YouTube had a content rating policy for content that was classified as “shows” or “movies,” when creators uploaded something under those two categories that did not already have a rating.  Beginning March 15, YouTube sneaked this feature in for partners who wanted to rate their content with a three-color system that denotes the level of mature content in their videos.  To do this, partners will have to go through the Content Manager and select the videos they would like to mark Green, Yellow, or Red.  So let’s take a look at this ratings system and what it means.

YouTube’s Content Rating System

The YouTube Content Ratings page is here.  And the directions to follow for putting the content ratings on your channel are here.  Unfortunately, this isn’t something you can just go to your Video Manager and do.  So let’s look at the categories you would rate your content on and what grades you would want to give them.


  • Language
  • Nudity
  • Sexual Situations
  • Violence
  • Drug Use
  • Miscellaneous-currently the only thing for this category is a warning about a flashing or strobing light.

Assess all of the above.  Assign a color to each one.  Green would mean you have none of a particular category, Yellow is a “mild” or “questionable” rating, and Red is where things are pervasive or a very strong part of the content.

So if you have even mild cursing, or even bleeped cursing, it should be Yellow.  If it’s pervasive, filthy language, it should be classified as Red.  With Yellow assigned for Language, an “L” will appear.  For Red, an “L+” will appear.

It’s not certain how people will grade their own stuff.  It’s a subjective thing, isn’t it?  We’ve had a Motion Picture Association of America grading films with basically 4 ratings for years and there has always been controversy around their standards.  So we can only imagine what a person uploading content to YouTube thinks of their own stuff.  But I think people who use this will be very conscious of how they grade it, because they want to make sure that the people who watch it know what they’re getting into beforehand.

For a complete description of how YouTube classifies these things, go to the Content Ratings page.  The steps for adding these ratings are here.