DIYs, vlogs, and music videos, oh my! Since its founding in 2005, Youtube has been the forerunner in Internet video content. People around the world use YouTube to learn new skills, keep up with their favorite musicians, and entertain themselves on rainy days. However, to some people YouTube is not a free platform for entertainment; it’s their job. Online stars known as YouTubers make videos to acquire millions of views, likes, and subscribers. While most of them are only interested in clean, honest content for their viewers, some, knowing that you only get paid if they can attract people to their content have turned YouTube into a dark and disturbing place at times.
Warning: this article contains some mature themes.
Inappropriate videos on YouTube often have misleading titles and thumbnails. Some videos use characters and animation styles from children’s television shows to lure in younger viewers. An example of this would be an unofficial Peppa Pig video in which Peppa goes to the dentist.
While there, she is injected with a green serum and all of her teeth are pulled out. After backlash on this video and others, YouTube implemented an age-restricted video policy across the site. Children under 13 years of age can use a separate app called YouTube Kids, which blocks videos that are rated for 18+ users. On the main YouTube site, these videos are blocked if you are not signed in or if your account states that you are under 18 years old. YouTube also began to demonetize videos, or block ad revenue from content creators. Videos containing nudity, strong language, or disturbing content are demonetized; the goal of the initiative being to discourage YouTubers from making and posting these videos in the first place. Evidently, this has hardly discouraged them; YouTube is still riddled with inappropriate content that, while demonetized, are still posted and available to users everywhere.
One of the most controversial creators on YouTube is Logan Paul, who has almost 15.8 million subscribers. On his channel, he posts a daily vlog of his life, and has been doing so for over a year. On December 31st, 2017, Paul uploaded a video from his trip to Japan. During the trip, he and his friends ventured into Aokigahara, infamously known as Japan’s “suicide forest;” in which they found a corpse hanging from a tree (please note that I have not watched the video. I became aware of it mere hours before it was deleted. In those hours, I decided to refrain from watching in an attempt to not give the video more views, and also because I knew the content would thoroughly disturb me). Paul and his friends laughed about suicide as Paul filmed the body, which was simply blurred in the clip. The video, aptly titled “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest…” amassed over six million views before it was deleted. On January 2nd, Paul posted a written apology to Twitter, which you can read here. With many unsatisfied with that, he later issued a second apology in the form of a video, in which he claims he was attempting to raise suicide awareness in his fan base. He also denied the popular argument that he posted the footage simply for video views. YouTube has since indefinitely postponed his upcoming programs on the paid television platform YouTube Red. He has also been removed from Google Preferred, YouTube’s premium advertisement lineup. He will, however, still be able to earn money via standard monetization policies.
Sadly, these are only a few of the many examples of inappropriate and disturbing content on YouTube. One can only hope that we see people improve their ways based on what they see as wrong in the YouTube community and turn to God to see the right, honest way to make a living on YouTube.
“The Disturbing YouTube Videos That Are Tricking Children.” BBC News, BBC, 27 Mar. 2017, www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-39381889.
Hern, Alex. “YouTube to Clamp down on Disturbing Kids’ Videos Such as Dark Peppa Pig.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 10 Nov. 2017, www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/10/youtube-disturbing-kids-videos-dark-peppa-pig-children.
Kageyama, Yuri. “Logan Paul Apologizes Again For Suicide Forest Video.” Time, Time, 3 Jan. 2018, time.com/5085509/logan-paul-suicide-forest-video-apology/.
Roberts, Molly. “Opinion | Logan Paul’s Video of a Dead Body Fits Right In.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 2 Jan. 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2018/01/02/logan-paul-isnt-the-only-one-who-should-put-the-cameras-down/?utm_term=.b1a7c2e390d2
All images are from Google unless otherwise noted.