YouTube isn’t for kids

Downright disturbing.

Weird YouTube video

As Wired reports, YouTube continues to recommend young kids watch some deeply weird (and sometimes downright disturbing) videos:

YouTube videos using child-oriented search terms are evading the company’s attempts to control them. In one cartoon, a woman with a Minnie Mouse head tumbles down an escalator before becoming trapped in its machinery, spurting blood, while her children (baby Mickey and Minnie characters) cry.

The cartoon, “Minnie Mouse Mommy Has Pregnancy Problem & Doctor Treats Episodes! Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck Cartoon”, racked up over three million views in a single day. It could be viewed even with YouTube’s family-friendly restricted mode enabled and existed, along with plenty of similarly distressing content, on Simple Fun, a channel that had been in operation since July 2017.

Sign up to our free newsletter.
Security news, advice, and tips.

This is after a high profile opinion piece was published last year by author James Bridle, which detailed how YouTube was systematically traumatising children, and Google promising to toughen its approach.

The YouTube Kids app is supposed to filter out content flagged as inappropriate for children under 13.

However, as Business Reporter revealed earlier this month, it’s not immune to promoting videos that argue the moon landings were faked, or that the Royal family are shape-shifting lizards.

My feeling is that your kids might be a lot happier watching a DVD box set of “Paw Patrol”, or streaming 1960s episodes of “Scooby Doo” and “The Flintstones”, than left to their own devices with YouTube.

Last month, we discussed the problem of YouTube showing disturbing videos to kids on an episode of the “Smashing Security” podcast. You can check it out here.

Smashing Security #065: 'Cryptominomania, Poppy, and your Amazon Alexa'

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Pocket Casts | Other... | RSS
More episodes...

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

4 comments on “YouTube isn’t for kids”

  1. Mark

    Here’s an idea, stop giving children unsupervised internet access, and take responsibility for their upbringing.

  2. Jane

    Gosh Mark it must be wonderful to be perfect! These days with smart tv's, multiple devices and children often more tech savvy than their parents it's nigh on impossible to monitor them every second of every day. Even five minutes watching ceebeebies while you make the tea can carry risk. As the article clearly states this circumvented parental controls. But hey, let's blame the parents and take any onus away from big corps doing something about it…

  3. Roger

    There's nothing wrong with kids NOT watching TV or media unsupervised. The world has changed because parents gave up and took the easy route of believing their children had the capability to discern good from bad. Remember Friday night TV nights? No? Maybe they should come back – like gathering the family around the proverbial LED fire for a fun tale.
    Be intentional about being a parent, not some higher-earning buddy provider or best friend.

  4. Jim

    Wasn't their a report about Tom & Jerry cartoons on TV being to violent for children? In the 1970's?

What do you think? Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.