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How Safe Vision App Protects Kids from Malicious Videos

There is a lot of talk about Momo challenge on the Internet. Reportedly there are videos on YouTube that look like innocent children cartoon but have horrifying image in the middle.

The news are quite disturbing. However it looks like there is no proof that those videos actually found their way to YouTube Kids app.

Momo Isn’t What Parents Need to Worry About on YouTube – Intelligencer

Is Safe Vision safe from this problem?

Safe Vision app starts with all YouTube videos locked. Parents then unlock pre-set list of known good channels based on child’s age range. They can also choose to unlock channels and videos one by one, at their discretion.

I personally review the channels that are available by default in the app. The chances that creators of child-targeted channel, e.g. Pinkfong would suddenly post something inappropriate are extremely low.

There are rumours that official Peppa Pig channel has been hacked and some of their videos contain Momo challenge but I couldn’t find any proof of that.

Bottom line: suicidal videos are definitely locked by default in Safe Vision app.

Child watching TV

Why I built Safe Vision

Safe Vision is a mobile app that helps parents filter YouTube videos for their children.

When my daughter was 7, she was staying home alone from time to time (admittedly too early). One day she watched some scary videos on YouTube unsupervised. That was a traumatic experience for her: for a while, she was afraid of the dark, could not sleep alone, and would not stay alone in her room. Every little noise would scary her. She was telling us that things have moved on their own. It took her quite some time to recover.

Also, I noticed that my son watched a lot of gaming videos with strong language in them. That’s when I decided to do something about it.

Child watching TV

The trend is alarming: according to the study by NSPCC 40% of children seen violent material and nearly a third reported seeing self-harming or suicide content on YouTube.

Initially, I wanted the app to do all the filtering according to the child’s age. But I quickly discovered that parents have a wide range of opinions about what’s appropriate for their children. Today the main feature of the app is “unlocking” channels and videos in the parent mode.

I strongly believe that we as parents are responsible for what goes into the minds of our children. It’s like food: left to their own devices, children would eat a lot of junk food and candy. However, we as the parents are responsible for providing healthy choices.

This is true when the children are very young and lack a moral compass to tell them what’s good and what’s not.

I think James Bridle gave the best advice for parents about YouTube:

If you have small children, keep them the hell away from YouTube.

However, if you still want to let your child watch YouTube, please use some kind of parental control tool.