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Inside the terrifying rabbit hole of messed-up YouTube videos for kids

2 Girls 1 Podcast KIDS YOUTUBE

The Daily Dot (Licensed)

From the Finger Family to Elsa peeing on Spider-man.

If you leave a toddler alone with an iPad long enough, YouTube‘s algorithms will guide her down a deep, dark rabbit hole of strange, low-quality, and often disturbing videos manufactured for kid consumption. These channels use recognizable characters (Mickey Mouse, Paw Patrol) to draw kids into clickbait narratives that they can’t resist watching: Minnie Mouse being crushed by an escalator, Elsa and Spider-man tickling each other, or a love triangle between three Disney characters that results in an unplanned pregnancy.

Who is making these videos? Why? What effect are they having on a generation of connected kids? And what is YouTube doing about it?

This week on 2 Girls 1 Podcast, Alli and Jen (actors who perform weird internet stuff on stage) talk with journalist K.G. Orphanides who has written extensively about YouTube’s strange kid content underbelly.

Listen to the show:

This week’s episode is supported by Penguin Random House Audio, which publishes thousands of award-winning audiobooks every year, including your sci-fi and fantasy favorites like Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and Hank Green’s novels. Download Penguin Random House Audiobooks wherever you listen to your favorite audiobooks (Audible, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.) or check out this page to browse their latest selection.

2 Girls 1 Podcast is also supported by listeners. A lot of time and resources go into research, booking, editing, and publishing this show. If you love internet culture as much as we love ’casting about it, consider a contribution of $1 or $2 per month to help offset our production costs. Become a patron of #2G1P and earn some cool perks while you’re at it:

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  • Email the show: [email protected]
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2 Girls 1 Podcast is hosted by Allison Goldberg and Jennifer Jamula, and is produced and edited by Matt Silverman in New York City. Production assistance is provided by The Podglomerate.

Want to hear more from the Daily Dot? Check out the Upstream Podcast, tackling the week in streaming entertainment, and We’re All Gonna Die, our weekly politics roundtable.

Matt Silverman

Matt Silverman

Matt Silverman is the director of video and producer of 2 Girls 1 Podcast at the Daily Dot. He has been making internet shows and viral videos for nearly a decade, and has directed top talent including John Oliver, Kevin Bacon, Kate McKinnon, Alton Brown, and the Sesame Street Muppets. Silverman is also the creator of FREE DAD VIDEOS, a comedy and music channel with his young children.