Mug Hannah Ball, Staff Reporter

Tri-County Times | Hannah Ball

 Parents, don’t trust YouTube. It’s not a kid-friendly site anymore.

 YouTube recently made national headlines when a famous YouTuber, Logan Paul, posted a video of himself and his friends exploring a forest in Japan that’s a popular place for people to commit suicide.

 The video begins with Paul bragging to viewers that this video is making YouTube history. Then the 22-year-old and his friends are walking in the forest, and they find a dead body.

 I wish I could say it was blurred, or they showed everything but the body, which was literally hanging from a tree. But I can’t. The man probably was only hanging there for less than a day.

 They didn’t stop filming. Instead, they showed close-ups of the man and made jokes, as if that person were a prop and not someone somebody else loved and is devastated to lose.

 I hope I don’t have to explain why this is abhorrent. This isn’t an action movie or the 6 o’clock news. With those mediums, viewers understand they’re going to see death and harsh realities. But Paul is known for making kid-friendly videos, and the majority of his fan base are kids. They’re attracted to his pranks, but this time they literally saw a dead body of someone who committed suicide. His channel has 15 million subscribers. Before Paul took it down, that video had over six million views.

 While he’s the main culprit in this situation, YouTube handled it terribly. The video was on the site’s trending page, so viewers were encouraged to watch it. YouTube never took it down, and the statement they released came days later comprising of five tweets. YouTube said they were upset by the video, suicide should not be a driving force for views, the video violated their guidelines, they acted accordingly and they are looking at further consequences.

 YouTube admits it violated their guidelines, but instead of taking it down, they promoted it because it made them money.

 Parents should be shocked. If your kids are on YouTube or Twitter, they’ve probably seen the video. Paul took the original one down, after a lot of backlash, but others have uploaded it on other channels. You can find it if you Google it, but I warn you that it’s deeply disturbing. I only watched a few minutes and stopped when they started laughing at the body.

 Most of the conversation surrounding the topic on the video was surprisingly progressive. Paul and his friends repeatedly stated that suicide was not the answer and encouraged viewers to get help if they were struggling. In his apology video, Paul told his viewers not to defend him because what he did was absolutely wrong.

 I am appalled that YouTube didn’t take the video down the second it was put up. Parents, YouTube encouraged your kids to watch a video with an actual dead body from a suicide hanging from a tree. I hope you share my concern.

Opinions offered in this coloumn are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Tri-County Times or its staff. Email Hannah at hball@tctimes.com.

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