If you’re allowing your child to select their own content on YouTube, or running a quick search and handing them the iPad so they can watch the results, you’re unintentionally putting them in harm’s way.
There’s a huge subculture devoted to taking beloved kids’ TV shows and movies, and transforming them into memes. At first glance, these memes may be mistaken for the originals by kids and parents, but their content is often sinister and distressing.
Peppa Pig is a particular target for these meme creators. A quick search on YouTube for “Peppa Pig” will bring up legitimate Peppa Pig videos, as well as these spoof Peppa clips. While some of them are funny others are for twisted souls or meme-loving adults only and will definitely distress young viewers.
It’s clear that while many of these clips are just created for laughs and shared with other meme loving teens and adults, others are actually uploaded in the hope that kids stumble across them and view content that will distress.
Unfortunately YouTube’s recommended related video sidebar makes stumbling across these clips a fairly likely prospect for YouTube loving Peppa Pig fans.
Not safe for kids
The worst of these clips feature violence, abuse and sexual content. One parody video features Peppa making a horribly painful trip to the dentist. Another is full of distressing rape-themed language. One clip on the easily searched *NEW* 2017 Official Peppa Pig Full Episodes‘ username features a terrified Peppa being chased by zombies.
While this is an obviously horrible development, it’s a sage reminder that YouTube is simply chock-full of content that will confuse – and possibly traumatise – little people.
The Telegraph reports that Peppa Pig is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to these easily accessed parody videos.
“There are hundreds of similar videos which show violent or sexual content with characters made to look like Elsa from Disney movie Frozen, Minions from the Minions franchise, Doc McStuffins, Thomas the Tank Engine and more,” The Telegraph says.
Only ONE of these related video results showing alongside a Peppa video is legitimate – the rest are memes featuring swearing, violence and other non-kid-friendly themes. Source: YouTube
Click away, NOW
The moral of this story is that you should report upsetting content that features your child’s favourite characters and NEVER give your child free reign on YouTube. YouTube is not a children’s platform and your child can easily stumble across the worst kind of content via YouTube’s recommendation features or a seemingly innocent search.
Some things can’t be unseen.
The Google-owned YouTube does have a kid safe version of their site, available via the YouTube Kids app.
Edited to add: These clips are available on the YouTube Kids app too, unfortunately.
Source: YouTube Kids app
Or just use trusted broadcasters like the ABC and bypass the platform altogether until they sort this out. They’re currently embroiled in a battle with advertisers over similarly offensive content, so this may be a great opportunity to sidestep the profit-over-ethics giant, until they shape up?
We’ve uploaded some clips below so you can see just how Not Safe For Kids these clips are. It’s a shame to add to their view count, but it’s important to be educated on just how upsetting this content could be for your kiddos. Try searching Peppa Pig on YouTube and you’ll see just how easy these are to access.
CONTENT WARNING: These videos are NOT for children! Don’t watch them near your kids!