Clickbait & Content Farms – why are they harmful and all over YouTube?
You might have heard of clickbait, it is everywhere on the web tempting viewers who click on a provocative or strange thumbnail and then find the image isn’t even in the video itself.
Content farms are businesses that generate vast amounts of low-value repetitive content that can be dangerous but also quite compelling for children.
The companies involved generate huge profits by leveraging clickbait techniques and the way YouTube's algorithms work to generate views and subscribers typically for content showing crafts or ‘life hacks’. One of the most popular is 5-minute crafts with more than 76 million YouTube subscribers. This channel and many more are owned by a Russian company called TheSoul Publishing that has more than 1 billion subscribers across all platforms Worldwide.
Examples of potentially harmful videos include microwaving an egg so it explodes (imagine if your child took the egg out just before it exploded) and another suggesting a strawberry can be soaked in bleach to make it white.
YouTube is a great source of entertainment for children and is generally safe, but it is worth speaking to your child about these types of channels and the content they are viewing.