The internet is a great place to find content of all sorts. Videos of cats doing crazy stunts, memes, thought provoking lifestyle messages. But this rich availability means ease of access to a wide variety of inappropriate content.
Inappropriate content means any material that is disturbing, improper, and just wrong. It can be images of real or simulated violence or of a sexually explicit nature. Recently there have been concerns raised around disturbing YouTube videos. These strongly resemble videos of popular cartoons but contain disturbing and inappropriate content not suitable for children. In some cases the videos are parodies, some are clear cases of copyright infringement where unauthorised use is made of authentic cartoons or characters, most are simply not aimed at an audience of children.
So what is the best way to deal with cases that you discover?
Google and social media sites offer reporting tools highlighting inappropriate content and copyright or trademark infringement cases.
A copyright infringement submission is a legal process and only accepted from the right owner or their authorised agent. But it is essential to consider if the content is being used fairly. Fair use generally covers adaptations of original works for the purpose of parody or comment. Parodic uses of copyrighted works are normally justified by freedom of expression but the key factor is that the public must be able to differentiate between the works. If the content is being used fairly then it is best to avoid submitting what might be considered a false claim and maybe even provoking further parodying activity. In summer 2015 the artist Banksy launched the clearly satirical Dismaland, an obvious play on words and “look and feel” of Disneyland, but Disney (sensibly) remained silent.
Inappropriate disturbing content should be flagged using the platform system. YouTube takes feedback very seriously and they appreciate people drawing attention to problematic content and make it easy for anyone to flag a video. Flagged videos are manually reviewed 24/7 and any videos that don’t belong are removed within hours. In addition they have a YouTube Kids app which helps limit access to flagged content.
Of course no filter is 100% accurate and nothing replaces vigilance. Careful monitoring can help ensure that your copyright protected content is not being used unfairly and allow you to submit takedown notices. But there is no product which can ever replace parental awareness.