Is It Safe for Toddlers to Watch Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig on YouTube?
YouTube is known for being the largest video sharing platform on the planet and it has become a convenient source for kid-friendly educational videos and entertainment. Popular shows like Peppa Pig and PAW Patrol are available on this website.
Unfortunately though, in recent years, parents have been reporting fake versions of these programs, which are slipping through filters that are designed to weed out inappropriate content.
These seemingly safe episodes start out in a similar fashion to their official counterparts, but take twisted turns part way through the videos. These crude reproductions feature disturbing topics like suicide, stabbings, overdose, decapitation, torture, and other horrific forms of violence.
Related: The Best TV Shows for Kids on Streaming in 2022
This is extremely concerning for parents who trust that when they click on these programs, the content is suitable for kids. Thus, we dive into if it is safe for toddlers to watch PAW Patrol and Peppa Pig on YouTube as well as how to keep your kids protected when using this platform.
Recent YouTube Improvements
With the recent issues that arose surrounding kids programming on YouTube and YouTube Kids, the company’s executives came to the conclusion that algorithms can only take us so far. Having human eyes on the content is just as important as the filters that are in place.
Upon this realization, they expanded their trust-and-safety team and the number of human curators that they had on staff. They also formed an academic advisory board to recommend child appropriate content.
Not only that, but The Wall Street Journal reported that “at the end of 2019, YouTube took its most drastic step yet: It removed millions of what it deemed low-quality videos from YouTube Kids, a decision that ultimately cut the library by about 80%, according to a former executive. Over the next few months, YouTube cleared out videos of cartoon parodies and many unboxing videos that violated its policy on commercial content.”
Nonetheless, there is still a lot of work to be done, which is why parents need to be vigilant when it comes to what their kids watch and what they have access to while online.
For those looking for tips and tricks to make their kid’s virtual experiences safer, we break down the best ways to stay safe on YouTube.
YouTube Kids Safety and Considerations
Even with the best intentions, great parents can fall prey to the sick-minded actions of the people in this world. Many trust that platforms as big as YouTube and YouTube Kids will filter out these knock-off versions of kid’s programs to ensure the safety and well-being of those watching the content. While that is the case for most of their videos, they note on their website that “no filter is 100% accurate.”
Always Monitor What Your Kids Watch Online
First and foremost, as much as we all want to tune out the obnoxiously catchy theme songs and tunes that play throughout our kid’s favorite programs, it is exceptionally important to oversee what is on the screen at all times.
When this is done, parents can become familiar with the overall look and tone of the show. This, in turn, can help parents to identify if a counterfeit edition of the show slips through the cracks.
When watching, pay attention to changes in the quality of the video and the appearance of the graphics. In the inappropriate Peppa Pig videos that surfaced, many parents noted that the characters were green instead of pink and the animation was crude compared to other episodes of the show. These subtle changes should serve as a big red flag to parents.
Turn Off YouTube Auto-Play
If you have taken the time to review the full episode before allowing your kids to watch, it is also important for parents to turn off the Auto-Play function. YouTube accounts have this preset to ensure a continuous flow of content. Unfortunately, if a fake episode makes it through the filters, it can easily pop up after the previewed content has finished.
Only Watch Content on the Official Channel
When you google “Peppa Pig full episodes” or “PAW Patrol Skye”, an array of videos will immediately pop up in your browser. Most of these options are likely safe, but it is always best to go to www.youtube.com and then search for “Peppa Pig Official Channel” instead. This content has been verified by YouTube and the account will have a list of the full videos created by the media company.
In case you didn’t know, an official channel on YouTube is an account that has over 100,000 subscribers and YouTube has taken the time to vet the content that is produced by the user. An easy way to distinguish between a fake and an official channel is to look for the check mark next to the name. This is a Verification Badge that can help you to determine which channels are trustworthy and which could contain questionable content.
Additionally, consider subscribing to your preferred channels. This will automatically push new content from the channel to your account, making it less likely that fakes sneak into your child’s video feed.
Finally, remember that “subscribers” are different than “views.” If someone takes the time to subscribe to a channel, they have taken the time to fully view the content and have clearly chosen to watch more.
Avoid Compilation Videos for Kids
If you take the time to peruse the official YouTube channels of your kid’s favorite programs, you will notice that the page is lacking the phrase “X minute compilations”. When you see this terminology, it should serve as a warning that someone else reconstructed the video.
While these could be safe, it is always best to err on the side of caution. Instead, take the time to create playlists with your kids to help keep their content secure and control what they see when using the application.
Turn on Parental Controls and Other Protections
If you have the YouTube or YouTube Kids app on your phone, tablet, or other devices, take the time to set up Parental Controls and turn on “Restricted Mode” to help remove mature content. YouTube Kids is the safer option for the parents who don’t have time to monitor every second of their kids programming. When using this app, parents do have the option to disable the search function, which can add another layer of protection.
Moreover, if you have an Apple product, consider setting up the Guided Access function. This allows parents to lock the device’s screen after a program has been selected. Why is this important?
Kids love to click buttons and if they see Mickey Mouse or Mighty Pups in an image below their video, they could inadvertently stumble upon something unsafe. Having a secondary form of defense against sneaky internet scoundrels is a smart decision for parents!
Do Kids Shows Have Subliminal Advertising?
Kids absorb everything like a sponge and they learn through imitation. With this being said, it is extremely important for parents to vet the content that their kids will be watching.
Many seemingly kid-friendly shows available on YouTube are labeled as “educational”, but before trusting this descriptor, it is imperative that you do a little research and ask yourself some questions — What are these programs teaching my kids? Where is the show being produced? What subtle messages could be sneaking through these cute nursery rhymes?
Always Look at the Big Picture
Blippi seems harmless enough and the program has even been picked up for a spinoff on Netflix. However, many parents worry that shows like this, where adults act like kids in areas where kids frequent, are normalizing child grooming interactions.
While this may seem far-fetched, if your child associates this type of behavior as routine or even fun, they may be more trusting of the wrong kind of stranger. These can be important considerations when selecting content for young kids.
Do Your Research on TV Ratings and Content
If you ever have a question about television programming, movies, or games, a great resource for parents is commonsensemedia.org. This is a non-profit dedicated to reviewing media content in order to give parents information on its suitability for children. This website provides ratings on the educational value, possible content of concern, reviews from parents and kids as well as age recommendations for each program.
Our favorite part — this organization also provides parents with talking points to discuss with their kids after watching certain shows. This can help kids to better understand concepts and story lines as well as address any questions or concerns they may have when the show is finished.
Benefits of Educational Shows for Kids
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “children over age 2 years [should] spend less than 2 hours per day with screen media, because excessive viewing has been linked to a plethora of physical, academic, and behavioral problems.” However, they go on to note that for many families, this is “a safe and affordable distraction” that allows them to better navigate through their day-to-day routine.
Additionally, when parents take the time to find educational content, screen time can serve as an effective teaching tool. Children can learn colors, numbers, shapes, and even how to navigate through real life scenarios that they may encounter is school and play. Best of all, the memorable nursery rhymes that these shows repeat can actually help to facilitate language development.
Is Peppa Pig Good for Kids?
This British children’s series features the adventures of Peppa Pig, her brother George, Daddy Pig, and Mummy Pig as well as the rest of her family and friends. This sassy little piglet is four years old and her adventures are similar to those of the toddlers in our lives. The emphasis of this show is on the importance of family and how to handle social and emotional situations.
It is these real life themes that have driven the popularity of the show. To date, it has aired in over 180 countries and put out almost 400 episodes in its 18 year run that still continues to this day. Currently, the program can be viewed on streaming services like YouTube, Amazon Prime, Paramount Plus, Hulu, and Nick Jr.
Following the show’s humble beginnings, the EntertainmentOne (eOne) brand has since expanded from the small screen to store shelves in the form of Peppa Pig toys, Play Doh, books, shoes, clothes, and even holiday themed items like Surprise Eggs for Easter. These items can be fantastic for pretend play, which has been shown to facilitate speech.
Is PAW Patrol Good for Kids?
This Canadian kid’s show tells the tales of a young boy named Ryder and his team of search and rescue dogs. Chase, Skye, Marshall, Everest, and the rest of the gang complete rescue missions that teach children about bravery and teamwork. The PAW Patrol pups also promote a love for animals, “a message that is reinforced through PAW Patrol’s real life partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.”
This spunky series has been broadcasted for almost a decade and currently has nine seasons that can be watched on platforms like YouTube, Hulu, Paramount Plus, Nick Jr, and Amazon Prime. This kid-approved show has also spurred the creation of an array of themed merchandise including PAW Patrol toys, clothes, toy cars, outdoor playhouses, training potties, and even ice cream! Again, these are great tools for language learning opportunities.
More Age-Appropriate YouTube Programs for Toddlers
When the official options are selected, both “PAW Patrol Official & Friends” and “Peppa Pig - Official Channel” can be safe, fun, and educational channels for kids to watch! Additionally, PJ Masks is another exciting YouTube program that focuses on entertainment, but includes positive messages about cooperation and the impact of our actions as well. This show is also available on Disney+.
For the parents looking for something with more learning opportunities throughout the episodes, Khan Academy Kids and Rock 'N Learn are fantastic YouTube channels that are geared towards educating toddler to elementary school kids. These videos showcase content that is similar to a lesson plan that they might see in school, making them a great form of supplemental learning.
Finally, if you are looking for a way to entertain your kids and sneak in some learning along the way, consider Lellobee City Farm and Little Baby Bum. These YouTube shows not only teach the ABC’s, numbers, and shapes, but they also teach life skills like how to go potty and wash your hands. They also highlight big changes that children might face like the excitement of gaining a new baby sibling.
This is all done through creative and catchy kids songs. Additionally, both shows are produced in a sing-along style format so kids can see the words as the songs are sung, which allows for word association.
Not all parents have the means to pay for the myriad of streaming services that showcase these kids programs, making YouTube a preferred choice in many households. While these subscriptions remove the worry of corrupted content, if your kid can work a remote, it is likely that they could still stumble upon something inappropriate on these applications as well.
Thankfully, following the reports of the terrifying Peppa Pig and PAW Patrol videos, YouTube has been working hard to better their built in protections, making it much harder for this content to surface. Nevertheless, it is important for parents to remember that nothing is guaranteed in this world, but there are simple steps that you can take to better protect your kids from unsuitable content on any platform.
Just don’t forget that even though Google owns YouTube, it is always best to search for phrases like “Peppa Pig official family kids cartoon” directly on the video platform’s website so that you can get the safest version after selecting the official channel.
Lastly, talk to your kids! Let them know that sometimes things can be bad or even scary on the internet. If they see something that doesn’t seem right, they need to know that they should turn off the program immediately and that they should feel comfortable coming to talk to you about it.
For more kid-friendly shows you can stream or watch on YouTube, check out these! 12 Shows Like Bluey Your Child Will Love.
Featured Image: Ikastolak1, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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Heidi Butler, Breaking News Reporter
Heidi is an experienced journalist who worked in the television news industry for a decade, where she gave local forecasts as an award-winning meteorologist, was a reporte