Youtube Kids spammers rack up billions of views on disturbing, violent, seemingly algorithmic videos


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/11/06/wrong-head-buried-alive.html


#2

A youtuber I follow and noted these sorts of things and was like - WTF is up with this?


#3

I will happily surrender all my screen time authority to Netflix if it means my children don’t end up on YouTube. My son has ended up on those self-same kids channels with Spider-Man doing sweet-fuck-all, and it is legit weird.

At least Netflix follows established paradigms and bargains; they promise to provide a veneer of education in exchange for a straightforward 21 minutes of harmless stupor so I can Get Shit Done.

YouTube channels are straight up crack cocaine, though. You could lose a child for daaaaaays.


#4

When it first became obvious that someday web video was going to be a thing, I tried to imagine the various new forms of video that it would make possible. This was not one of the things that I ever would have imagined. It’s practically Lovecraftian in how insanity-inducing it all is.
It won’t be long before algorithms manage to produce keyword-capturing videos all by themselves. Then the shit’s going to get really weird.


#5

I’ve always complained about the filtering on YouTube and always been met with silence. My 8 year old watches, obviously, and the content he has access too concerns me greatly. Certain YouTubers who’s content is aimed at children (and gaming) will then release a video with the F word or visually offensive animations. One YouTuber made a video about summoning an evil spirit by chanting in the mirror - he had nightmares for weeks. Another popular YouTuber had a video on the homepage where the thumbnail was a crude cartoon of a woman shitting into a mans mouth. What the fuck does a child’s mind make of that?? For Christ’s sake just look at the content on the YouTube homepage before you login.

We don’t own an iPad and my kid doesn’t have access to a laptop so he has to watch on the family computer in the lounge. Still we can’t monitor him all the time.

Apart from us reporting videos on an individual basis there seems to be no way to solve this. And because neglectful parents just let their iPads raise their kids no-one seems to care.


#6

Decades ago I caught sight of Power Rangers playing on TV. It took me several minutes of watching a series of disconnected scenes and nonsensical dialogue before I realised it wasn’t a trailer, it was the show. This stuff has more of a plot than that Power Rangers show, but, heck, it has a more coherent plot than Batman vs Superman, but this is far odder; like outsider art.


#7

Somebody has probably already written a story about this, but there could be a SF/horror story about how videos like this are actually conduits for neural programming and are converting children into bots that use their unconscious brain power to mine Bitcoins or something for the video creators.


#8

Sorry, but why is that “obviously”? Granted, I’ve got to wait about 3 years to be there, but until now, we’ve managed to limit TV/stream consumption to about 30 minutes per week on average. Not counting Sandmännchen as a pre-bed ritual, though.

But it’s one episode of Paw Patrol or Robin Hood episode on the weekend and that’s it. If he forgets to ask for it, we don’t remind him, but allow a bit more during sick days. (At 40°C he’ll fall asleep anyway.)

Also sometimes educational shorts from the Maus.. Youtube only a couple of times, like when we need to illustrate how glas blowing or recycling works.

And about any given router can filter it.


#9

The fuck is this shit? It’s absolute junk.

Why aren’t they watching something worthwhile like Pingu or Octonauts?


#10

The obviously was tongue in cheek. Seems that all kids gravitate towards YouTube and I couldn’t tell you how it happened.

If you can avoid it for your kid then i’d recommend it. Better yet just block youtube.com


#11

What’s educational about Maus? I enjoy Maus, as does my son (and the rather trippy Sandmännhein), but I wouldn’t class either as educational.


#12

Umm… the shorts about how stuff works, the Sachgeschichten. Like Nuclear chain reaction? Or what happens in the body when you cut yourself and how it heals (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QSFXD42uHk).

Sandmännchen isn’t educational, of course, except that the stories usually have some kind of easily grasped moral principle, like sharing, no cheating, etc,


#13

Suddenly all that careful filtering and censorship that we raged against in our youth looks different. I’m learning that it’s hard to protect your kids from this stuff. Dailymotion is a great source for kids shows (in the rather grey copyright legality zone), but the playlists are horrible, quickly flipping from shows for toddlers to decidedly ‘adult’ sex and violence. But then again, TV is also tricky. The other night my partner was watching a chat show. Harmless, you might think. But one of the guests plays a cop in some show. Cue clips of him standing over victims having suffered violent deaths. Or the commercial break with ads for some battlefield game, complete with soldier shooting bullets and blood. My kid doesn’t always sleep after the watershed. He’s not watching the TV, but he’s in the room.

But then the stuff this article is about - that’s a whole new level of weird/unhappy/donotwant.

To my parents, who protected me from this stuff even when I objected (an incident where I got to watch James Galway playing the flute while my friends watched Jaws sticks in my mind), in a time when media was much more controlled - THANK YOU!


#14

Ah, okay, I thought you meant the short cartoons of Maus & friends, not the whole show. In that case, +++, it’s excellent & educational. In more ways than one - I think I currently learn more German via Kika than at my evening classes.


#15

New Aesthetics in the worst possible sense.


#16

Here’s an even more baffling example:


#17

The garbage kids watch these days. It ain’t like it was back in my day. Hey, get off the grass!

Can’t tell if this post is ironic or not.


#18

Nope. He sometimes uses the Maus app on on the iPad (which counts against “TV” time, too). There the segments are available on their own and I’m planning to supervise that the Sachgeschichten get watched. The small cartoons are usually of little interest to him, he rather just walks the mouse once around her virtual world. (The navigational metaphor for the app.)


#19

The creepiest thing about that was the narrator. Can we be sure he’s a real person?


#20

Heh. It helps that our TV reception broke down in 2007 and and 2009 and that we didn’t fix it the 2nd time it broke down. So we don’t watch a lot of TV anymore, even though we do have Amazon Prime and Netflix and some shows bought on iTunes, so our conscience with regards to limiting his intake is clear.

Thankfully, no commercials allowed during shows aimed at children over here. The stations funded by ads do show them between shows, but that’s what the off-Button is for, after all.