Parents issued chilling warning after trolls upload cartoon to YouTube with hidden message telling kids to kill themselves

One horrified mum, who's son watched the vile video, fumed: “This video was intentionally planted on YouTube Kids to harm our children.


“He waited until parents’ guards were down.

"How can anyone do this?”

It is not known who uploaded the sick clips – with YouTube sometimes leaving them up for days until they are taken down.

The video, cut with an episode of popular kids cartoon Splatoon, features a clip from YouTube prankster Filthy Frank.

This video was intentionally planted on YouTube Kids to harm our children. How can anyone do this?

He appears on screen smirking and wearing sunglasses before describing how kids can harm themselves before signing off with "end it".

Filthy Frank, who is followed by more than 6 million subscribers, racks up millions of views with "anti-PC, anti-social and anti-couth" videos.

Some feature him bathing in a bath of noodles and eating raw squid but one was of him pretending to be a One Direction fan committing suicide.

He was unavailable for comment when approached by The Sun Online – but there is no suggestion he played any role in trolls editing the cartoon.

HOLD PLATFORMS RESPONSIBLE

Dr Free N. Hees, a paediatrician in the US, reported the video to YouTube and got the platform to take it down.

She believes these videos could lead to a rise in child suicide.

The Dr, who also blogs on child cyber safety under the PediMom, said: "Exposure to videos, photos and other self-harm and suicidal promoting content is a huge problem that our children are facing today.

"We need to fight to have the developers of social media platforms held responsible when they do not assure that age restrictions are followed."

FAILING BRITAIN'S KIDS

NSPCC cyber safety experts were appalled when The Sun Online brought the videos to their attention and slammed YouTube and Google for failing Britain’s children.

A spokesman for the charity said: “The very fact that these videos are still there, and can be watched, shows that Google and YouTube are not doing enough to safeguard kids.

The very fact that these videos are still there, and can be watched, shows that Google and YouTube are not doing enough to safeguard kids.

“They’re taking them down when they’re eventually alerted – but it shouldn’t have to be up to organisations like The Sun Online to tell them to take these videos down.”

He added: "We don’t know yet what impact these videos will have on kids – but what we do know is that they will be highly distressing for any young child that sees them.

The video in question has now been removed from YouTube Kids – a channel the platform markets as a safe place for youngsters online.

A blurb on the site says: “We created YouTube Kids to make it safer and simpler for children to explore the world through online video – from their favourite shows and music to learning how to build a model volcano (or make slime), and everything in between.

FOR KIDS: How to say no

1) Say NO with confidence:
Be assertive. It’s your choice and you don’t have to do something which makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

2) Try not to judge them:
By respecting their choices, they should respect yours.

3) Spend time with friends who can say ‘no’:
It takes confidence and courage to say no to your friends. Spend time with other friends who also aren’t taking part.

4) Suggest something else to do:
If you don’t feel comfortable doing what your friends are doing, suggest something else to do.

Any child worried about peer pressure or online worries can contact Childline on 0800 1111.

“There's also a whole suite of parental controls, so you can tailor the experience to your family's needs.”

But this is not the first time sick content has been spliced with children’s cartoons on Youtube.

In 2017, Peppa Pig cartoons were edited to show distressing scenes – with Peppa getting her teeth pulled out, characters having sex and others being violently attacked.

SUICIDE CRAZE

The recent suicide videos were revealed after an investigation by The Sun Online showed kids as young as eight are being targeted by predators and bombarded with sexually explicit messages on a new social media app.

TikTok, which lets users create and share short videos with music and camera effects, has been branded a "magnet for paedophiles" by concerned campaigners and parents.

Meanwhile a mum has spoken out after her seven-year-old son told other kids they would be "killed in their beds" while playing the deadly "Momo" challenge.

The sick suicide game has swept the web and is already believed to have caused the tragic deaths of two teenagers in Colombia.

Momo – the killer suicide game

Momo is a disturbing 'suicide' game that has spread through social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook.

The sick game Momo begins with an avatar – a haunting image of a woman with bulging eyes and long hair.

She sends violent images victims and then threatens the player if they refuse to follow the game's orders.

A 12-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy are said to have killed themselves after playing the Momo game on WhatsApp in Colombia last year.

The Momo image itself was originally a sculpture created by a Japanese special effects company called Link Factory and displayed in a Tokyo fetish museum in 2016.

The NSPCC has now ordered YouTube to improve its technology before easily-influenced youngsters start harming themselves – and others.

Tony Stower, head of child safety online for the NSPCC, said: “We’re really concerned because these videos are being specifically targeted towards children with very dark content.

“What worries us is that the YouTube algorithm isn’t clever enough for the site to notice that these videos are not acceptable for kids.

“As a result they are not putting them behind an appropriate age gate.

“But when children are going on YouTube Kids they and their parents should be entitled to a high degree of protection.”

He added: “We don’t know yet what impact these videos will have on kids – but what we do know is that they will be highly distressing for any young child that sees them.

FOR PARENTS: How to talk about peer pressure

1) Create the right situation:

Make sure you both have time to talk, the atmosphere is relaxed, and remember that this is a conversation, not an interrogation.

2) Listen:
Avoid solely talking at them. Listen to their concerns and their experiences.

3) Acknowledge their worries:
Dismissing their feelings will only shut down the conversation and make them reluctant to talk about what’s bothering them.

4) Help them practise ways of saying no:
Rehearsing with them ways to stand up to peer pressure and coming up with alternatives for them will build their confidence.

5) Keep the conversation going:
Let them know that they can always come to you if they have more worries, and take an interest in how they get on saying “no”.

Any adult who wants advice on how to talk to their child about peer pressure can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000.

“Google and YouTube have reached out to us and we are constantly pushing them to do better – but at the moment their processes aren’t good enough.

“We are pushing the government to introduce a duty of care on sites like YouTube and Facebook – They need to prioritise child protection online.

“But with products like YouTube kids all of that safeguarding is an after-thought.

“Before they start marketing they need to make sure their sites are safe for children.”

A YouTube spokesperson claimed many of its offensive videos are taken down before they are viewed.

They said: "We work hard to ensure YouTube is not used to encourage dangerous behaviour and we have strict policies that prohibit videos which promote self-harm.
"Every quarter we remove millions of videos and channels that violate our policies and we remove the majority of these videos before they have any views."

 


If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123, or visit Mind’s website.



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