Distubing Content Hidden in Children’s Videos
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.
Simulating the use of a knife or razor blade on his arm, he said, “Kids, remember, cut this way for attention, and this way for results,” before walking out off screen. The cartoon then continued as normal.
In her post, the mother wrote “[t]his video was intentionally planted on YouTube Kids to harm our children. He waited until parents’ guards were down, thinking their kids were just watching a harmless cartoon when he made his entrance four minutes and forty-five seconds into this video."
“How can anyone do this?”
As Hess reported last week, the spliced footage has made its way into another children’s video, this time on the main YouTube site itself. Worse, she says “looking back at the comments it appears that people began reporting this video approximately 8 months ago, yet it is still able to be viewed.”
“This is not OK.” She adds.
The video has since been removed, according to Hess.
YouTube Responds to Reports
According to the Washington Post, Andrea Faville, a spokesperson for YouTube, said that the company is working to make sure that its platform is “not used to encourage dangerous behavior and we have strict policies that prohibit videos which promote self-harm.”
“We rely on both user flagging and smart detection technology to flag this content for our reviewers,” they said. “Every quarter we remove millions of videos and channels that violate our policies and we remove the majority of these videos before they have any views. We are always working to improve our systems and to remove violative content more quickly, which is why we report our progress in a quarterly report and give users a dashboard showing the status of videos they’ve flagged to us.”