YouTube plays host to what is the one of the world’s biggest library of videos on the internet. Whatever your interests may be, you can find videos related to it on YouTube with a simple search. However, as is the case with every platform, YouTube does have certain restrictions around the content that can be uploaded to the website, and sexual content is not allowed on YouTube.
It’s no secret that there are at least slightly sexual videos on YouTube, even if they might not be called outright pornography, but a new, more worrying trend is emerging on the website now.
Some Hindi channels on YouTube are posting videos that are highly sexual in nature, and disguising them as videos aimed at kids, which is even worse. These channels post videos with thumbnails with sexually explicit text written on them in Hindi, but the title of the videos are kept kid-friendly, such as “How to draw an elephant”. The actual content of the video itself is also kept kid-friendly, but the audio is downright horrifying.
It’s noteworthy that YouTube, in order to comply with COPPA regulations, asks channels to specify if a video is kid-friendly or not. That’s a restriction these channels seem to be trying to get around by making the videos seem kid-friendly.
The problem is, any child searching YouTube for a simple how-to video can accidentally come across this content on the website and be exposed to this content. I tried a search for “How to draw” on YouTube in incognito mode, and this result (NSFW) pops up in the first page itself (the text in the thumbnail has been blurred out by me).
Clicking on this video shows up what looks like a regular video about drawing an elephant, but the accompanying audio is highly sexual in nature. What’s more, the side-bar starts recommending even more videos with similar sexually explicit thumbnails and audio.
We’ve reported these channels to YouTube, but there are simply a lot of these videos floating around on the website right now. If you’re a parent, I’d recommend you set up YouTube Kids for your child to access YouTube videos without worrying about them being exposed to content such as this. I tried searching for similar videos on YouTube Kids, but couldn’t find any of these videos pop-up there, so it does seem like a safer place for kids to explore YouTube videos. Still, it would be best to keep an eye on what your kids are watching online.
h/t: Abhas Tandon (Twitter)