The Dangers Of YouTube For Kids

YouTube's parental controls haven't been very effective.

Sometimes I think the world can’t get any darker. Then I’m proven wrong, again and again. I’m not a parent, but I can empathize with people who are just trying to shield their kids from danger. Unfortunately, YouTube has failed them until recently. For some time, some sick people out there were uploading videos that imitated popular children’s cartoons, with violent and lewd twists. A lot of these videos somehow made it past parental controls. What is it about these videos that’s so disturbing, and what is YouTube now doing about them?

The Content Of These Videos

I’m not really much of an Internet person, so I don’t go on YouTube much myself. Actually, my friend was the one who told me about what was happening on YouTube. Her 7-year-old daughter had been using the YouTube Kids app to look up clips from the Disney movie Frozen. Instead, she came across a disturbing, fake video where Elsa’s arm was broken by Spiderman. The bloody clip upset her so much that she started crying and called her mom over. Naturally, my friend was horrified. She always took parental controls seriously – how was her daughter able to access something like this?

These videos feature Disney characters.
These videos depict Disney characters in horrifying situations.

These inappropriate YouTube videos have become somewhat of an epidemic. Kids can stumble on fake videos of Peppa Pig, Doc McStuffins, and the Cookie Monster that depict them in horrific, violent situations. Sometimes it’s impossible to tell that they’re fake until it’s too late. I still can’t understand why adults would make these videos and target them to children. For their own perverse amusement?

What YouTube Is Doing About It

As far as I know, this has been a major issue on YouTube for the past six months or so. These tasteless videos, which can be found on YouTube Kids, were somehow able to get past the site’s algorithms and parental controls. But YouTube didn’t respond until recently. Before, they stressed that these sinister videos were the exception rather than the norm, and would review them as needed. They barely adjusted their algorithm to block kids from seeing these cartoons. Now, any time a video is uploaded to the main part of YouTube, it takes a few days until it shows up on YouTube Kids (if it’s appropriate). This slight delay should help weed out some of this awful content.

What do you think about kids having access to these types of videos? Do you believe it could impact their mental health? And is YouTube doing enough to crack down on it? Send me a message – we can chat about it.