Despite YouTube’s announcement six months ago to become more “family friendly”, the popular video site is still plagued with soft-core porn videos and links to outside porn sites. A recent study in May 2009 by the Media Research Center’s Culture and Media Institute found that simply searching the word porn on YouTube returned “330,000” results. The study’s major findings are as follows:
“YouTube is for Porn: YouTube’s own guidelines state that it is “not for pornography or sexually explicit content.” But there’s sexual material – including soft-core porn – all over the site. (A search of the word “porn” returned more than 330,000 results.) While there is little actual nudity, most of these videos are highly sexually suggestive and include explicit language and themes from lesbianism to “gangbangs.”
Top ‘Porn’ Videos Watched 438 Million Times: Out of the 157 “porn” videos that received more than 1 million views, almost two-thirds (101 of 157) advertised themselves to be actual pornography. Those 101 videos had 438,318,147 combined views – or 1.38 views for every man, woman and child in the United States.
YouTube is a Marketing Vehicle for Porn Merchants: Pornographers of all kinds used YouTube to drive traffic to their sites and products. Twelve percent (12 of the 101) of videos mentioned porn stars by name or were obvious clips from porn movies. Others were interviews with porn stars and reports from porn industry conventions. In addition, there were thousands of videos and repeated comments that served only as advertisements for hardcore porn sites, “dating” and escort services, and phone sex lines. Among the comments on these videos were numerous offers to “text me and let’s talk dirty.” All of those were available to anyone viewing the site.
Obscenity Commonplace: If your children can read, YouTube could teach them a whole new vocabulary. Profanity and every imaginable obscenity, including graphic sexual language, were rampant on the site. The “F***” word alone appeared in the titles of some 169,000 individual videos.
GayTube: Gay content, including gay propaganda, gay pornography and ads for gay escort services are easily found. There are 11,900 gay channels on YouTube, including 459 “gay porn” channels. A search of “gay porn” returns 52,700 individual videos.”
This isn’t the first time a study has highlighted YouTube’s problem with obscene content. On December 17th 2008 the Parents Television Council reported that “Children entering such “child-friendly” search terms as Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, High School Musical, and Hannah Montana were confronted with highly offensive content in the accompanying text commentary posted by other site users”.
The video giant has taken its first steps in making obscene content less accessible to children and has announced on its company blog that, “we’re tightening the standard for what is considered ‘sexually suggestive,'” making it age-restricted and relegating it to light-traffic areas of the site.” However, as the Media Research Center’s Culture and Media institute study suggests, YouTube has a long way to go in its journey to becoming a more family friendly website.
Four Reasons to Keep Your Children Away From YouTube This Summer
By Matthew Philbin and Dan Gainor
Culture and Media Institute
The “New” Tube
A Content Analysis of YouTube — the Most Popular Online Video Destination
Parents Television Council