We need to talk about those disturbing YouTube Kids videos

We need to talk about those disturbing YouTube Kids videos

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We need to talk about those disturbing YouTube Kids videos

The latest parenting issue to make the rounds on the internet has to do with the failure of YouTube Kids censors to catch certain disturbing videos.

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You’ve got questions.  We’ve got answers.  Let’s go.

Be specific: What videos are we talking about?

Well, articles in the New York Times and Business Insider highlight a video of the Paw Patrol gang getting into a fiery car accident.  Countless other examples exist, including Minnie Mouse watching Mickey get crushed in traffic, and Peppa Pig getting her teeth pulled.

That’s awful.

Totally.

But kinda funny. 

Maybe a little.

What’s the controversy?

Essentially that YouTube isn’t doing a good enough job of catching these and other videos that shouldn’t be easily accessible by our toddlers when they’re using the YouTube Kids app.

What does YouTube say to this?

That these videos are “the extreme needle in the haystack,” and that making the app family friendly is very important.  Uploaded videos are continually monitored with a process that is multilayered and uses a lot of machine learning.

Machine learning? Cool.  Sounds effective and safe.

Well, apparently not. After all, those videos seem to be slipping through the cracks.

And did y’all see the stuff about how Facebook had to shut down its artificial intelligence program because the machines started talking among themselves in their own language?

Oh.

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Totally.

Maybe parents should just pay more attention to what their kids are watching and not rely on YouTube or future death robots to protect our kids from questionable content.

I suppose.

Having said that, just in the last month, I showed my kids “Tommy Boy” so they could experience the hilarity and enthusiasm of Chris Farley – and had to scramble for the remote when the scene came on when Richard was watching the pretty girl out by the pool.  And then I had the Sirius 90s on 9 radio station on the other day and had to scramble again when the Humpty Dance song came on and Humpty (pronounced with an “umpty”) began talking about his antics in a certain Burger King bathroom.

The point being, parents aren’t a lot better than future death robots at protecting kids from inappropriate content.

Fair point.  We’re all doing our best here.

Totally.

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