Doctor Reveals Dangerous Content In YouTube Kids Videos

27 February, 2019, 09:41 | Author: Denise Dawson
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In the middle of the video, the cartoon cut to a clip of a man miming cutting his wrist and saying: "Remember kids, sideways for attention, longways for results".

A mother found YouTube videos that she claims offers instructions to children on how to kill themselves. The cartoon then continued as normal.

The sinister content was first flagged by doctors on the pediatrician-run parenting blog and later reported by the Washington Post An anonymous "physician mother" initially spotted the content while watching cartoons with her son on YouTube Kids as a distraction while he had a nosebleed.

"I'm a paediatrician, and I'm seeing more and more kids coming in with self-harm and suicide attempts".

"How can anyone do this?"

Dr Hess, from Ocala, Florida, has been blogging about the altered videos and working to get them taken down amid an outcry from parents and child health experts, who say such visuals can be damaging to children. One video, inspired by the popular "Minecraft" video game, even depicted a school shooting.

"This is not OK".

YouTube sent a statement to Ars Technica about the videos.

We work to make the videos in YouTube Kids family-friendly and take feedback very seriously.

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Earlier this month, she found a second one - this time on YouTube.

YouTube Kids has previously come under fire for failing to curate content on the platform correctly, Business Insider reported a year ago that conspiracy theory videos were prominent on the platform.

"I think it's extremely risky for our children", Dr Hess said about the clips on Sunday in a phone interview with The Washington Post. You want to keep the lines of communication open with them and be sure they know that it's not their fault that they found a video like this, and that you're glad that they came to tell you.

Hess said she also found videos glorifying not only suicide but sexual exploitation and abuse, human trafficking, gun violence and domestic violence.

"I had to stop, but I could have kept going", Hess told CBS News.

"I don't think you can just take them down", she said about the videos. "Flagged videos are manually reviewed 24/7 and any video that don't belong in the app are removed".

Kaslow, who teaches at Emory University's school of medicine, said that some children may ignore the grim video content but that others, particularly those who are more vulnerable, may be drawn to it.

It added that such content "could be extremely unsafe if children copy what they see".

"But we have to start doing something NOW and we should start by educating ourselves, educating our children, and speaking up when we see something that is unsafe for our children", Hess added on her PediMom blog. That way they can report inappropriate content to social media platforms, so it can be pulled.



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