YouTube Kids may not be sufficiently filtering out violent and sexual content from videos on the app, according to some parents.
Ever since YouTube launched in 2005 as a website tailored for the general public to upload any kind of videos they wanted, the platform has become a smorgasbord of content for adults and children. Now in app form, it has become one of the most downloaded in Apple’s library and is on par with other social media platforms like Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram for its use of videos as primary content, often starring celebrities like MrBeast and Logan Paul. Recently, it was discovered that the YouTube Kids app, in particular, may be exposing children to content they wouldn’t otherwise see in apps geared towards their age range, including violence and sexual content.
According to a report by Today, some concerned parents have complained that the YouTube Kids app is not doing a great job at filtering out inappropriate content for its young viewers, which has often included unseemly videos. These videos can contain images and depictions of a violent and sexual nature, which somehow have slipped through YouTube’s carefully crafted filters. Parents are worried that exposing their children to such images and videos could harm their development and bring up situations where parents need to discuss certain topics when they feel their kids are not ready for such discussions, which has promoted many parents to simply delete the app for their devices altogether.
Many of the videos that have bypassed the filters on YouTube Kids reflect animated clips of famous characters, like those of the DC Extended Universe, Disney, and Pixar, as well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, some of these clips seem to show The Joker and Venom firing rounds of bullets at unsuspecting characters, for example, far too violent for young viewers hoping to watch a simple animated video of their favorite superheroes. Another problem exists here knowing that Venom, while a character of the MCU, is one that stars in a PG-13 rated film of the same name starring Tom Hardy, a movie that most children watching YouTube Kids may not be familiar with.
But it seems that YouTube Kids may be using a tactic to advertise many of their videos to an unsuspecting audience, including the utilization of known animated characters that children love like Mickey Mouse and the sisters from Frozen. By using these characters in their clips, kids are more likely to click on the videos and watch them for their content. However, it appears that many of these videos are disturbing in nature, even if they star often used Disney characters.
The YouTube Kids app is part of the overall YouTube umbrella that was purchased by Google in 2006. A mainstay of the organization, YouTube is popular for its use of videos and channels to promote short films, music videos, news, and live streams. Many of those that become famous on YouTube in general, such as Awkwafina and Jojo Siwa, have gone on to prominent careers in film and television where they can reach wider and more international audiences than what the internet can provide.