Doctor Free Hess, a paediatrician from Florida has exposed suicide tips for children hidden in videos on YouTube and YouTube Kids.
In a world where suicide, violence and crime are rife, the last thing parents need is for their kids to be exposed to any content that promotes it.
Shockingly, YouTube Kids – a platform that was supposed to have kid-friendly content, was found to have suicide clips and sexual exploitation videos.
Free Hess, the founder of the child safety website PediMom, took to her website to share the horrific discovery.
“My research has led me into a horrifying world where people create cartoons glorifying dangerous topics and scenarios such as self-harm, suicide, sexual exploitation, trafficking, domestic violence, sexual abuse and gun violence which includes a simulated school shooting. All of these videos were found on YouTube Kids, a platform that advertises itself to be a safe place for children, eight years’ old and under,” Hess wrote on PediMom.
“Exposure to videos, photos, and other self-harm and suicidal promoting content is a huge problem that our children are facing today. Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death in individuals between the ages of 10 and 34 and the numbers of children exhibiting some form of self-harm is growing rapidly,” she wrote.
Doctor Hess has urged parents to fight against social media platforms that don’t adhere to age-restriction rules.
“We should start by educating ourselves, educating our children, and speaking up when we see something that is dangerous for our children. We also need to fight to have the developers of social media platforms held responsible when they do not assure that age restrictions are followed and when they do not remove inappropriate and/or dangerous material when reported.”
Dr Hess shared some of the videos she found:
The video below gives tips for self-harm and suicide.
The below video has strong language and shooting.
Human trafficking video from YouTube kids.
Video with shooting, violence, and threats to kill.
Video showing a young girl committing suicide with a knife after her father dies and her boyfriend breaks up with her.
Another video showing zombie cartoon friends kill each other out of jealousy.
CBS reports that YouTube has taken down the dangerous videos.
Learn how to set up parental control on YouTube for kids
Read this guide on what parents can do to ensure their children are safe online.