Warning: Some Children’s Videos on YouTube Have Disturbing Content Hiding Inside
YouTube has an app called YouTube Kids that’s supposed to feature “kid-friendly” videos. However, even though YouTube has attempted to be more proactive at monitoring the content that makes it into the Kids channel, Wired has reported that there still is disturbing content that is somehow making its way to children. According to Wired, “In one cartoon, a woman with a Minnie Mouse head tumbles down an escalator before becoming trapped in its machinery, spurting blood, while her children (baby Mickey and Minnie characters) cry.” The article continued, “A random browsing test with a toddler (who wasn’t actually shown any unpleasant content) took us from YouTube-native children’s favourite Bob the Train to a few stubby-fingered lunges at the tablet screen later, a fake Mickey Mouse cartoon with depictions of eye-gouging, a parasite-infested stomach and small children setting each other on fire.”
Before the video had been taken down by YouTube, it had racked up over 3 million views, and even with the most restricted parental controls, could still be viewed by children.
According to YouTube spokesperson Thea O’Hear, “YouTube is doing more and more enforcement automatically using machine learning, but we will always need people to flag [problematic content] to us as well.”
Since the content that makes its way onto YouTube can be uploaded by anyone, YouTube has to rely heavily on its algorithm to weed out inappropriate videos. However, for many parents, this isn’t good enough. Movieguide® recommends parents only allow their children to watch content that’s been previously viewed by them or vetted by third party sources. Video platforms that advertise never-ending recommended videos to children pose a higher likelihood to children being exposed to graphic violence or sexually explicit material, which can be detrimental to a child’s development and well-being.