Photo via The Sun
YouTube has announced a ban on videos that show popular children’s TV characters in frightening and violent scenes after it was revealed that hundreds of disturbing videos are featured on the website.
The online video service that is owned by Google stated “inappropriate use of family entertainment characters” would be restricted to adults only when they are reported by users.
Investigations have discovered reams of bizarre videos that are depicting children’s characters in morbid situations appearing on YouTube and YouTube Kids, its children-only app.
The videos included Peppa Pig in frightening situations, such as getting teeth pulled out at the dentist or drinking bleach. Other videos include some clips of Elsa from Disney’s Frozen and Spiderman fighting with other characters in animated clips, while some videos have sexually suggestive themes.
Under Youtube’s new rules, such videos will be deemed as age-inappropriate. The said videos will also be removed from the YouTube Kids app and blocked from logged-out users or those that are aged under 18 on the main website.
YouTube already forbids such videos from generating money by running advertisements before them. “Earlier this year, we updated our policies to make content featuring inappropriate use of family entertainment characters ineligible for monetisation,” said Juniper Downs, YouTube’s director of policy.
“We’re in the process of implementing a new policy that age restricts this content in the YouTube main app when flagged. Age-restricted content is automatically not allowed in YouTube Kids. The YouTube team is made up of parents who are committed to improving our apps and getting this right.”
YouTube already filters out content that are inappropriate for users who are under 13, including sexually-suggestive videos or those that are containing violence. However, the process is widely automated and has seen some videos slip through the net.
The new policy will see it depend more on viewers and moderators to flag inappropriate videos actively. However, there continue to be fears that videos will not be caught, since the disturbing themes in the videos do not appear immediately.
Over the summer, some anonymous members of YouTube’s own Trusted Flaggers team, the volunteers who watch over the website for harmful content, claimed that the Google-owned giant was “systematically failing” in protecting children. YouTube states that the main website should not be used by those that are under-13.