At the start of 2015, YouTube began its online ‘safe space’, YouTube Kids. Architected for children and assured with child-appropriate entertainment.
At first glance the videos are normal, the parents think ‘okay’ and walk away. Then, a few minutes into the videos, the same Disney princesses and superheroes are participating in lewd or violent acts:
- Explicit sexual language presented amidst cartoon animation;
- A profanity-laced parody of the film Casino featuring Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street;
- Graphic adult discussions about family violence, pornography and child suicide;
- Jokes about pedophilia and drug use;
- Modeling of unsafe behaviors such as playing with lit matches.
The third most popular YouTube channel has been “Webs & Tiaras,” and somehow it’s curated for kids. Do you want your kids watching adults in superhero costumes or princess attire performing mature and inappropriate acts, including drinking, along with sexually suggestive content? YouTube does
If children are intrigued and read the comments, they are exposed to pedophilic comments.
As of December, 2017, nothing has substantively changed but its marketing and feel good ‘now we’re better’ rhetoric. The company has instead promoted features like that YouTube Kids can be viewed on the Apple TV and is compatible with YouTube Red.
YouTube’s CEO has rebutted parent group complaints by increasing its moderation corps to more than 10,000 contractors in 2018, focusing them on “content that might violate our policies.” “Human reviewers remain essential to both removing content and training machine learning systems because human judgment is critical to making contextualized decisions on content,” she wrote in a blog post.
She knows it sounds comforting and hopes it will drop guards, she must also know its not true. Unlike hateful content with clearly recognized iconography and language, kids content escapes an easy catch.
YouTube claims that only 0.005 of all the content on YouTube Kids is considered disturbing and against the company’s policies. It’s not true. Look again that its third most popular channel is disgusting and is, in fact, online grooming of children, and again, read the comments. Predators and prey. Judge for yourself. Watch the videos as your child would
YouTube’s search algorithm is exploited inside its ‘safe space’. The recommended function on YouTube Kids is based on search history. YouTube Kids has been recommending videos about wine tasting for preschoolers. The more inappropriate videos children stumble on from a previous search, the more inappropriate videos they will be shown by the recommended function.
The problem is not fixable. There are 400 hours of content uploaded every minute, its simply too big. Parents have been alerting YouTube for years, go to any parenting forum and they’ve been talking about the fake Peppa Pig videos.
The only fix is you. Don’t let your child watch YouTube.