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UK Parents complained Horror film ads distressed children on YouTube

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has revealed that children were distressed after watching horror movies ads on YouTube while watching other kid’s videos.

Three parents in the UK contacted ASA and complained about the content their children saw on the YouTube, the children came across insidious ads that were rated 15 in the UK.

According to the details, one ad for the horror film appeared before the videos of Frozen, Cartoon PJ Masks and Lego building instructions. The ASA has acknowledged the complaints.

Another scary ad was seen with the content, “A young woman lying on the floor stationary, covered in blood and distressed, while a humanoid character approached her and probed her with claws and pierced her skin”. It seems quite scary for the kids, said ASA.

Another Scary Ad

Another scary ad was discovered which was played before the videos of Minecraft, a popular game among children and rival of Lego. It was a sequence of screaming women.

Sony Pictures and Columbia Pictures (owned by Sony Pictures) were the advertisers for the movie ads; they told ASA that in their targeting criteria they have excluded unknown audience and children beforehand.

The follow-up investigation by Sony Pictures indicated that there is a serious problem with YouTube algorithms and targeting, said BBC

However, Google-owned video service YouTube said the advertisers are responsible for the campaigns they run on their platform. YouTube argued that the ads do not appear on YouTube Kids, an app specifically designed for kids to keep them safe from unwanted content.

YouTube had been fighting the inappropriate content for long now, last year, the company had removed over 50 channels from the platform because children were prone to adult content because of those channels.

ASA said in a statement, “We acknowledge the ads shown to children were frightening and extremely shocking, likely to cause fear and distress.” The ASA also received three complaints from adults who said the ads were actually quite distressing also the ads appeared before the content which is not related without any prior warning also the ad cannot be skipped until the five seconds have been elapsed.

The regulator told Sony to make sure their future ads are targeted appropriately and excluded from kid’s content completely. The company “Sony Pictures” however, declined to comment on it. But the company is now looking into limiting its ads for mature content to a pre-vetted list of safe YouTube channels.

YouTube has removed 8.3 million videos in April that were inappropriate in one or the other way, the company is working towards making the platform cleaner and safer for all ages and communities. YouTube also updated their YouTube Kids app aimed at preventing kids from stumbling over the videos and content that is inappropriate and distressing for them.