YouTube.com is a great source of information, as well as a way for people to express themselves to the world. There seems to be no limit to what you can find one this site, ranging from the bizzare, to sex, to graphic violence. The site uses a form of viewer self censorship, where if you think a video is in violation of the terms of service, you report it, selecting from a short list of reasons the video is being flagged. After that, the video is reviewed by YouTube.com, and the video is hidden from common view. You must then hit a "confirm" button in order to view it. The site does not seem to allow children to set up an account, but the videos that have not yet been "flagged" as inappropriate are still easily viewed by anyone without an account. The title of the article has a link to one such video that illustrated my point as of Sunday, December 10, 2006 when I came across this.
YouTube.com's position on this is clearly stated in it's posted regulations. Whatever is posted is the responsibility of the poster, and they wish to distance themselves of any liability. With the growing availability of video recordings, and children's inherent desire to mimmick what they see others do, wouldn't the public be better served if YouTube.com made it's site less available? NetNanny.com has been keeping children safe for years, and is simple to set up. Knowing what your children are watching on the internet is a main responsibily of the modern parent. There are many things out there that can confuse and subvert the values you are trying to instill in your children.
The answer to the YouTube.com problem is two fold; ask sites like this to police themsleves better, and keep an eye on what your children see by being more involved. In the end we will only have ourselves to blame if someone were to get hurt because of children watching and immitating the violence they see. Surf this site yourself for a few moments and the problem becomes clear. If you are not impressed by what you find on your own, try using a search word like, "gang" and see what videos pop up. Once the shock of knowing gang members are talking directly to our children starts to subside, look down in the bottom lefthand corner of the screen just under "ratings" and you can see that most of these videos have been viewed tens of thousands of times. I am not one for censorship, but we have an obligation to protect our children while their minds are still forming.