents say their child watches content on YouTube regularly. It should be noted that YouTube explicitly states that the platform is not intended for children younger than 13, and that the site provides a YouTube Kids option for children that has enhanced parental controls.

Wow.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, 61% of respondents that let their children watch YouTube videos felt their child had encountered unsuitable content.

Pew also analyzed the YouTube recommendation engine, and found that recommendations tended towards longer and more popular videos as they worked through several iterations.  The findings in this section are particularly interesting.  Here’s the process they used to analyze recommendations – try it and see if you experience the same thing!

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This report is full of information that can help us learn how people use technology to access information, and how algorithms can affect the variety of information people are exposed to (or lack thereof).

Have you made any interesting observations from you or your family members’ use of YouTube?

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