YouTube Kids Has Videos With Suicide Instructions

First, YouTube inadvertently helped pedophiles find underage content. Now, the YouTube Kids app shows kids how to commit suicide (via Washington Post).

[Pedophile Ring Uncovered on YouTube]

YouTube Kids Suicide

One video was spotted by a mother while watched YouTube Kids cartoons with her son. In the middle of the video, the cartoon cut to a clip of a man miming cutting his wrist and saying: “Remember kids, sideways for attention, longways for results.”

YouTube kids logo

That video was taken down after the doctor reported it to YouTube. But more cartoons have been found with suicide instructions. Dr. Free Hess wrote about one and shared a clip of it on her blog at, although at the time of this writing it has been removed.

A spokeswoman from YouTube told the Post:

We rely on both user flagging and smart detection technology to flag this content for our reviewers. Every quarter we remove millions of videos and channels that violate our policies and we remove the majority of these videos before they have any views…

Andrea Faville, YouTube spokeswoman

But Nadine Kaslow, a former president of the American Psychological Association and professor at Emory University School of Medicine, told the Post that taking down the videos isn’t enough. “For children who have been exposed, they’ve been exposed. There needs to be messaging—this is why it’s not okay.”

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has several resources on their website, including What Parents Should Know about teen suicide as well as Responsible Reporting Guidelines, which outline recommendations and best practices for reporting on suicide.

[Television Shouldn’t Be Your Child’s Babysitter]

3 thoughts on “YouTube Kids Has Videos With Suicide Instructions

  • Andrew:

    This should be a lawsuit; the damage has been done to any kid who has been exposed. This will not be a simple fix.

    First, exposed kids need to be identified. Second, because this is one case where you do not want to misclassify exposed kids, and even vicariously expose them to this content if they have not seen it, you need to verify in some way that they have truly been exposed. Typically, this is done by an interview with a trained person who knows how to engage a child and get them to say what they’ve seen or experienced. This is not a job for a novice; there are people who know how to do this. Third, both they individually and then with their parents need to be counselled, that is, given therapy just like you would in a traumatic situation. Parents need to know what danger signs to look for over time, signs that would prompt appropriate actions from the parent first and foremost, and second, what signs would lead the parent to return the child for professional intervention. There will be no one solution for all kids; each one will have to be treated differently.

    As for YouTube, they don’t get a pass. Not only should they be held accountable and liable for all of the above intervention costs, but any follow on harm that arises therefrom to any party; they have to, under regulatory monitoring, come up with better protocols than those they currently have in place to protect children from adverse exposure. Sadly, and make no mistake, there are already persons looking to exploit this and other vulnerabilities to reach out and harm the vulnerable.

  • they have to do something, but damned if I know what it might be.
    The amount of material that’s uploaded every minute is so huge that they literally cannot review it all in person.

    1. They created a section supposedly just for kids. Reactive removal of this content is unacceptable.

      Here is the solution. YouTube Kids only has human reviewed content. If Google is not willing to take that step, fine then every day until they do.

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