YouTube Kids Comes Under Fire From Child Advocacy Groups For Inappropriate Content
Child advocacy groups are once again attacking Google's YouTube Kids mobile app for showing content that is not appropriate for children, and this time, they are adopting a more serious approach in airing their sentiments.
The Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) and the Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC) are joining forces in writing a letter to the Federal Trade Commission. In the letter, both groups stressed that the YouTube Kids mobile app is actually rife with content that is not only inappropriate for children, but also potentially unsafe too.
By conducting a review of the mobile app in the last month, the groups determined that YouTube Kids displayed content ranging from videos that have explicit sexual language and even humorous references to drug use and pedophilia.
In February earlier this year, Google launched YouTube Kids in order to provide children with easy and safe access to video content that is suitable for their ages. But as claimed by child advocacy groups, Google has failed in that regard.
This latest letter is actually the second sent by CDD and CCFC to the FTC. Back in April, these groups alleged that YouTube Kids's use of ads was trying to take advantage of children's vulnerable minds, and are in violation of media and advertising safeguards aimed at protecting children against potentially harmful video content.
This has not stopped Google from launching the YouTube Kids mobile app for both the Android and iOS platforms. The idea was to create a version of YouTube wherein parents can rest assured that the videos their children are watching, even without their supervision, are safe for kids.
But CDD and CCFC beg to differ. They specifically cited a video that showed a parody of the adult-themed film “Casino”, which features Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie. They also showed a recommendation featured built into YouTube Kids that displayed wine tasting videos.
To be fair to Google, it is not always easy screening everything that goes through YouTube Kids. Google has not revealed how they go about with the screening process, which does not exactly help its case.
The search giant did incorporate a feature on YouTube that allows users, especially parents, to flag videos with questionable content. But since most people hold Google to a higher standard (it is Google after all), a lot of users will surely get the feeling that the company should have known better or should have done more.