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What parents should know about inappropriate content on YouTube

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After multiple reports of inappropriate content on YouTube over the past year, “Good Morning America” wanted to take a closer look at the site. How often do kids end up seeing inappropriate content on the video platform? We talked with a group of Philadelphia-area tweens and their parents, who say their children often watch YouTube.

Here's what parents said when asked if they've ever tried to take YouTube away from their kids.

“It’s like the end of the world," said Eve Ehrich, a mother of three kids.

“You’re ending their life for a day," another parent, Jaime Meltzer, said.

Almost all the parents said they have to use some form of parental controls on their computers and mobile devices to try to limit their children's exposure to inappropriate content.

The kids we talked to were all ages 10 to 13 and said they know who's “kid-friendly“ on YouTube.

Sam, 11, said SuperMarioLogan is “one of my favorite channels. It was a suggested video. And I watched it and it kept reeling me in to watch more videos.”

The other two boys in the group said they know “Jeffy,” a puppet on the popular SuperMarioLogan YouTube channel.

“It attracts kids because you wouldn’t think of him as inappropriate because of the way he looks," said 13-year-old David.

Family watchdog group Common Sense Media called SuperMarioLogan “Your basic online nightmare for parents of young kids." The group, who started rating YouTubers this year due to overwhelming requests from parents, noted SuperMarioLogan is intended for ages 17 and older.

“YouTube is the biggest pain point for parents,” Jill Murphy, editor-in-chief of Common Sense Media, told "Good Morning America." “Part of it is parents feeling like they are in the dark and have no idea of what their kids are up to online.”

Even the kids "GMA" spoke with agreed that YouTube doesn’t do enough to block inappropriate content and that it’s not a matter of trust.

“I think that sometimes kids get drawn in. It’s not their fault“ said 13-year-old Aubrey. “It looks kid-friendly. But then you watch it, and you don’t really know that it’s not.”

"GMA" showed some of the kids’ interviews to Murphy.

“Developmentally kids aren’t even primed at that age to have the wherewithal to shut off YouTube, the autoplay. They don’t even have the self-control to manage that,” Murphy said.

The creator of SuperMarioLogan told "GMA" he has lost revenue since YouTube started age-restricting and demonetizing his videos.

"Common Sense Media only viewed our old content, and their review was accurate solely regarding those old videos," he said in a statement. "We invite Common Sense Media to conduct a review of our newer videos, which are much cleaner in content. It’s important to note when we began creating these videos back in 2008, we were kids ourselves. We were just a few teenagers goofing around. Given we were just kids, we did not understand many things about YouTube or the audience we would subsequently attract. Today is much different. We have adjusted our content to appeal to a wider audience."

"While it's in everyone’s interest to ensure children are not exposed to inappropriate content online, it's ultimately the responsibility of the parents, guardians, and/or supervising adults. These are the only people that have control over what their children have access to.”

YouTube in a statement to "GMA" noted that the site offers YouTube Kids, which it dubs as the safe alternative for kids and families.

“Our main YouTube site is for those age 13+... Protecting families is our priority and we created the YouTube Kids app to offer parents a safer alternative for their children," according to the statement. "Beyond that, we’ve ramped up our efforts to age-gate flagged videos on the main app that are better suited for older audiences and increased resources to remove content that doesn’t adhere to our policies. We know there’s more work to be done so we’ve enlisted third-party experts to help us assess this evolving landscape, and we’re launching new tools in YouTube Kids for parents to choose a personalized experience for their child.”

YouTube does state in its terms of service that it is not intended for children under age 13.

However, the parents who spoke with "GMA" were not aware of that aspect of the terms of service.

Additionally, YouTube has tools it says can help parents filter out inappropriate content. “GMA” will take a closer look at those filters Wednesday.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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