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How Logan Paul and his brother are symptoms of a platform with no protection for vulnerable users

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YouTube allows anybody with a camera to upload content about almost anything, but this content can be offensive and inappropriate, especially for younger viewers.

The Paul brothers, Logan and Jake, are examples of YouTubers whose content are often offensive and inappropriate considering the majority of their fanbase are under 18. 

Just before the New Year, Logan Paul, 22, released a series of 'vlogs' (video blogs) of himself as a tourist in Japan, which included one of a suicide victim and his offensive and inappropriate reaction towards them. The video was heavily criticized in the media and was rightfully taken down, with Logan releasing an apologetic video shortly afterward. 

Although Logan was somewhat sorrowful, the damage was already done when a large number of his 15 million subscribers saw it.

Additionally, he did not apologize for his appalling behaviour whilst in Japan, where he videos himself completely disrespecting the community by throwing objects, provoking people, wasting food and being generally obnoxious and disruptive. His behaviour is welcomed by YouTube and its viewers as they purely see his channel as entertaining and arguably do not see the damage he is inflicting on his younger audience.

They can be inclined to believe that such examples of behaviour is acceptable and may be influenced to behave inappropriately at school. Logan Paul is not a good role-model for the younger generation.

His brother is just as bad. The same day as Logan's apologetic video, Jake Paul, 20, uploaded a 'clickbait' video (a video where the title encourages visitors to click on it, even though the content is not entirely related) entitled "I lost my virginity", where the thumbnail image was of a woman in her underwear in an intimate position with a man in bed.

Although the video was again rightfully taken down, YouTube did not originally flag the video as 18+, meaning you did not have to prove your age before you can view the content. Furthermore, Jake Paul joked afterward that he lost his 'skiing virginity' as the video was actually about him skiing for the first time.

Again, despite the video being taken down, the damage was already done to a majority of his 13 million subscribers. Most of his fans are under 18 and therefore should not be seeing this type of content, at least without permission or guidance from an adult. By not flagging the video in the first place, anybody with Internet access could have viewed this video whilst it was up, leaving the younger audiences at risk of seeing content that is too harmful for their consumption. 

Jake should know better given that he also has a wealth of young fans from appearing on the Disney Channel show Bizaardvark. Consequently, he is not a good role-model for the younger generation either.

As a journalist, I admire YouTube's rise and the concept of being able to upload yourself for the whole world to see, but some content creators should seriously think about the impact their videos have on their subscribers before uploading.

I believe that YouTube can do more to make themselves more user-friendly. They need to make it more difficult for children to access content that may be age-inappropriate for them. Perhaps different age certificates may be useful for different videos, like films do with U, PG, 12A, 15 and 18, to truly restrict users to content suitable for their age groups.

I also advise that parents and/or guardians monitor their children's online surfing more closely, or perhaps give an option on YouTube where the carers can ban their children from certain channels if they feel it is impacting them in a negative way.

Hopefully, YouTube will change for the better.

 

 

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