Is an “Evil Santa Claus” on YouTube Kids?

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In November 2021, a Facebook user posted a message warning parents of a scary situation that allegedly took place in her home.

Les Lenn Oxx wrote that her 5 year old son William was watching YouTube Kids when an “Evil Santa” appeared and told him to hurt himself and his parents in order to get more gifts for them. Xmas :

This story, for the moment, is not verified. There are no screenshots of this “bad Santa Claus”, nor copies of the alleged video this rumor is based on. We also haven’t seen any other reports of kids meeting a “bad Santa Claus” on YouTube Kids. We have contacted YouTube for more information and will update this article accordingly.

The message from Obx, which has racked up nearly 90,000 shares, reads:

Just a warning to anyone with YouTube kids.
Guillaume who is 5 years old! I just walked in and said he’s going to put a knife in his stomach and kill himself because bad Santa told him too and that’s the only way for him to get presents.
Then he said he told him that he couldn’t tell his mom or dad and that he should get a knife and the more people he kills the more gifts he will get.
Honestly, I don’t know what else he saw or heard.
This is YouTube KID. I pay extra each month for parental controls.
I asked him to show me ‘bad Santa Claus’ he said oh you can’t find him mum he finds you and gives you chores and if you don’t complete them he will come and get you in your sleep.
I’m nauseous to the pit of my stomach, luckily he was able to come and tell me. But I’m afraid to think if he didn’t.
Again, this is YouTube Kids WITH Parental Controls.
I will report it to the school and anyone else I need as well.
Some sick sick there. ⚠️

Little information is available on this specific rumor. While there is no real evidence for this, it is not entirely out of the realm of possibility. Over the years, there have been a few instances where trolls have inserted self-harm messages into YouTube Kids videos. However, similar rumors that children were being encouraged to harm themselves turned out to be hoaxes.

Vox reported: “Images of a demonic chick are fueling panic across the world, with warnings of a dangerous ‘suicide game’ targeting children on social media. But behind the hysteria over the so-called ‘Momo Challenge’ lies a far more telling problem: This urban legend is probably nothing more than a hoax fueled by media reports and parental fears about the their children’s online activity. “

In 2019, after YouTube troll Filthy Frank inserted a clip promoting self-harm into a cartoon available on YouTube Kids, a YouTube spokesperson told Buzzfeed News that the company is “working[s] difficult to ensure that YouTube is not used to encourage unsafe behavior and we have strict policies that prohibit videos that promote self-harm “and that” every quarter we remove millions of videos and channels that violate our policies and we remove the majority of those videos before they have any views.

Sources:

“Parents: Don’t Panic About Momo – Worry About YouTube Kids Rather | Keza MacDonald. The Guardian, February 28, 2019, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/28/parents-momo-scare-youtube-kids.

Sakuma, Amanda. “The bogus Internet hoax ‘Momo Challenge’ explained. Vox, March 3, 2019, https://www.vox.com/2019/3/3/18248783/momo-challenge-hoax-explained.

“YouTube has removed reloaded videos from children’s shows that include hidden messages promoting self-harm.” BuzzFeed News, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/tanyachen/trolls-youtube-kids-shows-self-harm-clip. Accessed November 3, 2021.


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