I’ve warned many times on this site of the dangers of letting your kids watch videos on YouTube (the YouTube Kids app is a much safer alternative), but now there’s new reason to be wary. It seems there are now YouTube channels and videos that LOOK safe for kids, but aren’t. They’re mimicking popular kids’ cartoons like Peppa Pig, Mickey Mouse, and Doc McStuffins. In a recent article on the website The Outline, mom Laura June recounts how her young daughter was watching “Peppa Pig”—or so she thought—when she realized something was very wrong.
“Several weeks ago, within a few seconds of my daughter pressing play on a video that sounded unlike any Peppa Pig I had ever heard, I went over and pulled the iPad away from her. “It’s Peppa! I love dis video!” she whined as I looked at it. It was obvious that whatever video she’d stumbled on, it definitely wasn’t the Peppa we knew. After hours of hearing the show’s bubbly British cast, you can spot it a mile — or a metre — away. And what I was hearing was… some off-brand Peppa.”
After taking the iPad from her daughter, she did some investigating and deemed that the video, called “#Peppa #Pig #Dentist #Kids #Animation #Fantasy,” was, in her words, “completely horrifying,” and “the stuff of nightmares.”
Further investigation led June to find a knock-off Doc McStuffins, in which the friendly vet is a zombie and “people break legs. Bones get exposed. It’s terrifying. One video opens with a man injecting a pumpkin with a hypodermic needle, which somehow results in Doc and her buddies becoming zombies. There’s also a fiery car chase.”
It is disheartening to me, but not at all surprising, that there are people out there who would seek to abuse our little ones through turning their favorite cartoons into horror shows. It’s just one more reason to be VIGILANT with your kids use of the internet. Even YouTube kids doesn’t filter out ALL the junk, but at least it TRIES. For my part, though, if my kids are going to watch cartoons on an app, they’ll do it through Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon—a much safer alternative.
Be vigilant, parents. If our kids find something of this nature because we’ve given them too much freedom on YouTube, it’s honestly on US.