On Friday, a pediatrician and parenting blogger Ness Hess has published a post about a series of disturbing videos she found on YouTube Kids, a standalone app that is supposed to make it "safer and simpler" for those under 13 to browse videos online. -inspired characters carry out a school shooting.
These cartoons were not created for YouTube Kids, they were uploaded to the YouTube Platform, and later slipped past filters designed to keep inappropriate content away from minors. Some of the videos have racked up thousands of thousands, if not millions, of views. Kids are family-friendly and take feedback very seriously, "YouTube said in a statement.
Hess is the first parent to find alarming videos on YouTube Kids. When the app was released in 201[ads1]5, YouTube said it could "be a little easier"
Two years later, a media post about the plethora of disturbing children's content on YouTube went viral, leading to a wave of media investigations, which often focuses on YouTube's Reliance on Automated Systems to Moderate Videos.
YouTube soon announced that "content featuring inappropriate use of family characters," as well as upsetting Peppa the Pig's knockoffs, would not be on YouTube Kids-and-ineligible for advertising. In 2018, the company went further, introducing a new "trusted channels" feature, where Kids Kids and its partners. Parents can now also restrict themselves to watching the videos and channels they handpick themselves.
It's these settings that YouTube better, that the company now emphasizes. YouTube's Kids family friendly, "the YouTube Kids landing page says. "But no system is perfect and inappropriate videos can slip through." It's not clear whether [Hess did not immediately return a request for comment.]
"It takes a lot of effort to curate a space for your kid," says Jill Murphy, the editor-in-chief of Common Sense Media, says: "A non-profit that promotes safe technology for kids."
But YouTube Kids can be a great and convenient way to keep kids entertained. It provides a near-endless source of educational content, as well as innocuous cartoons. If you're a parent looking at YouTube Kids, or you've got the kids, what are you going to do?
Getting Started the app walks them through a tutorial how they work, the options they have, and the kind of information YouTube collects. (In the US, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, however. 13. Parents are now prompted to YouTube, where "automated systems select content from the broad universe of videos on YouTube," or "limited to channels that have been verified" by YouTube.
If parents sign into their Gmail accounts, they can also save personalized lists of approved videos and channels, as well as create individual profiles for up to eight children. Even if parents let their children explore the eternity of YouTube Kids, they can select from two categories of content, either for children under 8 years old, or for those who are older. If a parent chooses instead of creating a custom list of videos, YouTube wants to direct them to their collections, which include bundles of channels curated by organizations like PBS and UNICEF.
Once YouTube Kids is up and running, tap the lock icon in the lower right corner of the app. You may as well add them to their own videos and channels wants to be prompted to solve a math problem, which later can be replaced by four-digit passcode. First create this passcode, to protect kids from the equation and altering their parent controls later. Once inside the settings menu timer which will lock the app when the total amount of time runs out.
To change what content kids can access, tap their individual profiles. Gmail account-not the 4-digit passcode. Allow searching . "Below this setting, parents can toggle the content of the videos to those intended for" Younger "or" Older "audiences. Or they may approve. You can also " Pause watch history " at the bottom of the screen, which stops YouTube Kids.
If you do not get a video by tapping the three dots in the right corner. You can also report inappropriate clips to YouTube the same way.
Even if you enable these features, it's possible your kids will learn how to circumvent them. "YouTube has a very short shelf life. My six-year-old work can be done through these parental controls, "says Murphy. "It's not hard to them to manipulate it.
But as long as parents are wise. "
There are plenty of issues to consider, as well as the amount of advertising and sponsored content about it, there's little harm in children's watch videos on YouTube Kids, especially when the app can provide a much-needed distraction for parents. But before you hand off the iPad or smartphone, it's worth taking a look at the guardrails YouTube offers.