I had a hankering to hear the Jonny Diaz “Breathe” song. So, I did what any normal person does. I looked the video up on YouTube. I clicked off the tab so I could continue blogging while listening to worship music.
As with many YouTube videos, a sponsored ad started to run. I didn’t pay it any mind. I pushed the words to the background of my mind…that’s until I heard the f-word bleeped out three times. I couldn’t click over quick enough to figure out what it was advertising, so I can’t tell you what it was for…maybe a movie trailer. I dunno.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen something questionable on YouTube ads. Some financial institution was promoting their organization to families, which included a full 3-second scene of two homosexuals kissing. Despite the fact that our culture deems this appropriate, I don’t want to be exposed to the normalization of homosexuality or the f-bomb.
Children & YouTube
It should come as no surprise that a growing population of YouTube users are children. Nearly 82% of US Internet users, aged 14-17 use YouTube. The second most searched YouTube term in 2014 was “Minecraft” (Source: Tubular Labs). Over 300 new YouTube videos are created daily, many which specifically target children. Unboxing toys and the rise in teen YouTube stars create an atmosphere ripe for influencing our children. Especially considering that 6 billion hours are spent watching YouTube videos every month!
Google created “YouTube Kids“, but you can imagine that many of the older children are stilling using the original one.
In my house, my children often watch DIY videos that may not show up in the YouTube Kids app.
With children being a large portion of viewers, Christian content creators need to be especially watchful to avoid promoting unbiblical concepts.
Monetizing YouTube for Christian Bloggers
You don’t have to take YouTube ads off because you do have some control over the ads that play before your videos.
Within YouTube, clicking ‘enable monetization’ isn’t the end of the story. More needs to be done if you want to protect all your viewers from inappropriate content.
If you don’t select which ads you want to run, YouTube will choose which ads will play based on your channel’s metadata and keywords. How to target your ads isn’t intuitive for YouTube. In fact, ad selection doesn’t even occur on the YouTube dashboard. If you want to select which type of ads run, you have to log into your Google Adsense dashboard and do it from there.
Navigation To Allow & Block Ads
To navigate to the right place within GoogleAdsense:
- Log in (or create an account)
- From the homepage, select the ‘Allow & block ads” tab at the very top of the site.
Turn off Specific Ad Categories
Within the “Allow & block ads” there is a subtab labeled “General Categories.” If you don’t want ads that show “Dating & Nightlife” you can disallow it. Furthermore, you can drill down to block specific sections of a category. You can see in the screen capture below that “Dating & Nightlife” includes 3 sub-categories.
Google Adsense has done some of the work for you. There is an ‘Sensitive Categories’ tab which includes things like ‘Black Magic, Astrology & Esoteric’. As a Christian, I wouldn’t want to expose my audience to this type of content.
In order to disallow categories, just click the slider to “Blocked”.
Also remember that if you leave ‘Religion’ checked, ads for Mormon.org may show up. (When Mitt Romney was running for president, there were a lot of these).
Prohibit Specific URL
When all else fails, if you want to block a specific website that has an ad playing before your videos, just type in the URL of the advertiser. Remember you shouldn’t click on ads in your own videos in order to get the URL.
You can preview which ads are set to play enabling Ad Review in Ads subtab. Once completed, the directions say that Ad Review will be available within an hour.
Within the dashboard you can review actual ads that are allowed on your channel. If you don’t like a specific one, you can disable it.
Should You Turn Off Monetization?
New advertisements are produced every day. To ensure your audience isn’t getting ads that are inappropriate for your viewers, you will have to be vigilant in previewing ads often. As our immodest culture continues to slide downward, more and more unbiblical ideas are slipping into normal advertising with each passing day.
If you aren’t willing to make the effort to keep your channel clean and safe, you may want to consider turning off monetization completely.
There are lots of options you can try to have the best ad placement for your audience. Creating an online environment with clean ads has the added benefit of getting better traffic; therefore, more income.