YouTube to block disturbing videos featuring popular children's characters


But some clearly out-of-bounds videos have slipped through the cracks - from a weird subgenre on YouTube using children's characters in freakish, violent or sexual situations.

The policy update is YouTube's second move this year to discourage the proliferation of disturbing videos featuring family-friendly characters.

The site has received sustained criticism for allowing people to upload videos that appear to show things that might be watched by children, including videos depicting popular characters like Peppa Pig or Elsa from the film Frozen, but in fact show intensely graphic things like pain and guns.

Videos flagged as inappropriate for kids will be slapped with an age-restriction warning on its main YouTube app.

YouTube has announced a vetting procedure meant to keep disturbing and dark videos aimed at children out of its YouTube Kids app. This new practice should be rolling out in the coming weeks.

However, it appears that YouTube has disabled 4K content playback via its app for some devices, for unknown reasons. If something slips through the net, it can again be flagged and reviewed by a specialist YouTube Kids team of moderators. Should that process confirm a video's inappropriate nature, the offending clip will be made unavailable to child users, will be stripped of monetization options, and will not show up on YouTube Kids.

Following revelations that YouTube is serving up to kids thousands of inappropriate and disturbing videos, the company said it will step up its efforts to prevent children from seeing such content. If the review finds the video is in violation of the new policy, it will be age restrictied, automatically blocking it from showing up in the Kids app.

YouTube is trying to stop children from being tricked into watching horrifying videos, it has said.

The YouTube Kids app is now available in 37 countries and has more than 11 million weekly active viewers, according to the Google-owned video platform.

YouTube Kids on Friday announced new measures for parents if they find kids watching inappropriate videos at home even by mistake. All age-gated content is also automatically exempt from advertising. Offensive videos will be restricted so they won't appear in the YouTube Kids app. Speaking to The Verge, YouTube said the change was in the pipeline before this controversy arose, and that it isn't a direct result of it.

In today's policy announcement, YouTube is acknowledging the problem, and promising to police it better. Given that YouTube Kids is often being used by children, it might be unlikely that numerous viewers will actually be in a place to do so. And, the company is willing to forgo additional ad revenue - and there is a lot of money flowing through this segment of the industry - if that's what it takes to ensure YouTube Kids feels like a safe experience for families.