Making family-friendly videos for YouTube
Families are careful when choosing what to watch on YouTube. They want high-quality, engaging videos that they can enjoy together. Learn how you can create a channel and brand that they can trust.
Family entertainment on YouTube
The content you create is at the heart of what makes the YouTube community so special. Families turn to YouTube for enriching content that entertains, teaches, and sparks the imagination.
As you create videos for families, be sure to think about the impact they can have.
- Be a brand families trust. Try focusing on high quality content that fosters positive interests, promotes development and education, and inspires families to engage with each other.
- Safety first. Always ensure that any kids or other people in your videos feel comfortable and safe, and appear that way to viewers.
- Be a good role model. Think about the kind of behavior you are modeling: would you want your own family to emulate that behavior?
- Keep your community positive (and clean). Interacting with your audience can help build a loyal fanbase. Moderating inappropriate comments helps ensure a positive experience for you and families watching your videos.
See it in action
Showing fun projects families can do togetherMother Goose Club Playhouse features follow-along instructions for DIY projects to help families learn and create as they watch.
Parents love videos that encourage family learningDreamWorksTV makes videos that answer some of life’s biggest questions.
Guidelines to follow for family-friendly videos
Family entertainment on YouTube comes in many shapes and sizes. Creators should follow 1.) YouTube’s Community Guidelines and 2.) Family entertainment content guidelines (below) in order to release content that is be appropriate for families:
1. YouTube’s Community Guidelines: These policies determine what content is not OK on YouTube. YouTube looks at different aspects of a video when evaluating the guidelines including the content, thumbnails, titles, tags, descriptions and community activity like comments and views.
Here are a few of the Community Guidelines that are most relevant for family entertainment videos:
- Child endangerment: Uploading, commenting, or engaging in activity that threatens the safety of minors will result in account termination. Displays of harmful or dangerous acts featuring families or minors, even if meant as a prank, are not OK.
- Nudity or sexual content: YouTube does not allow pornography or sexually explicit content.
- Spam, misleading metadata, and scams: Don't create misleading descriptions, tags, titles, or thumbnails in order to increase views. It's not okay to post large amounts of untargeted, unwanted or repetitive content.
Content that doesn’t abide by the Community Guidelines is removed when flagged to us. Other content that might not violate our Guidelines but contains mature themes may be age-restricted or demonetized. Comments may also be disabled on videos featuring minors in case of inappropriate comments or suspected risk to minors (even if the content itself abides by the Community Guidelines). In cases of egregious or repeated violations, channels may be suspended.
2. Family entertainment content guidelines: Creators making content for families should avoid making videos that could be interpreted as:
- Deceptive or confusing: Videos that appear to be about one topic or star a family-friendly character, but actually contain adult topics. You can ask, “Who is the audience of my video?
- Clickbait or spam: Videos that use sensationalism or exaggeration that entice people to click. You can ask, “Does my title and thumbnail accurately portray the video content?”
- Passive: Mindless, addictive content that has no substance or developmental value to the viewer. For example, videos targeted to families with no narrative or voiceover. You can ask, “What will families learn or get out of my video?”
- Mass-produced or made from a content farm: Channels that release large numbers of repetitive videos that lack originality or differentiation. For example, a “content farm” may release multiple videos showing the same toy but in a different color. You can ask, “How similar is this video to the rest of the videos on my channel?”
- Make it easy for people of all ages to understand.
- Be fun, informative, and positive.
- Ask, “Are your videos encouraging good behavior?”
- Ensure your subject matter is family-friendly.
- Be a role model.
- Be original.
- If you want to make content that is eligible for the YouTube Kids App, please see the Creating for YouTube Kids Field Guide.
- Don’t capture moments that could be potentially scary or harmful to the people in your videos.
- Don’t use clickbait in your titles and descriptions. Instead always use relevant words.
- Try not to be misleading, either in title, description, or character behavior.
- Don't use copyrighted and/or content you don't own to try to draw others to your video.
Making money with family-friendly content
There is a high bar for monetizing family-friendly content. Some content that is allowed under the YouTube Community Guidelines may not be suitable for running ads if it violates YouTube’s Advertiser-friendly content guidelines. A video may be allowed on YouTube but not suitable for advertising based on the nature of the content. Remember, while these are guidelines, they are not an exhaustive list of what can and cannot be monetized. Here are a few of the Advertiser-friendly guidelines that are most relevant for family entertainment videos:
- Inappropriate use of family entertainment characters: Videos depicting family entertainment characters or content, whether animated or live action, engaged in violent, sexual, vile, or otherwise inappropriate behavior, even if done for comedic or satirical purposes, are not suitable for advertising.
- Sexually suggestive content: Video content that features sexualized content, such as video content where the focal point is nudity, body parts, or sexual simulations, is not suitable for advertising.
- Harmful or dangerous acts: Video content that promotes harmful or dangerous acts that result in physical, emotional, or psychological injury is not suitable for advertising. Some examples include videos depicting painful or invasive surgical or cosmetic procedures, or pranks involving sexual harassment or humiliation.
- Inappropriate language: Video content that contains profanity or vulgarity throughout the video.
Examples of family entertainment content that will not be monetizable and may violate Community Guidelines.
Misappropriation of family charactersFamily characters portrayed in strange, mature or shocking ways
Content farmsChannels or videos dedicated to repetitive, duplicative content lacking originality
Inappropriate content targeting familiesVideos showing minors in harmful or dangerous situations, including medical procedures, even if the minor is laughing.
Popular family video types
Here’s some popular video types that families like to watch and details on what is OK to show and what to avoid.
Genre Ok Not appropriate Daily life and vlogging Families should always be willing participants and never in harm’s way. Sensationalist content, putting people in harmful situations or showing them in emotional or physical distress; humiliating, fighting and negative sentiments. Costumes & Characters Families in costume with positive storylines, imaginative play. Misappropriation of childrens’ characters or other supposedly ‘family-friendly’ characters in inappropriate ways (mature themes, violence, etc). Food Healthy eating and families cooking/baking together, DIY/educational content. Excessive consumption of junk foods, binging or overeating. Trends & Challenges Monitor popular trends, both on and off YouTube; plug into popular discussions in your own style and format. Appropriate and safe versions of popular trends or themes. Mature or adult trending topics portrayed as family content; pranks, dares and challenges that have danger associated with imitation. Video series Recurring formats that are original and unique. Duplicative, mass-produced content lacking originality or differentiation.
For tips on creating content that is eligible for the YouTube Kids app, see the Creating for YouTube Kids Field Guide.
See it in action
- Fun cooking content for the whole family
Fun cooking content for the whole familyRosanna Pansino incorporates storytelling, vibrant colors, and easy-to-follow recipes so families can cook fun treats together at home.
Yoga and storytellingCosmic Kids Yoga takes kids through a bear hunt they can follow along with that incorporates yoga poses.
- Fun cooking content for the whole family
Help your videos get discovered
When you’re ready to upload your family-friendly videos, be sure to package them so the right audience can find them. You can do this with rich (and truthful) metadata like:
- Thumbnails: Design attractive thumbnails that match your content. Consider adding a visual label that lets your viewers know what type of video it is and its appropriateness for families. Thumbnails that are designed to get a click instead of representing the video violate the Community Guidelines.
- Titles, descriptions, and tags: Use clear and accurate words to label your videos. You can include popular keywords when the words are necessary and true.
- Playlists: If you have multiple shows or video types, consider creating sections and playlists to help viewers find what they are looking for.
- Use thumbnails that are accurate and clear.
- Choose concise and thoughtful titles, descriptions, and tags.
- Keyword “stuffing”
- Sensational or over-dramatic descriptions
- Misleading thumbnails
See it in action
Helpful watermarks on thumbnailsSesame Street creates helpful thumbnails by including thematic watermarks (ex: parody, shorts, songs, etc) that help their viewers decide which videos to watch.
Growing and interacting with your community
Once you’ve got great content and the right tools for discovery, building a loyal fanbase can help your channel grow. Viewers who love what they see and have positive interactions may be more likely to share your videos and recommend them to other families.
You can use the comments and community tab to interact with your audience:
- Reply to comments.
- Heart or like comments.
- Pin your favorite comment at the top.
- If you’re eligible for the community tab, try posting a poll, gif, or fun message to your fans.
- Set up comment filters and add moderators.
Check out more tips for community engagement.
Note: Regardless of the intent of the uploader, if comments on videos featuring minors are found to be inappropriate comments will be turned off in an effort to protect the families, and especially the minors in the video.