As Wired reports, YouTube continues to recommend young kids watch some deeply weird (and sometimes downright disturbing) videos:
YouTube videos using child-oriented search terms are evading the company’s attempts to control them. In one cartoon, a woman with a Minnie Mouse head tumbles down an escalator before becoming trapped in its machinery, spurting blood, while her children (baby Mickey and Minnie characters) cry.
The cartoon, “Minnie Mouse Mommy Has Pregnancy Problem & Doctor Treats Episodes! Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck Cartoon”, racked up over three million views in a single day. It could be viewed even with YouTube’s family-friendly restricted mode enabled and existed, along with plenty of similarly distressing content, on Simple Fun, a channel that had been in operation since July 2017.
This is after a high profile opinion piece was published last year by author James Bridle, which detailed how YouTube was systematically traumatising children, and Google promising to toughen its approach.
The YouTube Kids app is supposed to filter out content flagged as inappropriate for children under 13.
However, as Business Reporter revealed earlier this month, it’s not immune to promoting videos that argue the moon landings were faked, or that the Royal family are shape-shifting lizards.
My feeling is that your kids might be a lot happier watching a DVD box set of “Paw Patrol”, or streaming 1960s episodes of “Scooby Doo” and “The Flintstones”, than left to their own devices with YouTube.
Last month, we discussed the problem of YouTube showing disturbing videos to kids on an episode of the “Smashing Security” podcast. You can check it out here.Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Overcast | Stitcher | RSS for you nerds.