For parents, it comes naturally to shield the little ones from the possible dangers that can lurk about — around them and even online.
So one can only imagine how appalling it can be for any mum/dad to find sexually suggestive advertisements weaved in supposedly child-safe content.
Such was the recent experience by Singaporean DJ, YouTube personality and mum-of-one Jade Rasif. In a Facebook post, Jade Rasif warns parents to be alert for such content when allowing their kids to watch videos on popular streaming site, YouTube.
Rasif claimed that an advertisement “for [a] prostitution website” unexpectedly surfaced while she was showing her niece a video on YouTube on Sunday (Oct 18).
“Mummies please be careful. Was showing my sick niece a documentary about children who survive life-threatening illnesses… and YouTube showed us an advertisement for this prostitution website,” she wrote.
Along with her caption, the former actress also attached a screenshot of the advertisement in view, which featured Sugarbook — an online dating site that connects sugar babies to wealthy benefactors (Read: Sugar daddies).
“I was surprised because we have regulations for TV advertising, I assumed the same rules would apply to YouTube,” the 26-year-old said in response to theAsianparent’s queries. According to Jade, she had also turned on YouTube’s parental lock feature.
''With kids being naturally curious, Jade wrote that the children asked her what a sugar baby was. They were also “amazed at how much [sugar babies] could earn.”
While Jade said that she tried to ignore the question posed to her then, she had “a difficult time” explaining the incident to her niece’s mother afterwards.
Jade tells theAsianparent that she does not let her young son watch TV or YouTube. However, it is different for his cousins who are “old enough to watch and understand [the content]”.
Apart from them being “too old” for YouTube Kids, they also have curious minds, she adds.
“I don’t want to blame the ad, but to take responsibility and make sure my kids don’t get enamoured with earning $5000 as a sugar baby without understanding the ugly side of the job and industry (sic),” Jade explains.
The actress calls for advertising guidelines on the streaming site. A quick search on YouTube’s advertising guidelines, it noted that:
“Adult Content [including but not limited to] content that features highly sexualised themes is not suitable for advertising, with limited exceptions for non-graphic sexual education videos and music videos.
''Stating your comedic intent is not sufficient and that content may still not be suitable for advertising.”
Meanwhile, Rasif said: “I have nothing against sugar babies but I don’t need the lifestyle glamorised to my LO and his cousins..”
“I just want to advise mommies to take some precautions, so they don’t make the same mistake I did,” she says.
''Jade advises parents to stay vigilant when browsing videos on YouTube and to ensure that they skip past [similar] advertisement quickly if they see it.”
What netizens are saying
Many mums from the group commented on the post and offered interesting suggestions on how to tackle such issues.
A user commented on Rasif’s post, suggesting that she can take to downloading YouTube kids instead—a more contained environment for kids to explore the platform which also allows parents to guide their use more easily.
Other suggestions include paying for YouTube premium to get rid of all advertisements. Users can also utilise YouTube privacy settings for ads to better ensure little ones’ safety, another user highlighted.
Do’s and don’ts to teach children on the Internet
Educate your kids about the golden rules of the internet and about personal information.
- Share your password, full name, address, IC number or anything that can identify you to anybody
- Meet anybody online outside without parental supervision and permission
- Click on sites that advertise “free” items, these might be phishing sites
- Reply anybody in your spam folder even though they may sound like they know you and need your help
- Hide anything from your parents or teachers if anything goes wrong
- Use the internet for school work and projects, it is a great resource
- Watch movies, videos and listen to your favourite songs
- Stay connected with your friends from school
This article was first published in theAsianparent.