As we are all familiar with kids’ obsession with YouTube these days but some parents are close to limiting their children’s time and access to YouTube and YouTube Kids as there have been reports of some suspicious activity. One mom claims she “found clips on YouTube and YouTube Kids that gave children instructions on how to kill themselves,” according to CNN.
The mom, Free Hess says she was alerted by another mom who alleged that about halfway through a cartoon video, the footage was no longer cartoons, but “footage of a man in sunglasses telling children how to slit their wrists.” Hess says she reported the video for removal and YouTube reportedly took a week to remove it from the site. But that’s not where this eye-opener ends! Hess also alleges that she came across “videos glorifying not only suicide but sexual exploitation and abuse, human trafficking, gun violence and domestic violence.” We hear that one of the videos went as far as depicting a school shooting.
In YouTube’s reaction about the uproar: “We appreciate people drawing problematic content to our attention, and make it possible for anyone to flag a video,” the statement said. “Flagged videos are manually reviewed 24/7 and any videos that don’t belong in the app are removed. “We’ve also been investing in new controls for parents including the ability to hand pick videos and channels in the app. We are making constant improvements to our systems and recognize there’s more work to do.”
Free urges parents to be more proactive in the things they allow their children to watch online. “There is this disconnect between what kids know about technology and what their parents know because the parents didn’t grow up with it,” she said. “The kids are the digital natives and the parents are digital immigrants.”