YouTube Kids Videos Give Suicide Tips

John Lister's picture

Some videos on YouTube's Kids app contain instructions on how to commit suicide. It casts serious doubt on YouTube's claims to "curate" the content available to children.

YouTube Kids is a dedicated app for mobile devices and smart televisions. The content it hosts is also available at a dedicated website. YouTube describes the service as being a "fun, family-friendly place for children and families."

The app is designed to be easy to use, even for young children. Although parents can create individual accounts for each child which learn their viewing tastes and make appropriate suggestions of what to watch next, the personal data collected this way isn't shared with third parties.

Explicit Suicide Instructions Provided

Historically, the development of YouTube Kids has been problematic.

In its early days, several videos appeared which dealt with subjects inappropriate for children, leading to changes to the filtering process. Later, several videos appeared which seemed to involve popular children's TV characters, but turned out to include explicit adult content.

Now a parent has spotted an even more sinister problem. One video of a kids cartoon was as described for the first five minutes of viewing, but then also contained a video clip of a man that provided explicit directions on how to commit suicide effectively using a specific method. Several other videos have been discovered to contain the same clip. (Source:

While the video has clearly been edited, the man directly addressed "kids" before giving the instruction, suggesting he was aware of how it might be used.

Moderation Insufficient

It seems that the culprits buried the clip several minutes into the the videos to take advantage of moderators not watching the entire content, but only checking the beginning or even looking at selection of automated 'thumbnail' images.

YouTube responded with a statement that: "We work to make the videos in YouTube Kids family-friendly and take feedback very seriously. We appreciate people drawing problematic content to our attention, and make it possible for anyone to flag a video. Flagged videos are manually reviewed 24/7 and any videos that don't belong in the app are removed. We've also been investing in new controls for parents including the ability to hand pick videos and channels in the app. We are making constant improvements to our systems and recognize there's more work to do." (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Should the people responsible face any criminal charges? Is YouTube wrong to imply the Kids service is "curated" when it clearly isn't fully vetting content? Can a site like YouTube ever be completely safe for children?

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punkydog9's picture

This is terrorism, and the scumbags should be treated as such. No free speech argument here.