Media & Entertainment

Gen-Zers Turn to YouTube for Entertainment

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The Gist: Americans under 18 are no longer turning towards traditional means of entertainment. 66% of them are visiting YouTube, a site with limited content safeguards, on a daily basis.

Americans under 18 aren’t watching TV. What are they watching? YouTube.

Younger demographics, Gen-Zers, aren’t turning to traditional means of entertainment. They’re out in the wild west of content, on a site with little oversight and even fewer ramifications for its problematic creators.

If you’re not watching YouTube on a regular basis, you might not have heard or perhaps understood, the recent drama surrounding mega-YouTuber Logan Paul. Paul posted a vlog featuring a dead body on his channel last week. He voluntarily took the video down, but the video prompted a public outcry from the YouTube community around the site’s lack of response on the topic. 

Unlike a traditional content platform or even streaming services like Netflix, YouTube has little oversight over their creators. But last week, YouTube decided to demote Paul’s channel from the platform’s elite status. He’s still allowed to make videos, but he’ll see less monetization from the ads. His net worth, to put it in perspective, is in the neighborhood of $11.5 million.

TL;DR YouTube had to dole out some punishment last week when a megastar on the platform took content too far.

This incident isn’t the first time of late that YouTube has found itself in hot water. Parents have discovered their young children stumbling onto disturbing playlists, and the platform has shut down accounts after the creators have been accused of child abuse within the content they’ve posted.  

The thing is, if you’re reading a blog on data science, you’re likely not Paul’s demographic. Check out the daily engagement rate on YouTube of Americans under 18.

Young people are looking to this site for content on a daily basis. When they turn somewhere for entertainment, it’s much less likely to be television, where content is vetted before it hits the airwaves.

In the content creation world, YouTube is a youngin’. Unfortunately, in an increasingly connected culture where all of us have the ability to create and share content, YouTube doesn’t have the luxury of a learning curve; they’ve got the daily attention of our youngest generation.

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