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Here is a relatively mild, but still upsetting example: A step beyond the simply pirated Peppa Pig videos mentioned previously are the knock-offs. In the official Peppa Pig videos, Peppa does indeed go to the dentist, and the episode in which she does so seems to be popular — although, confusingly, what appears to be the real episode is only available on an unofficial channel.In the official timeline, Peppa is appropriately reassured by a kindly dentist.Toy Freaks is a You Tube verified channel, whatever that means.
Agnes is the arbiter of the scene: when the heads don’t match up, she cries, when they do, she cheers.
The video’s creator, BABYFUN TV (screenshot above), has produced many similar videos.
I see kids engrossed in screens all the time, in pushchairs and in restaurants, and there’s always a bit of a Luddite twinge there, but I am not a parent, and I’m not making parental judgments for or on anyone else.
I’ve seen family members and friend’s children plugged into Peppa Pig and nursery rhyme videos, and it makes them happy and gives everyone a break, so OK.
I’m trying to understand why, as plainly and simply troubling as it is, this is not a simple matter of “won’t somebody think of the children” hand-wringing.
too this raises questions of fair use, appropriation, free speech and so on.
While I find it disturbing, I can understand how it might provide some of the rhythm or cadence or relation to their own experience that actual babies are attracted to in this content, although it has been warped and stretched through algorithmic repetition and recombination in ways that I don’t think anyone actually wants to happen.[Edit, 21/11/2017: Following the publication of this article, the Toy Freaks channel was removed by You Tube as part of a widespread removal of contentious content.]Toy Freaks is a hugely popular channel (68th on the platform) which features a father and his two daughters playing out — or in some cases perhaps originating — many of the tropes we’ve identified so far, including “Bad Baby”, (previously embedded above).
As well as nursery rhymes and learning colours, Toy Freaks specialises in gross-out situations, as well as activities which many, many viewers feel border on abuse and exploitation, if not cross the line entirely, including videos of the children vomiting and in pain.
One of the thus-far hypothetical questions I ask myself frequently is how I would feel about my own children having the same kind of access to the internet today.
And I find the question increasingly difficult to answer.