YouTube, for those unaware, has a problem: bizarre, violent, little videos featuring beloved characters from children’s television are slipping through the cracks and infiltrating the minds of the youth.
Variety reports that YouTube is finally addressing the concerns of parents across the country about the filters in their YouTube Kids app, which have been letting these strange iterations of normal children’s programming through the filtering system. The app works via algorithm and employs the same autoplay feature that causes responsible adults to tumble down rabbit holes they had no intention of exploring. One normal Peppa Pig video could be followed by a not-so-normal one, like this.
While I do agree that it’s important for children to learn about where bacon comes from, I don’t think that this Peppa Pig knockoff is the way to go.
The app itself isn’t completely automated, though. Parents have the ability to monitor what their children are watching, to set timers, to block certain channels and to report videos they see that are inappropriate. Malik Ducard, YouTube’s global head of family and learning content told the New York Times that “it isn’t a curated experience” and “parents are in the driver’s seat,” meaning that they cannot and should not just plop little Ainslington in front of the iPad and expect YouTube to handle it.
YouTube is taking care of it for now: they’re rolling out a new process that allows parents more control and information about what content their kids can access. The design of the YouTube Kids app will also change based on the child’s age, and parents will be allowed to block videos, restrict usage time, and disable certain videos altogether.