Spoof episodes of popular cartoons are being used to trick children into watching disturbing content online. An investigation by BBC Trending has unearthed hundreds of YouTube videos that appear to be episodes of Peppa Pig and Thomas the Tank Engine, but are actually parodies with inappropriate themes.
For example, one video that appears to be an episode of Peppa Pig features a dentist with a huge syringe. Peppa’s teeth get pulled out, and distressed crying can be heard on the soundtrack. Parent and journalist Laura June stumbled across the episode when she was looking for something for her three-year-old daughter to watch on YouTube.
“This is not like a video of an animated Peppa Pig getting high with Snoop Dogg (that is also available) made for adults to laugh at,” she said. “These videos are for kids, intentionally injected into the stream via confusing tags, for them to watch instead of legit episodes of beloved shows.” Many of the videos feature graphic toilet humour. Some of the darker ones also depict violence and frightening situations.