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Parents Find Disturbing Message on YouTube Kids Videos

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(WOAY) – Parents were horrified when they discovered instructions to commit suicide hidden in videos their kids watched every day.

YouTube Kids is supposed to be filled with parent approved content with parent controls available. The family friendly app was meant to create a safe experience for kids.

In some videos featuring children’s TV shows, a man interrupts for nine seconds, demonstrating how to cut your wrists. The clip happened so fast, it was easy for parents to miss.

Counselor Hamlet Smith said parents should be involved in their child’s entertainment to avoid these problems.

“There are people on the internet that don’t have the best intentions for our children,” said counselor Hamlet Smith. “[We also need to] prevent those things from happening [and] if those things happen, we need to have an honest conversation with our children about our own personal values.”

Other videos that have parents concerned turn characters like Peppa Pig into scarier and sometimes gory versions. The good news is that the videos aren’t easy to find. The bad news: they’re hard to spot when you do.

The question many parents are left asking is what to do when if they’re worried about what their children have been watching.

“‘What did you watch on YouTube?’ That’s [as important of a] conversation starter as how was school today,” said Smith. “We’ve got to be interested in not just school, but our children’s online activity.”



Kassie Simmons

Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.


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