Dr. Free Hess, a mother and pediatrician from Gainesville, Florida, has recently discovered and reported content on the YouTube Kids app depicting suicide, schooling and violence against female characters.
The dozens of videos, the Hess flag, have since been deleted, but she told BuzzFeed News, she fears there are many more videos still on the platform that the kids are exposed to.
"I found about 10 [videos] very quickly and very easily, but simply stopped there because I wanted to get the blog out, not because there was no more," she said. Hess screened and shared the drawings, she found on her blog PediMom.com on Friday.
Among the videos she discovered is a cartoon inspired by Minecraft's graphics called "Monster School: SLENDERMAN HORROR GAME." In the game, a character finds their victim in school, behind a desk and shoots them. Sagittarius is seen after grin.
The animated series is hosted on an account called TellBite, which has over 1
(Note: This account and others are first created on YouTube, which only allows users aged 13 and older to write. YouTube Kids app claims to take content on YouTube and cure videos to find those child-friendly "for to make it safer and easier for children to explore the world through online video. ")
In another clip that was first sent to YouTube and created by the Toasty Qween account, a young female character is seen trying to kill with a knife before her father, whose death is shown earlier, interferes.
"Ends my pain" says her speech bubble in the clip. The whole video is set to the song "Do not Worry Child."
The original video on YouTube currently has over 1 million views.
Suicidal thoughts and trials are seen in other animated videos found on YouTube Kids, as one entitled "Doki! Doki! Rainclouds New End !!!" In this one, a sign tells a suicide attempt. "Why won't the world let me die?" The character says.
In the clip, another character is introduced and described as a person who arrived at the suicide scene "just in time" to try to talk the protagonist down.
"Why couldn't he just let me hang myself?" They respond to the appearance of the second character.
Hess said she found several other cartoons on the app that may not have been originally intended for children, but portrays toxic and dangerous relationship dynamics.
In fact, in her correspondence with BuzzFeed News she found another cartoon on the app "Smoke in Mirrors" by the user Rika Xox. In this video, a character "just encountered a girl in the chair," she said, while making screenshots of the scene.
Like the other videos mentioned above, she immediately reported and awaited YouTube to act and take
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, YouTube insists on "taking [s] feedback very seriously" and is working to "Safe Videos in YouTube Kids are Family Friendly."
"We appreciate people who draw problematic content to our attention and allow everyone to flag a video. Flaked videos are manually reviewed 24 hours a day, and videos that do not belong in the app are removed," says a spokesman.
The company added that while it is "constant improvements to our systems," it admits that "there is more work to do."
Last week, YouTube confirmed that it removed a video of a popular children's Splatoon-style cartoon. The removal was prompted when the parents discovered a troll had resumed the comic with a recorded clip of a former YouTube personality that encouraged children to cut.
Hess and other parents had aggressively reported this user and cartoon before it was removed. She does not believe that YouTube takes the matter seriously enough or does enough to censor content before children have access to it.
"I want them to recognize the dangers associated with this for our children [and] to take parents" seriously, "she said.
The national suicide prevention lifeline is 1-800-273 -8255 Other International Suicide Assistants can be found at befrienders.org.