Warning: The following story may be triggering for some.
Parents are concerned about popular cartoons being re-uploaded to the YouTube Kids app with self-harm tips spliced into the middle them.
YouTube has deleted a re-uploaded episode of an animated cartoon where a clip is inserted in the middle of it featuring a former YouTube personality’s skit about self-harm.
“Remember, kids, sideways for attention, longways for results. End it,” he says in the clip while pretending to cut his arms.
While the clip was originally filmed in front of a green screen, the uploader has edited it to look like a cartoon world.
The original ‘Splatoon’ cartoons receive upwards of a million views on the video platform with many parents not monitoring their child’s usage once the episode has already started.
A paediatrician in Florida made the company aware of the problem after uploading an anonymous blog post warning parents of what their children might be exposed to while the parents aren’t looking.
“Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death in individuals between the ages of 10 and 34,” the mother writes, “and the numbers of children exhibiting some form of self-harm is growing rapidly.”
Dr. Hess wants YouTube to be held personally responsible for these videos.
The paediatrician said she and other parents repeatedly reported the video, and was not able to have the video removed until she reached a direct contact at YouTube.
But, she understands it’s not purely YouTube’s responsibility.
“We have to start doing something NOW and we should start by educating ourselves, educating our children, and speaking up when we see something that is dangerous for our children,” she says.
“We also need to fight to have the developers of social media platforms held responsible when they do not assure that age restrictions are followed and when they do not remove inappropriate and/or dangerous material when reported.”