A disturbing new trend of inappropriate cartoons specifically designed to entice children to click on dangerous videos is sweeping the internet.
The seemingly-innocent cartoons are uploaded to streaming sites like YouTube, featuring popular kids’ characters like Peppa Pig, Spider-Man and Elsa from ‘Frozen’.
But the original cartoons have been doctored to include scenes of graphic violence including murder, cannibalism and pornographic acts.
A number of inappropriate videos featuring children’s characters have appeared online
The seemingly-innocent videos and cartoons are uploaded to streaming sites like YouTube
‘Your child could be viewing the Peppa Pig video which could be a proper video, and in one second they could be watching something completely inappropriate, which they think is the same thing,’ cyber expert Ross Bark told A Current Affair.
Because the videos appear in the ‘suggested’ video column, the cartoons will auto-play after the clip the child is watching finishes.
And as some children watch videos on their own devices using headphones, it can go unnoticed by parents and carers.
Furthermore, YouTube is unable to do anything about the graphic videos; the popular streaming site has approximately 300 hours of unchecked footage uploaded every 60 seconds.
The site has asked for parents’ help to flag and report offensive content.
In some cases, the visuals are almost the same but the audio has been replaced by offensive language and lewd jokes.
In some of videos, the picture is almost the same but has been edited to make it inappropriate
If children are watching videos with headphones or in another room, parents may not notice
Parents are advised by clinical psychologist Dr Janet Hall to communicate with their children if they had been exposed to one of the videos.
‘Explain that sadly some bad people have made these movies and they should not be shown to children,’ she said.
Parents are also urged to observe their children, and to seek help if they have become anxious, withdrawn or violent after watching anything online.
Parents should also make sure that their children know to tell an adult if they have seen anything inappropriate online, or if a stranger tries to contact them.