YouTube has come under fire again, but this time it’s from Blogger James Bridle who wrote a detailed essay on the nonsensical and damaging kid’s content on YouTube, earlier this month. If you have a spare 15 minutes be sure to check it out here: https://medium.com/@jamesbridle/something-is-wrong-on-the-internet-c39c471271d2
Tech Crunch writer, John Biggs has gone through the post and has dissected the findings. His post goes through video after video on YouTube, all aimed at children with some damaging results. The bottom line in his opinion is that YouTube is not for children.
We’ve read about these videos before, aimed at children but with a sick and terrifying twist intended on scaring children and parents alike. Likewise, we’ve all at some point or another let children watch YouTube videos to amuse them.
According to Biggs, “YouTube has become a babysitter and playmate and TV channel.” I must admit I agree wholeheartedly with that statement, and I also agree with him when he says that it shouldn’t be.
You really never know what you are going to stumble across when trawling through YouTube. One ‘normal’ children’s video about Peppa Pig, for example, is suitable, but click on the next recommended video and you are drawn into an alternate world where Peppa is tormented by a demon dentist.
What can come across as a seemingly harmless video, which I must add a lot of them are, can unfortunately lead you onto videos with a much more sinister undertone, condoning violence and sometimes sexually explicit content.
Biggs has used the hit movie ‘Cars’ as an example, a search his 8-year-old son often uses on YouTube. He chooses a video at random and finds one of trucks flying around space. The video has 1,379,902 views but as it progresses the cars begin exploding and Spider-Man is somehow involved.
You can watch the video in question here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC7T8hOIHhw and from there you can go through the suggested videos for yourself and see where you end up. Is it somewhere you would be happy with your children finding on their own?
Biggs argues that “Kid’s entertainment requires story and, hopefully, logic, lessons, and learning. This means Spider-Man and Elsa probably shouldn’t be losing their mouths in a wacky mix-up video.” He says that educating children shouldn’t come from YouTube.
If you have the time to thoroughly go on YouTube yourself, I bet you will be shocked and worried about what you might find. Then think about your children and what kind of videos might draw them in.
“If you give it to kids they will find themselves watching something that is completely nonsensical or something violent or something sexual. It’s inevitable,” Biggs writes while calling YouTube a “cesspool of garbage kids content.”
However, it was recently reported that YouTube was putting plans in place to prevent children from watching disturbing or inappropriate content. In a statement, they said this: “Earlier this year, we updated our policies to make content featuring inappropriate use of family entertainment characters ineligible for monetisation. We’re in the process of implementing a new policy that age restricts this content in the YouTube main app when flagged. Age-restricted content is automatically not allowed in YouTube Kids. The YouTube team is made up of parents who are committed to improving our apps and getting this right.”
So while there are steps being put in place by directors at YouTube, you as a parent can do your bit too to ensure your child’s safety while searching the net. Turn off your search settings and set up a password on your device to stop children using it by themselves, and of course report and block any questionable videos.
Each to their own, and as I’ve said earlier, not every video featured on YouTube is bad, in fact, there are some delightful videos there. But just be cautious about what your children are up to, their safety I’m sure is paramount.
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