A mother from Florida uncovered directions on how to commit suicide deeply embedded in a video on YouTube Kids, a supposedly child-friendly version of YouTube.
The discovery happened last summer, and the said video was since taken down. However, more videos containing suicide how-tos are resurfacing, this time in YouTube's main app.
Inappropriate Content On YouTube Kids
Free Hess, a mother and pediatrician from Florida, took notice of the inappropriate content hidden in a cartoon after another mother alerted her that such video on YouTube Kids exists.
Hess immediately reported the video and warned other parents as well through her parenting blog, PediMom. After a week, YouTube Kids took the video down.
To her surprise, Hess recently encountered another video containing suicide tips, this time on the YouTube app.
According to Hess, a fan-made video of the video game Splatoon contained the same clip from the previous video she reported. A spliced-in clip showing internet personality Filthy Frank pops out a couple of minutes into the said video, where he appears to demonstrate how to cut wrists.
"Remember, kids, sideways for attention, longways for results," he says in the clip.
Hess and other concerned users flagged the said video, but YouTube took a couple of days before it was removed from the platform.
Simply taking the video down doesn't exactly mean protecting kids. Former president of the American Psychological Association Nadine Kaslow said that monitoring children and removing harmful content is not enough.
"For children who have been exposed, they've been exposed. There needs to be messaging — this is why it's not okay," Kaslow said (via The Post).
Kaslow said that children who saw the video containing suicide tips could experience nightmares or trigger bad memories. Worst, it could even encourage children to try it out of curiosity.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists suicide as the third leading cause of death in people aged 10 to 24. Every year, 4,600 lives are lost due to suicide, and about 157,000 young people in the United States are treated for self-inflicted injuries annually.