The Truth About YouTube Kids
Warning: This post contains disturbing content.
This is not a scare tactic- I am only relaying my truth
YouTube is one of the most popular sites in the world.
It seems practical that many parents resort to YouTube Kids for entertainment with the idea that it is trustworthy. After all, their company promotes safety. The busy parent might hand over a child-safe tablet with the app installed while putting away groceries. A parent might use it as a distraction when they are having an “adult’s only” conversation. A child might just use it as a free choice activity. Whatever the case may be, many families trust YouTube Kids. Not only have families fallen victim to this website, but schools have as well. Children are permitted to select YouTube Kids as a free choice activity. I know this because I have worked at several schools as an educator. I was rejected when I made informed management about YouTube Kids.
The multi-billion dollar company claims to have secured software to protect videos from inappropriate links. They claim, the secured software points to child-friendly videos on YouTube Kids which is intended for child-friendly videos only.
Right before publishing this post, I saw on the news that a mother found a suicide tutorial video made by a man and published on YouTube Kids. He disguised this as a kid-friendly video. I googled the link and several stories just like mine are showing up across the internet. Something is very wrong with YouTube and their regulations.
How aware are you of the content that is on there? Have you sat down and let YouTube kids run on auto play? I have. I highly encourage that you do the same if you have ever let your child use it. Go back into the search history to check videos that they viewed. Click on each video and skim through to view the content. If any are inappropriate, you must begin a dialogue no matter how uncomfortable you are with it.
YouTube Kids is Not protected. It is NOT SECURED. Despite their childsafe software, there is a way around this for predators and attackers to reach your children in your own home.
How can this be?
YouTube Kids is not an exception.
What is a Hyperlink? a link from a hypertext file or document to another location or file, typically activated by clicking on a highlighted word or image on the screen.
This means that a video on YouTube Kids can have a child-friendly title and thumbnail, but ultimately link to a highly inappropriate video.
This website is a pedophiles playground and they do it so indiscriminately to the point that the parent will barely notice.
Our experience with this app started when I was visiting family. The adults were talking for hours. I tried YouTube Kids because my daughter was extremely bored and she was done with her books and drawing. She started watching unboxing videos. Autoplay then led to children playing with dolls like a puppet show. I thought it was odd. I listened in, but it was fine. I thought the unboxing was cool because it is like getting a present without spending money. She loved watching the other kids play (maybe because she is an only child).
My daughter ditched the phone on the ground and ran up to me. I picked up my phone to find a video of a grown man playing with Anna and Elsa, directing them to take off their clothes. The video was in French and it was showing dolls in the bathroom in the most inappropriate way you can imagine. The content of the videos are illegal but there is little regulation with posting to YouTube Kids. The videos were so well hidden in the mass of other videos since the are disguised as a typical child’s video. It had a child-friendly title, link, and thumbnail.
I immediately reported the video for its content. My report was denied. I reported dozens of times. All of my reports were denied. I explored all the videos that were linked to the inappropriate video, and hundreds popped up. I submitted complaints to as many as I could and wrote into YouTube. It was denied and there was no response to my email.
My advice: #1 stay away from YouTube Kids #2 make sure your child(ren)’s school does not have this option for free choice #3 scroll through YouTube Kids search history and skim videos. #4 If you find an inappropriate video in the search history, take time to think of how you are going to have an honest discussion child(ren).
Attackers are everywhere. They are not just blatant, extroverted, committing crimes out in the open. Most attacks can happen in the quietest and subtle ways. This is an example of a virtual attack. Although subtle, the impact and trauma can be enormous.This is why they need a vocabulary to articulate their thoughts and feelings about what happened. Your support is everything. If your child sees or hears something inappropriate on the internet, turn away asap and tell a trusted adult.