New guidelines after inappropriate videos found on YouTube Kids app

Parents may not like to do it, and they may not even admit it, but most have at one time or another given their young children unsupervised access to YouTube or the YouTube Kids app.

These days, a parent may have to watch over their shoulder every single second.

A series of disturbing videos featuring popular kids characters were found mixed in with legitimate videos safe enough for kids to watch on their own.

Imagine for a minute handing your 3 year old a smartphone or tablet to watch “Peppa Pig” or Elsa from “Frozen”. The first few minutes are fine, but then the video take a disturbing twist. Peppa begins to chase other characters around with a chainsaw or drink bleach. These videos exist, and there’s no way to know until it’s too late to stop young eyes from seeing it, unless you watch the whole video first yourself.

I first saw the videos in May on YouTube then found them mixed in with other videos in the YouTube Kids app. There was no indication that they were parodies aimed at adults with a bizarre sense of humor. That’s how they slipped by YouTube’s approval process.

I flagged and reported the videos to YouTube, yet they stayed on the site and app for months.

As more media outlets reported on them, the online video service owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has promised to make some changes.

YouTube says it will begin using more human beings to review videos before they’re included in the Kids app. It also claims it will make certain any videos such as this are labeled as such. The service believes the new guidelines and approval process will keep the videos away from young eyes.

Will it work? We can hope, but YouTube says it will not censor these parody videos from its main website and app.

In the meantime, parents may want to watch videos along with their children and specifically look at the channel uploading the videos. You can report disturbing children’s videos to YouTube and flag them as being unsafe for children.

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