Young children are being exposed to shocking content when they try to watch some of their favourite cartoons online, it has been revealed. YouTube channels claiming to show popular children's shows including Peppa Pig and Thomas the Tank Engine have been discovered to be filled with disturbing scenes, including an episode where Peppa Pig has her teeth pulled out to the sounds of children screaming and crying.
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Many of the channels appear child friendly, with names such as Smile Kids TV and Toys 4 Fun!, but the content is clearly unsuitable for youngsters upon viewing. So how can you protect your little ones' safety online? We've rounded up some of the best ways to prevent children from being exposed to these alarming videos…
Report unsuitable videos:
One of the most crucial things to do if you or your child do discover any unsuitable content is report the videos to YouTube. Simply click on the 'More' button beneath the video and then 'Report'. YouTube say videos should be removed within 24 hours of being flagged.
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Download the YouTube Kids' app:
If you're worried that your children may be exposed to these unsuitable videos while playing on a smartphone, PC or iPhone, try downloading YouTube's Kids' app, which only shows appropriate cartoons and blocks adult content. Although the occasional video may still slip through, it will be much easier to monitor what children are watching. You can also set up a timer via the app to control how much time your little ones are spending watching videos online.
Add a safety mode to your YouTube account:
Should you not wish to download the Kids' app, you can add safety restrictions to your YouTube account, which will filter what your children are able to see while searching for their favourite cartoons. Simply sign in to your YouTube account and click the 'Restricted Mode' drop down menu. Select 'On', then click save to ensure all restricted clips are blocked from view.
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Only watch content on official TV apps:
Alternatively, you may wish to try apps such as BBC iPlayer Kids and Amazon Prime Video, Sky Kids, Netflix or DisneyLife should you have subscriptions. This offers peace of mind that your children are only watching the official cartoons and won't have access to any spoofs or adult content.
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