YouTube has said it will restrict videos that include inappropriate images of children’s cartoons, if flagged.
Many video-makers use popular children’s characters to draw in views from parents and children, but not all the content is suitable for younger audiences.
YouTube currently restricts advertising on inappropriate videos, in an attempt to discourage more videos of the same nature being uploaded, but this does not prevent the disturbing content being viewed by children using the site.
Concerns have been raised recently that YouTube is not doing enough to protect children from inappropriate content. In a comprehensive blog post, writer James Bridle gave many examples of videos aimed towards younger audiences that can be highly disturbing.
It appears that this kind of content is using popular characters and trends to come out on top of the YouTube algorithm. The videos feature well-known characters from children’s animations, such as Elsa from Frozen, and Peppa Pig.
YouTube relies on viewers reporting such videos before action is made against them. As previously mentioned, YouTube does not allow this type of content to earn money through advertising, but only acts after it has been reported.
YouTube has now stated that when videos are reported they will be restricted for any viewers under 18, as well as being demonetised. This means that this inappropriate content will not feature in the YouTube Kids app, nor will it be accessible on YouTube’s website unless an adult user is logged in.
YouTube claims to use human reviewers to assess whether a video is or is not appropriate for a younger audience. However, a report by The New York Times has found that this type of content has slipped by filters in the past.