YouTube Creates Vetting Policy to Safeguard Children's Videos

Screenshot by Matt Elliott  CNET

Many videos include dark and disturbing elements, drawing bad press for YouTube when they appear on its supposedly safe YouTube Kids app. Now, parents can report inappropriate videos to YouTube and the same will be reviewed by a policy team. The app works via algorithm and employs the same autoplay feature that causes responsible adults to tumble down rabbit holes they had no intention of exploring. The videos, featuring the likes of the PAW Patrol or Peppa Pig, are creepy and unusual would very likely be disturbing or even traumatizing to kids who watch them. "If you find a video that you think should not be in the app, you can block it and flag it for review". Malik Ducard, YouTube's global head of family and learning content told the New York Timesthat "it isn't a curated experience" and "parents are in the driver's seat", meaning that they can not and should not just plop little Ainslington in front of the iPad and expect YouTube to handle it. Content flagged in YouTube Kids will be flagged in the main YouTube app.

The YouTube app and its Kids variant have long had an issue with numerous unusual and outright inappropriate videos popping up with keywords that target kids and use family-friendly characters, but YouTube is reportedly planning to start filtering those videos out of the YouTube Kids app by age-restricting them when they're found.

One such channel is called Little Kids TV and features a number of "childrens" videos which have racked up millions of views.

The reasoning behind this decision has to do with the relationship between the main YouTube app and YouTube Kids (which has its own dedicated app).

Since YouTube Kids launched in February 2015, the algorithimically-driven app has been criticized for lacking controls to restrict kid-unfriendly videos, as well as allowing commercially-oriented content targeted at kids.

Just like any other platform displaying visual content, YouTube might sometimes have to censor some of it. Children are easy to manipulate through appealing videos, so viewing something inappropriate for their age can mean a lot.

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Plenty of parents I've spoken to privately have had their concerns about Youtube Kids.

Some of the videos depict the characters pole dancing.

The shocking videos were found alongside official clips of the show.

The videos were accessible to young children even with the parental settings set to pre-school age. No mention of a new policy from YouTube was discussed with Mashable during the reporting of our original piece in October.

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