Disclaimer: The below is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.
If you let your kids watch the YouTube Kids app, here’s a warning: some videos popping up might be extremely disturbing to them…and you.
At first glance, the videos look like normal cartoons for kids. But keep watching and you’ll see violent and lewd situations, disturbing visuals and intentionally upsetting content. Often, these videos are set to nursery rhymes. If you were only listening to your child watch the app, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell something is amiss.
From showing Mickey Mouse in a pool of blood, to Nick Jr. characters in a strip club, to the Paw Patrol characters dying by suicide, these videos – made by unsavory content creators – are slipping past YouTube’s filter and finding their way to your child’s “up next” queue.
YouTube has responded to the news of these videos by saying they are “working on ways” to prevent them from happening. But, as a parent, there are some things you must do to ensure your child doesn’t come across this disturbing content.
1. Consider T.V. Only
You might want to consider having your child only watch kids-appropriate channels on television. Channels such as Nick Jr., Disney or PBS Kids have television shows that are entertaining and educational for kids that won’t show the kinds of sick things less regulated Internet channels seems to attract.
2. Actively Monitor Your Child’s Viewing Of The App
Even though these disturbing videos exist, many of the videos on YouTube Kids are entirely appropriate. If you do decide to let your child continue watching, we highly advise that you sit with your child while he or she watches the app. Not only will you be able to screen the videos, but also, studies show that some shows can provide valuable lessons for a child, but only when you, as a parent, are actively engaging with them.
3. Report Inappropriate Videos To YouTube
The team at YouTube reviews flagged videos 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will remove the video if deemed inappropriate. If you come across one of these disturbing videos, here what to do:
1. Go to the Watch page of the video.
2. Tap More (the three vertical dots) in the upper corner of the video player.
3. Tap Report.
4. Select the reason for reporting the video (Inappropriate visuals, Inappropriate audio, or Other).
As online entertainment channels have become more popular, the importance of Internet safety must be actively reviewed. Research shows that kids are especially vulnerable to disturbing things they see online. Consider passing this information along to other parents to prevent inappropriate content from reaching more innocent eyes.