It was this last February of 2019 that a mother by the name of Free Hess discovered a highly disturbing video on YouTube Kids that gave instructions for suicide. This was such a shock considering what the app is supposed to be made out to be. YouTube Kids is an app that was developed for kids to shield them from the bad things on the internet. This could become a huge relief to parents, as there are some pretty crazy things out there on the internet. Technology however, is not that easy to control or shield over for promised safety.
This mother, was playing for her son what she thought was a “simple, innocent cartoon” but it was much more than that. As said by her, a man known as Filthy Frank was in the video and was teaching kids how to slit their wrists and commit suicide.
However, he was edited into the video. Therefore, multiple media reports say that fans of Filthy Frank are know for editing him into videos, so this could simply be the case. This does not disturb from the actual content of the video however. It was a 9 second clip entered of the man saying “Remember kids: sideways for attention, longways for results. End it.” Parents not monitoring closely could very easily miss the message because it returns to what looks like a regular video. It was purposely inserted four minutes and forty-five seconds into the video for his appearance. This would be around the time that parents guard would be down, so it so clearly marks that it was directed to harm children.
When the mom saw this, she immediately reported the video. It however was not removed as soon as possible. Before removal, it cannot be determined how many kids viewed the video. Free however has a blog, PediMom where she went into more detail. As said by her, it is such a shame considering the increasing number of suicides, for “it is the SECOND leading cause of death in individuals between the ages of 10 and 34.” The amount of children committing some form of self-harm is growing rapidly. “Every year 157,000 young people between the ages of 10 and 24 present to Emergency Departments for self-inflicted injuries and/or suicide attempts.” The mother works as a pediatrician, and sees kids with these issues daily.
When interviewing someone else about their opinion on the subject, the secretary at Victory Charter High School, Mrs. Teriipaia gave me her thoughts and opinion on the matter. “Parents need to keep a better eye on their children. The internet is it’s own dangerous world and no matter the circumstances of the app or the controls set, it can never be promised what will pop up.” I do say I have to agree with her, as the internet is a dangerous place, no matter what you do. It is impossible to shield everything impure. There is just too much power that comes along with technology and the ability to post whatever you want, and to make whatever content you please. More advancements could only make it worse. More control could be lost. What this mom discovered is a perfect example of loss of control over technology.