There is a disturbing trend that appears to be targeting children on YouTube and that trend is gaining steam. The general thrust is that there are people out there making videos featuring popular children’s characters like Frozen‘s Elsa and Marvel‘s Spiderman, with channel and video names that would appeal to children, such as Kids Funville Toys & Games or TOONS TV and featuring content and topics that are completely innapropriate for children such as, but not limited to, injections, gore, bdsm, scat, urination, canibalism, dismemberment etc etc etc…
These videos often recieve hundreds of thousands or even up to tens of millions of views, although it’s hard to say how many of those views are legit and how many are the result of view botting. This trend has already gained mainstream media attention, with articles being written in both the BBC and The Guardian, not to mention the weaponized autists over at reddit and 4chan.
It is also worth noting that not all of these channels feature animations. Some use real actors and real children. Posted here is a video with over 10 million views, featuring a real child receiving an injection in her rear. I’m not usually the content warning type, but consider yourself warned, what is seen cannot be unseen.
While these videos are clearly innapropriate for children, and also clearly being targeted at and, presumably, watched by children, YouTube finds itself in the awkward position of how to deal with this trend as the videos do not technically violate the terms of services, even though most sane people would find them deeply disturbing.
Currently they are keeping these channels in restricted mode, which would prevent children from seeing them by default when not logged in, but if you have young children that use the website it would behoove you to check on their usage and, if they have accounts, ensure that restricted more is enabled.
Be warned, however, that new channels featuring this type of content are popping up constantly. Consider this the new “YouTube Goldrush”, meaning you can’t count on them always being identified properly by the watchers at the gate, so to speak.
So what is this? Who is doing it? And why? There are many theories, from the more obvious theory these dark and absurd videos are very popular, thus making them a purely capitalistic venture, to the very dark notion of child grooming or some form of bizarre psychological warfare on our youth.
As someone that is well versed in some of the more twisted aspects of internet culture, my first thought was perhaps we are simply witnissing the evolution of deviant art, from crude drawings to crude videos, but I have to admit, the deeper you look at this the harder it is to brush this off as a twisted fetish between consenting adults. No, it seems that there is something darker here, something most of us would probably not think about at all.