YouTube is chock-full of great content for kids, which is why many parents feel comfortable handing their children a smartphone or tablet and letting them watch playlists of their favorite cartoons, music videos or educational content. However, research released yesterday for Safer Internet Day reveals that when kids watch videos on YouTube they “can be as little as three clicks away from inappropriate or adult content.”
Kaspersky Lab reports, in a press release, that “Examining YouTube’s ‘suggested’ videos which sit visibly alongside clips or episodes of popular children’s television programmes such as Peppa Pig, Rastamouse and Dora the Explorer, researchers found that, on average, users are just three clicks away from content better suited to a more mature audience.” This content includes anything from violence, guns, and nudity to car crash compilations.
David Emm, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, says, “It’s worrying to see just how simple it is for children to access videos of an adult nature on YouTube. With younger generations becoming more IT literate and parents increasingly turning to mobile devices, online games and apps as a means of entertaining their kids, these results highlight the importance of taking steps to protect them online.”
Emm provides a few tips for parents looking to protect their children from inappropriate content on YouTube. Supervision is his number one suggestion—while this may seem obvious, watching your child as they browse YouTube and, if you aren’t around, going back through browsing history to see what your child has been watching and discussing it with them, is one of the best ways to protect your children.
Emm also suggests being open with your kids and encouraging them to talk about what they’re doing online, as well as using parental controls. Note that YouTube does offer a “Safety Mode,” which blocks videos with mature content or age restrictions from showing up in video searches. YouTube says, “While no filter is 100% accurate, we use community flagging, hide objectionable comments and porn image detection to identify and hide inappropriate content. Safety Mode on YouTube does not remove content from the site but rather keeps it off the page for users who opt in.”
Image credit: wavebreakmedia via shutterstock.com
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video expert here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.
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