Should YouTube Be Allowed to Target Kids with Ads?

All you have to do is turn on children’s program and see how they are being targeted with ads. The problem with this, of course, is when it comes to viewing on the Internet. It’s the same as what we are finding with ads for adults. Data is being tracked on them with some people saying it’s being done illegally. We asked our writers, “Should YouTube be allowed to target kids with ads?”

Our Opinion

Alex feels like it would be difficult to avoid targeting kids with ads, noting it’s not as if they’re free from advertising on traditional media, such as television. He points to them even being targeted in the grocery story, and anyone who has walked down a breakfast cereal aisle with a child can back that up.

“While the initial read might be that tracking kids online is somehow morally bad, it’s not immediately obvious to me why it would be such a major problem.” He’s far more worried about the ElsaGate videos that YouTubers make to intentionally disturb children.


Miguel believes “it is probably impossible to control entirely, and I am not sure the effort is quite worth it.” He figures as parents we need to be adaptive instead of relying on the government, with certain exceptions.”

Phil sees it that “as with everything on the Internet, it’s not about what kids are exposed to; it’s why are they able to have unfettered, untimed, and unrestricted access to everything on it by their parents?”

Ernes figures it would be difficult for YouTube to remove ads only for certain users, and he’s not sure it would be worth the effort. Since kids are targeted on TV, he’s not sure why it’s an issue. “However, if parents are really concerned about their children being exposed to ads online, they can always advocate for additional restrictions to their child’s YouTube Kids/Google Kids account.”


Ryan says that ads targeting kids are nothing new, as you only need to watch Saturday morning cartoons “and take note of how many cartoon mascots for sugary cereals and snacks pop up on the screen during commercial breaks.” He agrees it needs some regulation but notes if you don’t want ads, YouTube offers their paid service that eliminates them. “After all, nothing comes for free.”

I would have said not too long ago that it wasn’t that much of a problem, but looking at what’s happening with data being used to target adults, I wouldn’t want that being done to my child. Then again, when my kids were younger, I didn’t give them free reign with the Internet. It was always policed. And knowing now that ads are collecting data, I wouldn’t allow them on such things. There are plenty of things to watch alone without having to deal with YouTube.

Your Opinion

We’d like to know where you fall with this issue? How do you feel about kids seeing targeted ads? Do you feel they just need to be policed more often, or do you feel there just isn’t much you can do about it? Should YouTube be allowed to target kids with ads? Let’s hear from you in the comments section below.

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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