NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — A mom is speaking out after she says she found multiple videos on YouTube Kids that revealed hidden suicide instructions.
In a blog, Pediatrician Free Hess recalls how another mom told her last July that both their sons were watching a cartoon on YouTube Kids and was shocked at what was seen. Right in the middle of the video, a man in sunglasses popped up and showed kids how to slit their wrists.
Hess immediately took action and called on groups to rally and have YouTube Kids take the video down. Hess claimed in took about a week for the video to get pulled.
But, according to Hess, she saw the video again in February - after it was flagged by several parents. Hess clams this time it took YouTube Kids a couple of days to pull it.
These videos led Hess to do some exploring of her own. While searching through the YouTube Kids site, Hess said she found other videos glorifying suicide and other videos about sexual exploitation and abuse and a even school shooting.
“It makes me angry and sad and frustrated,” Hess told CNN. “I’m a pediatrician, and I’m seeing more and more kids coming in with self harm and suicide attempts. I don’t doubt that social media and things such as this is contributing.”
CNN published a statement from YouTube Kids which reads:
"We appreciate people drawing problematic content to our attention, and make it possible for anyone to flag a video," the statement said. "Flagged videos are manually reviewed 24/7 and any videos that don't belong in the app are removed.
"We've also been investing in new controls for parents including the ability to hand pick videos and channels in the app. We are making constant improvements to our systems and recognize there's more work to do."
Since flagging the first video, Hess does say that YouTube Kids has been faster about pulling videos from its site.
However, Hess is still calling on other parents to step up and make sure they're aware of what their kids are watching online. Hess says by the time YouTube Kids pulls the video down, it may have been too late and kids may have already seen the content.