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  • There Are Fake and Disturbing Paw Patrol Videos on YouTube

    Protect your kids from inappropriate content by learning how to activate the YouTube update.
    by Rachel Perez .
There Are Fake and Disturbing Paw Patrol Videos on YouTube
PHOTO BY screencap from YouTube
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
  • The Internet is a vast space where you can find information, photos, and videos of just about anything and anyone. It's impressive as it is scary especially when we think about how easy it is for our kids to stumble on inappropriate content online. 

    In 2015, Google launched YouTube Kids app to help parents feel more secure about their kids' online activities. It promised to be a platform for kid-friendly video content designed for audiences younger than 13 and to let moms and dads manage their kids’ viewing habits. Filipino kids had access to the app in October 2016. 

    However, parents are now calling attention to certain videos seen in YouTube Kids app, which regularly garners up to more than 11 million weekly viewers all over the world. There have been reports of videos that seem harmless and innocent at the start, but the content would quickly turn violent, sexual or disturbing. Not only are these videos allegedly accessible on the app, but they also star some of the kids' favorite characters. So you have a video of Peppa Pig wielding knives and guns or Paw Patrol dogs committing suicide

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    "To expose children to this content is abuse," wrote James Bridle in his article "Something is Wrong On The Internet" on Medium"What we’re talking about is very young children, effectively from birth, being deliberately targeted with content, which will traumatize and disturb them, via networks which are extremely vulnerable to exactly this form of abuse. It’s not about trolls, but about a kind of violence inherent in the combination of digital systems and capitalist incentives," he added. 


    Malik Ducard, YouTube’s global head of family and learning content, told The New York Times that these sick videos were "the extreme needle in the haystack," but "making the app family friendly is of the utmost importance to us." Flagged videos are manually reviewed 24/7, and any video that doesn't belong in the app is removed as soon as it is found. (As of this writing, we were still able to watch videos with graphic content that starred Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol.)

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    Thankfully, a recent update to YouTube Kids allows parents to sign in with their Google account and create customizable profiles and passcodes for the children. We recommend you use it if you let your child watch YouTube on his own. The update includes a more detailed information to help parents make the right choices. The company has also responded to last year's complaints with better filters based on a child's age, watch history, etc. 

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    Of course, it does not fix the issue entirely. "Algorithms are not a substitute for human intervention, and when it comes to creating a safe environment for children, you need humans,” Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood stressed to The New York Times.

    It also takes a collaborative community effort to report the inappropriate videos you encounter so YouTube can take them down. Many moms, however, had decided to delete the app entirely when a batch of disturbing videos grabbed headlines last year. Many prefer to go to trusted websites, such as PBS and Disney Jr, among others, when letting their kids watch videos online.

    The moral lesson here? It pays to be more mindful of the media our kids consume online. Supervise the videos they watch and all the other apps and games they use. Take time to learn the parental controls and monitor your child's watch history. Better yet, watch with your children and make watching videos an engaged, educational experience for your kids. 

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