Bye-Bye YouTube Kids – How to Explain to Your Kids Why They Can’t Watch


If you haven’t heard by now, YouTube Kids has been hacked. Inappropriate videos using beloved children’s characters slitting their wrists and doing other disturbing things are uploaded under the guise of children’s programming. As parents, we see the friendly cartoon characters, hear the familiar music and walk away, not realizing that the content of the videos is highly inappropriate. 

I admit that I haven’t observed any of these videos myself, and I’m usually not quick to jump on bandwagons of any kind until I’ve learned more about what’s going on, but the news reports that I read yesterday were disturbing enough to warrant deleting YouTube Kids from my children’s iPads. (If this all turns out to be a hoax, I can always add it back.) 

This morning I had to explain to my four- and five-year-olds why they could no longer watch YouTube Kids. My husband and I decided we would keep the explanation basic but not sugar coat it, either. We can’t watch over them every minute of every day, so we do need to start building their awareness of how to keep themselves safe. 

Here’s what I told them:

I had to delete YouTube Kids from your iPads because it wasn’t safe for you to watch anymore. Some people were adding videos that looked like they were okay, but actually had scary stuff in them that you shouldn’t be seeing. You didn’t do anything wrong, and this isn’t punishment for anything you did. It’s Daddy and my job to keep you safe, and since we can’t watch YouTube with you all the time, we needed to take it away. We will still find times when we can watch it together on one of our phones. 

They were bummed. YouTube Kids is their respite from busy days of school and playing, and they actually do watch educational stuff on there, but they also didn’t whine or get upset about the news. I think being honest about why we deleted it, rather than playing dumb to why it was missing or making up a different reason helped. Kids are smart and they deserve our respect and to know they can trust us. 

If you let your children watch YouTube Kids, have you now deleted it? How’d it go? 



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