In Summer 2018, a concerned mother wrote to Dr. Free Hess, a pediatrician and mom who runs a blog called PediMom, about a chilling video she found on YouTube Kids: a man showing viewers how to commit suicide by slitting their wrists.
It all started when the mom showed her son a YouTube video in order to distract him from a nosebleed. She thought it was just a "simple, innocent cartoon," until four minutes and forty-four seconds into the video when the man popped up.
For what it's worth, the video is originally from Filthy Frank, a former content creator who is "the embodiment of everything a person should not be." His videos are purposely offensive and are meant to be satirical.
Despite the origins of the rogue video clip, the mother was still disturbed that YouTube Kids would allow that type of content.
Now, Dr. Hess and other concerned parents fighting back.
After the first mother's submission, Dr. Hess started to do her own research into the matter. To her horror, she discovered the dark-side of YouTube "where people create cartoons glorifying dangerous topics and scenarios such self-harm, suicide, sexual exploitation, trafficking, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and gun violence which includes a simulated school shooting."
What was most concerning to Dr. Hess is that this type of content can be found on YouTube Kids. It's evident that despite the platform is supposed to be safe for children 8 years and under, internet trolls are actively finding a way to upload disturbing adult content to the app.
In her YouTube Kids deep dive, Dr. Hess found a couple Minecraft videos with multiple shooting scenes and swearing, a video suggesting human trafficking, and a cartoon of a young girl committing suicide after her father dies and her boyfriend breaks up with her.
Dr. Hess believes YouTube needs to be a safe place for children and wants parents to join together to come up with a solution to combat internet trolls.
Parents, if you're really that concerned about your children being exposed to sensitive content, it's your job to monitor that. Maybe may that means spending quality time with instead of sedating them with endless access to YouTube and Television or making sure they go outside every once and a while.
What do you think: are Dr. Hess's concerns valid or is she making this into a bigger deal than it should be? Sound off in the comments!
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