Alert for Parents: Disturbing YouTube videos tricking children

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Parents are speaking out about disturbing trend concerning online videos that appeal to children, but then turn dark, violent and in some cases sexual.

The fake children’s videos can be found on YouTube and YouTube Kids.

The videos feature lookalikes of characters’ kids know and love, such as Elsa from "Frozen" Spider-Man and Peppa the Pig.

Normally, these characters are parent-approved, but the videos are edited to take a dark twist. Characters are shown being injected with syringes, set on fire, attacked, bleeding and turning into zombies.

In addition to the violence, there is also sexual references and bathroom talk in the videos. These child-friendly characters are put in adult situations.

“It was a pregnancy test they were taking and I was like, ‘What?'" Eriq Martinez, of the Lower Valley, said. His 3-year-old daughter, Millie, came across some of these videos, which are definitely not fairy tales.

He said Cinderella and Spider-Man were taking a pregnancy test.

In another video, Martinez found, “Spiderman was looking up dresses, that sort of thing. That’s Spider-Man. That’s not what he does,” said Martinez.

Parents around the globe are discovering the same twisted trend. The BBC recently found trolls are uploading hundreds of these fake children’s videos to YouTube Kids, which is supposed to screen content for children under 18.

“It’s alarming. People are out there specifically to let toddlers see this,” said Martinez.

Some of the videos have millions of views. One of the videos we found featured dogs and cats dressed up as people. The title was, “Paw Patrol: Kidnappers Seduce Preschoolers.”

“Keep an eye on what they are looking at,” said Martinez.

Martinez and his wife said they’ve always been vigilant about their daughter's YouTube use, with tight restrictions and controls.

Even though they only let her watch nursery rhymes and educational shows, they’ve stopped for now because they can’t seem to get the nightmarish videos off the feed.

“Be aware of what the related videos are coming up. The way they get them is with brightly colored videos and their favorite characters,” said Martinez.

Martinez says he wrote a letter to YouTube but has not received a response.

In general, the company says flagged videos are manually reviewed.

YouTube suggests parents who want a more restricted experience can turn off the "search" feature.

YouTube Kids is supposed to screen content but there is also an option for a restricted mode.

Also, pay attention to what your kids are watching and flag any content you find disturbing.

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