Does your child watch YouTube? Mine all do. Including my two year old. We even downloaded YouTube kids to make sure the content they end up watching is appropriate for children – but guess what? It’s still not!
There are numerous YouTube channels that have cartoon characters that look like superheroes, or even Disney characters that have completely inappropriate content for kids. There are even family YouTube channels that have abusive and appalling story lines, including extreme violence, blood, needles, drug references, inappropriate sexual references, and scary scenes. These can all be found in the “suggested” area on the side of each show your child is watching – this is where my kids tend to click when they see a thumbnail that looks like it would be fun to watch. But what are they watching? I know I do not sit with my kids and monitor every minute of what they are watching. Yes, I look here and there, and I actually recognize some of the characters as shown in this YouTube video below that exposes what our children really view. They look innocent, but really aren’t! I am usually in the same room as my kids when they are on YouTube, but a lot of these videos are silent, or have music, or don’t clearly let you know the visual content just by the dialogue. This is shocking.
Some videos show children being tied up and abused – one family even issued an apology video because of the extreme violence they subjected their own children to, just to make YouTube videos.
In response to questions arising from the inappropriate content even on YouTube Kids, Google issued a response, as shown below, stating that it is up to the viewers to flag and report such content.
I thought I could trust the integrity of YouTube, especially with what is supposed to be a child-friendly and appropriate content, but I guess I was wrong. My older girls are at an age where they can judge what is appropriate to watch and what is not, and they usually stop watching when a video is showing something inappropriate, but this past month I had two very concerning questions from my 10 year old, who loves watching YouTube kids – including “What is an STD?” and “What is cocaine?” – SHE IS TEN. And only has access to YouTube kids. When I asked her where she heard these phrases, she said they talked about (or “joked” about) these things on YouTube videos she had watched, which I can only assume are similar to the ones shown in the video in this article.
Just a caution, we all might need to take a closer look at what our kids are watching, and remember – it is still the internet.
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