If you’ve got a young child in your household, chances are you’re familiar with “Peppa Pig,” the British preschool cartoon about a family of pigs and their adventures. It’s crazy how adorable pig snorts can sound paired with a British accent, right?
“Peppa Pig” airs on Nick Jr. but if your children are like most, they want “Peppa” on demand. That often leads you to YouTube for the beloved pig videos, right?
However, amid the real videos are lots of fake “Peppa Pig” videos. As BBC News reports, thousands of “Peppa Pig” videos on YouTube look real but contain violent and disturbing content. While you might be able to notice the difference, these videos may be indistinguishable to your children.
As an example, one YouTube video masquerading as a real “Peppa Pig” video depicts a scary trip to a sinister dentist armed with syringes. In this fake “Peppa” video, the pig gets her teeth plucked out and is screaming in pain. That’s the stuff nightmares are made of, is it not? (The video is embedded for reference below.)
Parent and writer Laura June quickly noticed something was off as her 3-year-old daughter was watching the sadistic trip to the dentist. She wrote about the experience for The Outline, explaining, “[T]he animation is like close enough to looking like “Peppa”—it’s crude but it’s close enough that my daughter was like ‘This is Peppa Pig.'”
Peppa Pig is a show for preschoolers. Knock-off Peppa Pig is the stuff of nightmares. https://t.co/1BZrp7gf2h
— The Outline (@outline) March 16, 2017
It’s not just “Peppa Pig” that is getting ripped off online. BBC Trending took note of similar videos that reimagined children’s cartoons with inappropriate themes for the intended audience. They include “Minions,” “Frozen,” “Doc McStuffins,” “Thomas the Tank Engine” and more, the site found.
Here are some tips to keep your kids from being exposed to these fake cartoons.
- Turn on safe searches. You can start by using YouTube Kids, which is free and filters content for children, and enable Safe Search, suggests a tutorial from Offspring.
- Only watch cartoons from the official channels. Fake cartoons can still slip through, even on YouTube Kids. Your best bet is to watch the videos straight from the channels, such as the “Peppa Pig” channel or Disney’s official channel on YouTube.
- Use parental control software. Software like Net Nanny will scan the entire page and flag the content for you if comments say it’s violent, Offspring notes.
- Make a playlist. Some of these fake and violent cartoons show up when YouTube suggests similar videos to watch. Avoid this from happening by creating a playlist from which your children can watch shows