Offensive Content on Popular Online Video Site
Special Report - December 31, 2008
A new study by the media watchdog group, Parents Television Council (PTC), warns that sexually explicit and profanity-laced content is merely a “click away” for children searching for videos on the popular website, YouTube. The study, “The ‘New’ Tube” features PTC’s analysis of content in 280 of YouTube’s most popular videos between March and October 2008. PTC researchers also examined advertisements and text commentary posted with the videos. “Children who use YouTube to search for video clips of their favorite stars like Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers are exposed to some of the most offensive profanity in the English language,” said PTC president, Tim Winter, in a statement. “Video searches for these popular terms showed that YouTube’s gating procedures do not extend to text commentary. And despite YouTube’s policy of not hosting sexually graphic videos, entering any number of popular search terms produced videos linked to ads for triple-X pornographyoften without even requiring age verification.”
Among the PTC study’s key findings:
- 422 instances of explicit content occurred in text comments posted from other users alongside 20 videos resulting from a search for presumably “safe” (teen idol) terms, such as Hannah Montana or High School Musical. On average, 68 percent of these comments included profanity.
- 20 of the highest ranked YouTube videos from the site’s most popular search terms, such as searches for rap artist “Lil’ Wayne,” resulted in “an extreme amount of graphic and adult-themed content.” For example, 98 percent of the videos that resulted from a search of the term, “Lil’ Wayne,” contained “high levels of explicit and adult-themed content” without requiring any form of age verification.
- 28 percent of videos resulting from the search term “porn” did not require any form of age verification, and 36 percent of these videos included ads and/or links to websites that display pornography.
- 88 percent of videos searched under the term “sex” featured “explicit sexual gestures that would be considered…soft porn.”
“With nearly half of boys and a third of girls ages 13-17 naming YouTube as one of their top three favorite websites, no parent can afford to ignore these findings,” said PTC President, Tim Winter. “While we applaud YouTube for its commitment to gating procedures and its recently announced plans to curb inappropriate content, the core implication of our analysis is that the site isn’t doing enough to protect kids. The Parents Television Council urges YouTube to take its commitment to being a ‘safe’ site even further by implementing new policies that extend to user comments, advertisements and InVideo links.”
Copyright © 2008. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.