More and more parents are finding reasons why they need to monitor or perhaps even ban YouTube from their homes. And yes, even the YouTube Kids app is under fire from concerned moms and dads who are finding content that is less than suitable and oftentimes even dangerous for their kids. There’s a new report that says a mom has found disturbing instructional clips on the popular video-sharing site that encourages children to commit suicide.
According to CNN, one mother named Free Hess says that she found several videos on the social media site instructing children how to kill themselves in a step-by-step process. The clips were found on YouTube Kids, which is supposed to be the child-friendly version of the video platform, but as many parents are finding out, it’s far from it.
The Florida-based mother and pediatrician says she was left shocked when she found her son randomly scrolling through videos just to find one of a man showing kids how to split their wrists. What makes this even more alarming was that it was found right in the middle of many animated and highly-ranked clips.
After contacting YouTube Kids, it took the company one week to pull the video down.
Unfortunately, Hess saw the video pop up on the YouTube Kids app once again. After taking a little time to explore the site on her own, she found numerous clips not only showing kids how to commit suicide, but many other ones that are not deemed anywhere near kid-friendly. A lot of them included content such a sexual exploitation, human trafficking, and gun and domestic violence.
"It makes me angry and sad and frustrated," Hess told CNN in an interview.
"I'm a pediatrician, and I'm seeing more and more kids coming in with self harm and suicide attempts. I don't doubt that social media and things such as this is contributing."
Unfortunately, more and more parents are finding themselves in a similar situation as Free Hess: shocked and disturbed over the videos their children are watching and worse, YouTube’s response to monitoring the content on their kid channel. YouTube says that while they appreciate people drawing problematic content to their attention, they are working hard to make sure that the site remains a safe environment for children, despite the constantly flagged videos.
The company also offered this statement though: “Flagged videos are manually reviewed 24/7 and any videos that don't belong in the app are removed. We've also been investing in new controls for parents including the ability to hand pick videos and channels in the app. We are making constant improvements to our systems and recognize there's more work to do."