Doctor Reveals Dangerous Content In YouTube Kids Videos

YouTube logo provided by Wikimedia Commons

Last year, pediatrician and mother, Free N. Hess, published on her website, Pedimom.com, a post from an anonymous mother who reported a horrifying incident where a YouTube Kids video they were watching was abruptly interrupted by a man in sunglasses who gave instructions on how to harm themselves.

"I think our kids are facing a whole new world with social media and internet access".

According to Hull Live, a school has now taken to Twitter to warn parents that the challenge was infiltrating programmes such a Peppa Pig and Kids YouTube. One video, inspired by the popular "Minecraft" video game, even depicted a school shooting. In a statement, YouTube said that it "take [s] feedback very seriously", and is working to "ensure the videos in YouTube Kids are family-friendly". In order to distract him, she put on a cartoon on YouTube Kids, only to see roughly five minutes into the video a man walking into the picture, holding out his arm, and giving advice as to how to slit your wrist.

"We rely on both user flagging and smart detection technology to flag this content for our reviewers", Faville added.

Children watching videos on YouTube and on the YouTubeKids app may have been exposed to chilling instructions on how to commit suicide.

West Michigan mother of four Krista Arnold, said she first heard about the Momo Challenge when her 7-year-old daughter told her Momo challenged her to hurt her baby sister.

Hess said she reported the video, but said it took YouTube a week to pull the video down.

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Hess found other videos on YouTube Kids that make light of and glorify suicide, sexual abuse, human trafficking, domestic violence, and shootings.

"I believe this cartoon was up for about six months prior to it coming down", she told the station. The sinister content is fused into cartoon videos in such a way that parents won't suspect a thing unless they decide to sit down with the kid to watch the entire cartoon. Flagged videos are manually reviewed 24/7 and any videos that don't belong in the app are removed.

The second video has also now gone, displaying the message: 'This video has been removed for violating YouTube's Terms of Service'. But no system is flawless and inappropriate videos can slip through, so we're constantly working to improve our safeguards and offer more features to help parents create the right experience for their families. Kids are young to understand the consequences and it would be too late before parents realise it.

"We need to fix this", she said, "and we all need to fix this together".

The hack subjects children to disturbing images and threatens them if they do not complete challenges.

If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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