The news was revealed in a study into the accessibility of inappropriate and adult content to children on YouTube in preparation for Safer Internet Day.
Researchers found that visible “suggested” videos set to the side of children’s content such as episodes of Peppa Pig, Rastamouse and Dora the Explorer included music videos displaying violence and nudity, post-watershed programmes and car crash compilations.
“It's worrying to see just how simple it is for children to access videos of an adult nature on YouTube,” said David Emm, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. “With younger generations becoming more IT literate and parents increasingly turning to mobile devices, online games and apps as a means of entertaining their kids, these results highlight the importance of taking steps to protect them online.
“Safer Internet Day is all about educating and promoting safer, more responsible behaviour for young people, but adults must take responsibility too. Having parental controls in place is vital and can be highly effective in combatting objectionable material. YouTube's Safety Mode feature aims to help parents screen out unsuitable content, but it can't provide 100% protection.”
Given the intuitive design of websites such as YouTube, intended to make content as accessible as possible, increasingly Internet-active children are more at risk of stumbling across inappropriate content than ever before. As such measures must be taken to ensure the proper protection of younger audiences.
Emm advises parents to follow three simple rules to promote online security at home: supervision of children’s Internet use, implementation of parental controls and encouraging openness at home.