Just recently, mom and journalist Laura June discovered her 3-year old daughter had stumbled upon some pretty scary Peppa Pig YouTube videos. As it turns out, there are tons and tons of kid video parodies, most of which are aimed at adults, but all still pretty easy to find for kids, especially for young ones who can’t read and are just clicking based on the main image.
Related: A safer video streaming app for kids
And it’s not just Peppa Pig videos either. June discovered lots more after doing an extensive search, including everything from Frozen to Doc McStuffins. And we won’t even get into copyright issues.
On a quick YouTube search using “Peppa Pig,” I found one of these parody videos about 10 videos down the list, and while it was very clearly marked to be explicit, there was no way of knowing based on the thumbnail image (though it did say “NOT FOR KIDS”). And, as we all know, once you watch one of those videos, the suggested videos just keep popping up.
What parents should do about these scary YouTube video parodies
1. If you do have young kids watching YouTube, I’d strongly suggest the YouTube Kids app. I did the same search on the kids app and found nothing questionable. Granted, a couple might make it through, and if that ever happens, it’s very important to report those videos immediately.
2. If your kids are watching the regular YouTube app, you can enable “restricted mode” to help filter out mature content, though again, it’s not a perfect system and you’ll need to monitor what your kids are watching.