Mom says YouTube video gave suicide instructions for kids

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Disturbing children’s videos interrupted with instructions on suicide have a Florida mom fighting to get all of those controversial videos taken down.                

Ocala mom and pediatrician Dr. Free Hess writes on her blog,, about a video she says give suicide instructions to children. She found the video earlier this February on the YouTube Kids app, recorded it, and posted the video to her blog.

YouTube has been under scrutiny for over a year for how it monitors content. Licensed child psychologist Nikel Rogers-Wood, Ph.D., of Rice Psychology in Tampa, said the videos prove parents have to be aware.

“So anything that's not curated by the parent, we cannot just assume they are not going to be viewing things that are 100 percent safe,” said Rogers-Wood.

Rogers-Wood said children might come to parents with questions.

“So, if it's a clip about self-harm that they were never intended to see but ended up viewing it, you kind of might talk to them about, sometimes, when people are upset, they might try to harm themselves. But that's not a healthy way to cope with difficult emotions,” Rogers-Wood said.

Psychologists suggest talking openly but in an age-appropriate way. And when children watch any content, sit with them or have a conversation with them about it later.

“What did you see that was really interesting or fun or funny? Anything that you saw that was concerning or worries you or you have questions about it?” said Rogers-Wood about parents talking with their children.

YouTube did take down that self-harm video, but the blog warns about other edited children’s videos. It is just one of the issues YouTube says it is addressing. The video site told media outlets this month it banned 400 accounts for violating guidelines, and a YouTube spokesperson told the Washington Post it also relies on users to flag the content.