Self-harm clips hidden in kids' cartoons

The You Tube app on an iPad

The You Tube app on an iPad

This is a serious problem and kids being exposed to such vile content raises concerns and questions over YouTube's role in identifying and removing such content. YouTube is embroiled in a long battle with problematic content on its video-sharing platform, ranging from removing hateful and violent content, child sexual exploitation and more, but videos encouraging suicide among kids crosses a line.

It is unclear how or why the clips depicting suicide methods were embedded in children's cartoons.

Tips for committing suicide are appearing in children's cartoons on YouTube and the YouTube Kids app.

She said it's important for parents to educate themselves and be vigilant in monitoring what their children watch. In a subsequent blog post, pediatrician Free Hess, who runs pedimom, reported another cartoon-this time on YouTube-with the clip spliced in at four minutes and forty-four seconds.

In a statement to the network, a YouTube spokesperson explained that the company relies "on both user flagging and smart detection technology" to find inappropriate content.

A mother's disturbing discovery on YouTube Kids has her issuing a warning to parents.

"I had to stop, but I could have kept going", Hess told CBS News. "It's changing the way they're growing, and it's changing the way they're developing".

According to the Washington Post, Andrea Faville, a spokesperson for YouTube, said that the company is working to make sure that its platform is "not used to encourage risky behavior and we have strict policies that prohibit videos which promote self-harm".

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YouTube has long struggled with how to keep the platform free from such material - removing hateful and violent videos, banning unsafe pranks and cracking down on child sexual exploitation.

Kaslow, who teaches at Emory University's school of medicine, said that some children may ignore the grim video content but that others, particularly those who are more vulnerable, may be drawn to it. Kids are young to understand the consequences and it would be too late before parents realise it.

The Canada Safety Council provides advice for how children can stay safe online, suggesting that they talk to their parents before giving out any personal information and alert an adult if anything they see makes them feel uncomfortable.

In a tweet, the school said: "We are aware that some nasty challenges (Momo challenge) are hacking into children's programmes". Hess said it took YouTube Kids a week to pull it down.

Chelcie Jade Creasey said: "This is disgusting but it is actually happening, I've had to ban the boys from YouTube". Exposing their curious nature to such videos can end up badly as they can trigger bad memories, nightmares or even attempt at mimicking suicide attempts shown in the videos. "There needs to be messaging-this is why it's not okay".

The children are then encouraged to self-harm before the ultimate post tells them to take their own lives.

If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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