YouTube has recently shut down one of the most popular channels in the kids' entertainment section, Toy Freaks.
This announcement comes just a couple of weeks after The New York Times ran a front-page article entitled “On YouTube Kids, Startling Videos Slip Past Filters,” which suggested that the website wasn’t doing a very good job at keeping inappropriate or undesirable content away from the millions of children who watch videos on YouTube.
Variety is now reporting that YouTube has heard these comments and is taking a more serious stance on safeguarding the children’s section. As a result, Toy Freaks is no more.
“We take child safety extremely seriously and have clear policies against child endangerment,” a YouTube representative said in a statement to TubeFilter. “We recently tightened the enforcement of these policies to tackle content featuring minors where we receive signals that cause concern. […] We’ve terminated the Toy Freaks channel for violation of our policies. We will be conducting a broader review of associated content in conjunction with expert trusted flaggers.”
Toy Freaks had over 8.5 million subscribers and was ranked the 68th most viewed channel on YouTube. Their videos featured a father and his two daughters acting out odd and questionable skits. A post on Medium by journalist James Bridle described the videos as “gross-out situations, as well as activities which many, many viewers feel border on abuse and exploitation, if not cross the line entirely, including videos of the children vomiting and in pain.”
Toy Freaks channel operator Greg Chism spoke to Variety following the news. “Many YouTube community members expressed similar concerns, and their willingness to reach out to protect my children and all children from exploitation reinforces my faith in the YouTube community,” he said. “Victoria, Annabelle and I want to thank our supporters as my girls have had the opportunity to develop their creativity and self-confidence over the past few years.”
He went on: “Their future is bright. While it is disturbing to me that anyone would find inappropriate pleasure in our video skits, I deeply appreciate YouTube’s concerns for my family and I could not be happier having had this remarkable experience.”
Meanwhile, Chism’s second channel — Freak Family Vlogs — has had all of their videos removed as well. Freak Family Vlogs has over 4.7 million subscribers.
Chism isn’t the only one either. The creators behind KiddieToysReview have announced some of their clips have been removed. “Apparently the video had been appropriate for about 1 year, and today suddenly became inappropriate,” they said via TubeFilter. Additionally, several other channels have also been deleted.
How wide the scope of YouTube’s terminations is unclear, for now. There are, however, several accounts that are re-posting Toy Freaks videos for the time being. Until they also get shut down, that is.
Want more stories like this straight to your inbox? Sign up here for our daily newsletter.