YouTube Kids shows videos of children’s drugs and guns

The YouTube Kids Videos about skin whitening, weight loss, drugs, and firearms have been shown for two-year-olds. A study by a US-based nonprofit Tech Transparency Project, which tested the results with three different accounts, found that each app was set for a different age range.

According to the NGO, Google’s filters were not effective in shutting down content that was inappropriate for children. YouTube Kids was launched in 2015 as a secure version, with content curation and access to videos aimed at children under 13. There are three video tracks: “Adult” (9 to 12 years old), “Junior” (four to eight years old) and “Pre-School” (under four years old).

A video about breaking bad for kids? (Photo: Playback / YouTube Kids)

The videos shown are hosted on the official YouTube server (so much so that they can be accessed in the original application), but they go through filters that block inappropriate content. In addition to the algorithm, there is a human review team and parent feedback to create a secure network for children.

YouTube Kids filter failed

According to the survey, the system is still flawed and misses things that children should not be shown. An example would be a cooking show themed in the Breaking Bad series, where the presenters prepare food with methamphetamine. YouTubers joke about the risk of wearing a respirator mask and cooking smoke, which may be fun for adults but definitely unsuitable for kids under 13.

There is also a playlist with guitar lessons for five-year-olds The class itself is not a problem and it can be made for children, but the songs are far from childish – just because the video is not designed for children. The song is an example of a tech transparency project CocaineBy Eric Clapton, who spoke openly about cocaine use.

The video with guitar lessons contains a song for adults (Photo: Playback / YouTube Kids)

Children’s profiles have found content targeting gun owners, such as the ranking of recall pads, which are used to protect shooters from recall (or recall, popularly called). Older children were mentioned in a video with step-by-step instructions for making a shelf with a hidden bogie to hide a pistol.

Diet and weight loss

According to research, one of the most serious topics will be videos about diet and weight loss, as it can damage the body image of a person who has not even begun to make general physical changes during adolescence. A beauty influencer has recommended a post-skin-lining product, while a cartoon talks about the importance of burning calories to lose weight.

“YouTube Kids is especially targeted at young children, even babies. This is a product that, according to YouTube, uses machine learning to filter out harmful content. It’s safe to say it’s safe for children, and we don’t expect the kind of inappropriate content we find. “

An alleged children’s video has affected children to lose weight (Photo: Playback / YouTube Kids)

Katie said she was most shocked by the drug-related content, mainly because there was nothing to justify the nomination. In the case of guitar lessons, as mentioned above, you can understand the failure because only the lyrics were inappropriate. But when there is a recognized adult series like Breaking Bad, it’s hard to understand how filtering didn’t stop.

YouTube responds

In a statement sent to Britain’s Guardian newspaper, a YouTube spokesperson said the app provides “a safe environment for kids to explore their interests and curiosities”, along with personalization tools for parents to track their children’s experiences.

“We have a high bar where videos have to be fitted to be part of the app and we give parents the power to control what their children can and cannot see. After reviewing, we removed or flagged a number of flagged videos from the Kids app. ”, Explained the platform through notes.

But according to Katie Paul, those resources were not enough, so algorithmic curation may not be effective if children are involved. “This is yet another example that even when a company says they are doing their best to protect children in creating this content, we still see it hitting some vulnerable populations.”

This is not the first such complaint from YouTube Kids. In 2019, even worse content was seen: violence, murder and suicide. At the time, much of this content was disguised in videos of Minecraft or other popular games to pass the restraint.

Source: The Guardian, Tech Transparency Project

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