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YouTube Kids Isn’t The Babysitter You’re Looking For

Boy Staring At A Phone
CC0 Creative Commons Attribution / by Andi Graf

Parents: If there was a cute, colorful, friendly robot that would babysit your kids for free, would you use it?

What if the robot was programmable by people around the world, so that anyone could teach it new games to play with your kids?

What if a company like Google offered this amazing robot, promising that an algorithm would make sure the user-submitted games were “family friendly?”

Then, what if you heard that some user-submitted games were sneaking through their filters, teaching the robot to play games that would scare your kids, encourage sexual practices or self-harm, or even put their lives at risk?

Well, if you’d still like use such a robot, you don’t need to wait. YouTube Kids is on your phone, ready to babysit your kids with Google-powered algorithms designed to protect your kids.

Don’t worry. Only a small fraction of kids might see their PAW Patrol friends become hypnotized by a demon-possessed doll and commit suicide by walking off a roof. Or see Mickey Mouse laying in a pool of blood after being hit by a car. Or Spider-Man peeing on Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. Or Nickelodeon characters visiting a strip club. Or a live-action “family playing roughly with a young girl, including a scene in which her forehead is shaved, causing her to wail and appear to bleed.”

Those are just a few of the videos that have slipped through Google’s algorithmic babysitter documented in a recent New York Times article.

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