Special | The dangers hidden in the Toca Life World videos for children

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This video game is being used to create stories of violence and sexuality which has led to controversy on the internet


Juan Diego Ríos

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Special | The dangers hidden in the Toca Life World videos for children

The video game is being taken to generate violent, morbid and depressive videos for children.

Although it sounds strange to think about it, YouTubeIt is mainly consumed by minors, an example of this is that five of the ten most viewed videos on the platform are aimed at children. Hence the need to strengthen access to content in the application.

In recent months the platform has been flooded by a type of content that is not suitable for minors , but at the same time is focused on them. We are talking about the videos created around the game Toca Life World, in which reference is made to topics such as rape, physical violence, pregnancy, depression and loneliness, in a 'childish' style that would not have to be be in the video app.

Toca Life and videos not suitable for minors

This video game is free for mobile devices and its concept is to allow players, who are usually minors, to create characters, settings and stories through your taste, having several customization tools that captivate this audience.

On YouTube content of the game is uploaded telling those stories that are created. On the one hand, there are very useful educational videos that contribute at this stage, but there is also a dark side in which there are videos like: 'I got pregnant at 10 years old', 'My parents married me to a grandfather at 10 years', 'I got my teacher pregnant', 'My boyfriend cheats on me with my mom' or 'The brother who set her on fire'.

Special | The dangers hidden in the videos Toca Life World for kids

Image taken from YouTube video: '(Father1)Toca Boca stories'

A panorama that from the outset is not suitable for minors, especially when seeing the covers that are explicit with sexual, violent and sad images taking the graphic style of the game. Although some of these videos do not show exactly what their title says, those who see them are attracted by the name or the image, being a key morbid tool for a generation that focuses on the visual.

“If we think about platforms and social networks, they are focused on the audiovisual. As adults we were educated with reading and text, but today kids feel more attracted to visual applications”, says Judy Benavides, head of the Safe Internet center at Red PaPaz < /b>in Colombia, a union of parents.

This type of content is available on YouTubeand although in several places they denounce that it is also found on YouTube Kids, during the investigation carried out by Infobae nothing of this type was found in said application, but only the one focused on education or funny stories.< /p>

However, it is difficult to know who or who is behind these videos because the editing level of many of them is too high for a child under 10 years of age to have the knowledge to do it, since some have elements that are not even are in Toca Life. But in the event that this is the case, that a child is behind one of the channels, there would be a big problem ahead.

“There we would suddenly be talking about children, who are basically not not being watched by their parents and that perhaps they are also experiencing violent or abusive experiences at home and suddenly they are showing them through the videos they upload”, says Fideblaymid Cruz, psychologist with an emphasis on video games.

Beyond the people who are generating the content, they are taking advantage of the curiosity and interest that something unknown can generate in children to gain followers, views and money, because even the channels themselves put in the descriptions that, although the video is not explicit, they use morbid thumbnails because that is how they earn reproductions.

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The impact of these videos

It is important to understand the scope of this situation, because it is being addressed to an audience that is learning to know its environment, that is easy to manipulate and that seeks to replicate everything it sees using the Internet.

Cruz ensures that the first thing is that no child should be exposed to this content “because they do not understand it and are very vulnerable.” So not understanding it will have “emotional and psychological” effects, which can be reflected in nightmares or fears.

But there are also other effects such as starting to believe that what is seen in the videos is real, which leads to confusion.

Special | The dangers hidden in the Toca Life World videos for children

Video Image: 10 Age Married With Grandfather 70 Age. In this video he tells the story of some parents who sold their 10-year-old daughter to a 10-year-old grandfather to get married.

“An example is the story of the Sugar Daddy, because a girl is going to to think that it is normal that at 10 years old she approaches a 74-year-old man, marries him and they live happily ever after. That is dangerous”, says the psychologist.

Parallel to these situations are dangerous, violent or inappropriate behaviors. “They can develop racist, sexist, sexist, homophobic behaviors, as well as physical damage such as self-harm or hurting another. All because they don't understand those consequences”.

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Solutions at hand

Stopping this type of content is complicated given the multiple channels that are opened and how the stories are hidden, an example is that of a video that is simply called 'Father' and in the background it hides the story of a father who raped his daughter.

That is why the work of parents and what YouTube does to stop it is key. On the side of adults, the best path is accompaniment, if a minor is viewing this content, they must be stopped and explained to them what is happening to avoid consequences such as those mentioned above.

“One recommendation is to get involved as parents with everyday questions, without judging. It is also important to be in close contact with what they are browsing on the internet, not only to know how to identify how this information could be inappropriate, but so that they also have the peace of mind to communicate their fears and accompany them”, highlights the spokeswoman for Red PaPaz.

In this context, we should highlight the work that YouTube is doing together with specialists in child development to shape policies and tools control for content directed at minors.

The same application makes it clear that it is not a site for people over 13 years of age and that for this audience there is YouTube Kids, where they explain, “we do not allow misleading, sensationalist or clickbait videos. This includes low-quality children's and family-friendly content that uses deception, sensationalism, or manipulation to get children's attention and encourage them to click.”

To slow the spread of This type of videos that come from different places, the platform not only cancels them but also sanctions and blocks the channels, it is even testing an option for children to access from a supervised account and controlled by their parents.

In the end, creating a 100% safe environment is impossible, but the responsibility of accompaniment and limitations must always be present so as not to affect the growth and mental health of the children minors.

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