YouTube’s kid-orientated version of the popular video app is coming under fire once again
Guess what? Once again the kid-friendly version of YouTube is under fire once again for not filtering content enough and are showing videos inappropriate for children, but this time it’s not primarily ‘adult’ content that’s to blame, but a handful of how-to videos and a few unwanted adverts for things kids really shouldn’t be seeing.
The complaints come from two separate consumer groups the Center for Digital Democracy and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, who ran separate tests to discover what sort of content was off-limits for kids, and as it turns out not that much with the groups managing to easily find the following:
- An Animaniacs episode where cartoon animals sing the words “piss,” “fellatio,” “penis,” and more;
- a dancer demonstrating how to do the Michael Jackson “crotch grab” move;
- a Budweiser ad;
- a TED speaker talking about his first suicide attempt as a teenager;
- President Obama joking with Jimmy Kimmel about marijuana;
- a guide to red wine;
- a demonstration of how to light a match and use it to set a pile of matches on fire;
- Sarah Jessica Parker in a puffy white dress, kicking in a shop window and setting off the alarm;
- a person onstage talking about how “several children will die today from physical abuse at the hands of their own parents.”
The groups created a quick video highlighting the sort of content they found and considering this app is likely aimed at ages five and under, with the home screen offering videos for Peppa Pig and other kid’s TV shows, it’s pretty shocking. I mean, would you want your five-year-old knowing how to light matches?
The app itself is pretty kid orientated with big buttons and quick access to the aforementioned kids TV shows. The main culprit in all of this is the ability to search for things, something that seems to be a lot less regulated than the pre-chosen content. This can however be switched off in the password-protected settings page, but it’s apparently on by default.
The video containing a few clips found by the groups can be seen below, and all seriousness aside for a second, I can’t help but chuckle a little at the way the video is put together. It reminds me a lot of those YouTube Haiku compilations..
Back to being serious for a moment. YouTube has since issued a statement on the issue:
We work to make the videos in YouTube Kids as family-friendly as possible and take feedback very seriously. Anyone can flag a video and these videos are manually reviewed 24/7 and any videos that don’t belong in the app are removed. For parents who want a more restricted experience, we recommend that they turn off search.
Of course, along with this the two groups have various other complaints about the YouTube for Kids app. None that I’ll go into great detail with right now, however.
My advice for anyone planning to let their child loose on the YouTube for Kids app: if you have concerns, disable the search option and always keep an eye on what your children do on the Internet.