Language, Sex And Drugs On YouTube Kids

19 May 2015

CaptureA few months back we shared the news that Google and YouTube are releasing a new 'YouTube Kids' app that allows for greater controls of what children can watch on YouTube, and the response towards it was very positive. At the time we knew it was launching in the US and weren't sure yet about a date for the UK, but many of us felt that we'd be very happy to use it, thanks to features like search locking so children couldn't search inappropriate words, but could search specific themes, or watch popular programmes. 

In theory it sounds like a fantastic options for those who allow our children access to YouTube.

Unfortunately not all is well in technology-paradise, as two child advocacy groups have this week lodged complaints with the Federal Trade Commission about videos in the YouTube Kids app containing explicit language, along with references to sex and drugs - not really what you want when you've trusted an app to monitor what your child has exposure to.

You can watch a montage of clips that the Center for Digital Democracy and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood compiled in just one day, and it includes talk of suicide, beer advertising and more - obviously viewer discretion is advised, but you can see that clip here.

Now, the question we've been asking here at PlayPennies is this: should we as parents be trusting corporations with what our children are watching anyway? I mean, if I put my child in front of this app and walk away, is it my 'fault' if they see something 'bad' or is it that of the app-maker - in this case Google? How much faith do we put into corporations anyway? I know when CBeebies comes on in our house, I tend to tune out, gloss over, go on a mental holiday, so they could be influencing my children to mutiny and I'm not sure I'd notice at first!

Of course if they're advertising the product as doing something - in this case providing safe viewing for children - then that's what you expect them to offer, which is why the FTC have been brought in on this one. But still, whether it's Netflix, Amazon Prime, or any of the myriad of streaming programs out there these days, how much trust do you put in what they offer up as 'kids entertainment'?

What do you think?

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