The Momo Challenge, is now hacking into children’s programmes on video sharing platform YouTube, reports NDTV. As if being a millennial parent amidst growing access to the internet and social media wasn’t tough enough, now one has to worry about exposure of one’s child to a creepy girl, who goads the viewer to self harm or tells them how to commit suicide. But the momo challenge girl isn’t the only distressing thing creeping into the kids’ videos on YouTube. Recently an alarmed parent informed how she came across a clip of a man embedded in a kids’ video, giving tips to children on how to slit their wrists. These are videos catered to very young children. The distress such information can cause to children is disheartening especially to a parent.

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • Parents are coming across disturbing Momo challenge clips embedded in children’s programming on YouTube.
  • These videos are telling little children ways to slit their wrists.
  • Vigilance seems to be the best option to keep your child safe in this case.

No one in their right mind would think it is fun to tell little children ways to slit their wrists.

Who in their right mind would hide a distressing clip of the Momo challenge girl in between a harmless or even joyful video for kids? This is a slick trick, because YouTube has been cracking down on disturbing videos which masquerade its platform in the guise of children’s content. So now these miscreants have gone a step ahead to embed clips in between harmless content. Imagine the sheer shock of switching from watching Peppa Pig one second and a disturbing clip that will give your kid a nightmare the next.

My first reaction, when I came across this alarming news, was to question what the video streaming platform was doing to counter this new menace. As a parent, am I make sure to monitor what my child watches, but YouTube needs to come up with a better way to bar such disturbing videos. Another is to stick to authentic channels for original content. Make sure to read the reviews or check likes and dislikes for whatever video your kid wants to watch.

Even a slip up of a few seconds could scar your child for life.

The problem here though is that even a slip up of a few seconds could scar your child for life. And if that is what worries you the most, then perhaps it is better to get subscriptions of online media-services providers, which showcase almost all popular cartoon shows for kids. At least then you do not have to spend every second dreading what may pop up on the screen.

Many would argue that the best solution would be to wean your kids off video sharing platforms altogether. Why not encourage children to read books and play with toys instead? Well, firstly that is easier said than done. And secondly, it seems a bit unfair to keep your child off kiddie videos altogether. Sure we should encourage them to read and play more. But with digital entertainment available at hand’s length all the time and everywhere, is it possible to keep the kids completely away?

YouTube needs to crack down more severely on these clips and it needs to hone its algorithms to filter out such clips.

However, disturbing content being peddled to kids is something which cannot be just dealt with protective measures. YouTube needs to crack down more severely on these clips and it needs to hone its algorithms to prevent such clips, even when embedded deep in harmless videos, from being uploaded in the first place. I agree that the beauty of YouTube is that anyone can share a clip on it without much hassle. It helps in generation of individual and independent content, outside of media factories. But this independence cannot be coming at the cost of children’s well-being. So while parents may have an option of either switching off laptops or moving viewership to other platforms, the said portal has no other option than to cure itself of this ailment.

Picture Credit : hindustantimes.com

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own.

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