So many of us often leave our little ones with a phone or an iPad for entertainment, yet with the recent rise in disturbing YouTube parodies, it’s time to take a closer look at what our little ones are watching online.
In this recent trend, copycat cartoons use much loved characters like Peppa Pig, Thomas the Tank Engine and Elsa from Frozen. At a first glance, these videos look like the real deal, but instead of the innocent storylines we know and love, they feature disturbing violence, completely inappropriate for children.
At a first glance, these videos look like the real deal, but instead of the innocent storylines we know and love, they feature disturbing violence, completely inappropriate for children.
In the spoof cartoons we have found, Peppa Pig sets fire to a house in an attempt to kill those inside. This issue was first flagged up by mum-of-one and journalist Laura June, who caught her little one watching a disturbing video of Peppa Pig visiting the dentist. Writing on The Outline Laura explained: ‘The video, titled ‘#Peppa #Pig #Dentist #Kids #Animation #Fantasy’ is completely horrifying. Though the animation sort of looks like an actual episode of Peppa Pig, it’s poorly done, and the narrative quickly veers into upsetting territory. Peppa goes to the dentist, who has a giant needle and a lot of scary toys.’ Not something a child is likely to forget in a hurry.
Perhaps most worryingly, these videos are not aimed at adults using characters we might know and moan about once in a while, they are disturbingly injected into children’s channels, with confusing tags to trick YouTube into suggesting them.
How can I keep my child safe online?
YouTube is aware of the issue and has urged parents to report any inappropriate content immediately. To do this, click the ‘More’ button and find the option to report the video. This will then be flagged to YouTube’s staff, who can remove videos within hours.
If you are worried about what your children might be viewing, the advice from YouTube is to only watch content that has been posted by the network’s official channel. You’ll be able to tell whether a channel has been verified by the grey tick next to it’s name. From the channel, you can select ‘Playlists’ that will only play content posted by the channel.
YouTube also recommends switching viewing of the app to ‘restricted mode’. To do this on your phone or iPad, scroll to the bottom of the page; the setting is in between ‘Content Location’ and ‘History’.
Alternatively, if you are still worried about the videos that might appear in the suggested section, an easy place for your little ones to click, we recommend using apps such as BBC iPlayer, where all content is monitored and approved.