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Common Questions About Colon HydrotherapyOne of the biggest trends to hit the market for health and medical tourism is colon hydrotherapy. But how effective is this form of therapy and how can we proceed further? To know more about colon hydrotherapy, we have put together the common questions and concerns people undergoing this procedure often come up with.

Questions about Colon Hydrotherapy

#1 What does colon hydrotherapy involve?

Colon hydrotherapy is known as high enemas, colon irrigation or colonics. It is an effective and safe method for eliminating toxins from the large intestine sans the use of drugs. A controlled method of cleansing the colon, it uses a mechanical flow of warm and pure water which is temperature regulated and filtered, further infused into the colon by a sterilized nozzle through the rectum. As a result of this, human excretion becomes softer and looser, leading to evacuation through peristalsis in a natural process. This is successively repeated till the intestine cleanses.

#2 How does a colon function?

The colon is just another name of the large intestine. It is the end portion of the human GI tract. A muscular tube of close to 5.5 to 6 feet long, it has a diameter of close to 2.5 inches. The key functions of a colon are absorbing water, and minerals, and the formation as well as fecal elimination matter. The colon or large intestine contains 60 numerous varieties of micro flora and/or bacteria that makes up close to 70 percent of the dry weight of feces. These good bacteria are excellent for aiding digestion, promotion of vital nutrients and production, maintain acid base or pH balance and prevent bad gut bacteria from proliferating. This bacteria which is good offers critical functions such as retention of folic acid, vitamin K, B complex and other valuable food nutrients.

#3 Why is colon hydrotherapy needed?

Problems like constipation and infrequent bowel movement can be a real problem. Constipation also slows down the time of transit, increasing putrification and fermentation of food that has not been digested by yeast and bacteria. Additionally, the bacteria and yeast give off toxic waste matter such as acids and gases. These substances lead to inflammation and damage the intestinal wall cells. Toxins enter the blood stream through the intestinal wall causing all kinds of ailments from autoimmune disorders to even migraines and headaches. Chronic constipation can be linked to a lot of problems. As per the Gastroenterological Association, constipation can signal underlying disorders like cancer. Poor bowel management can lead to health issues. The bowel has to be cared for before other healing can take place in most disorders.Using colon hydrotherapy, you can clean out your larger intestine.

#4 What are the signs the colon is not working properly?

Some of the signs that your colon is malfunctioning and needs colon hydrotherapy include chronic fatigue, headache, halitosis, constipation, flatulence, arthritis and brain fog. Other signs of a colon malfunction include pot belly, obesity, indigestion, PMS, depression, bloating and body odor. Leg swellings, tension, allergies, brittle hair and nails, backaches and late night circles or asthma are some of the other signs your colon may be malfunctioning.

Other signs of a problem include irritable bowel syndrome, This is when the colon becomes swollen, due to the large intestines not functioning well. IBS symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, spasms, ab pain, excess mucus in the colon and excretion, fatigue, depression and heart burn. This syndrome can be induced by fungal, parasitic or bacterial infections, stress, allergies, inadequate enzyme production and more.

#5 How long has colon hydrotherapy been around?

Colon hydrotherapy has been around for a long time now. It was recorded first in the 1500 BC in ancient Egyptian document known as Eber Papyrus. The greatest physician since Hippocrates is Galen and he suggested the use of enema therapy. In early times, the procedure was carried out using hollow water reeds to induce water flow into the colon. Colon hydrotherapy has been brought to prominence during the early 20th century by Dr. Kellogg. It was reported by the doctor in the 1917 JAMA article in over 39 thousand as a result of exercise, colon hydrotherapy and diet succeeded in eliminating GI disease. Towards the start of the 1950s, colon hydrotherapy was flourishing in the US. The Beverley Boulevard in CA was known as colonic row. It was in the mid-1960s that the use of colon irrigation and colon hydrotherapy dwindled till 1972 and colon-therapy instruments were even removed from nursing homes and hospitals. Medical doctors favor the use of laxatives to clear up problems. At this time, removal of the colon also started, but colon hydrotherapy is now back in vogue.

#6 LIBBE System of colon hydrotherapy works in what way?

LIBBE stands for Lower Intestinal Bottom Bowel Evacuation. It is a gravity fed water system called the open system. There is no pressure in the water flow. As a result there are no leaks, blowouts or smells. This procedure results in a gentle cleanse. The temperature can be controlled for maximum benefit and comfort. Additionally, check valves prevent toxins from returning to the water supply. The water is gravity fed.

#7 How does the gravity fed or open system differ from the close one?

Gravity fed or open system has the following features. The rectal tube is around the size of a 2 size pencil in diameter and it is inserted to the depth of 1.5 to 2 inches into the rectum. There is zero risk of perforation as water arrives in the colon by gravity, not pressure. Additionally, the insertion can be carried out by you in private. The tube only carries water to colon and any size fecal matter can be removed with ease. There is no chance of using the restroom or pushing water out of a rectum. Additionally, release of urine during the session is permitted. Knobs to control the machine remain under the patient’s control. Use less or more water flow, turn off the nozzle to take a break when you want or make any more changes. Privacy is respected using this method. You can even listen to music, read etc while the session is on. The inbuilt vent system ensures the odor is eliminated. Systems have an in built spray hose to wash and clean post the session. The session does not involve the continuous presence of a therapist.

The rectal tube is close to 5 inches in length and it will be inserted to this depth in the rectum. The diameter is large enough to ensure the anal sphincter muscle will be blocked during the entire session and guarantees zero leakage around the area or tube. Filling and releasing through the tube is around 5/8th of an inch in diameter. The opening is not big enough for usual excretions. The therapist has to be there for the entire session and a restroom may have to be used. Tubes may also leak, though incidence of this is rare.

#8 Who needs colon hydrotherapy?

An average US resident does not have a colon that is healthy. This is because the usual American diet is low in fiber, high in fat, and heavy on processed, bleached and refined foods apart from being high in toxins and preservatives. This is the primary reason colon becomes unhealthy. As refined and high fat foods move through the colon, fluids can be absorbed through the process of digestion and sticky waste results. This clings to the walls of the large intestine and gives off toxins, putrifying in the process. Further, the toxins from the accumulated waste when absorbed from the digestive system onto the blood stream, can cause autointoxication or toxicity and poisoning impacting physiological and emotional health in a negative way and create serious health and weight problems.

#9 What does a colon hydrotherapy session involve before and after?

signs the colon

Photo by: Mikael Haggstrom/ CC BY

Before the colon hydrotherapy session, you need to refrain from consuming solid food at least 5 hours prior to the appointment. Going for colonics on a complete stomach can result in intense cramping, nausea and vomiting. Choose liquid foods for colon hydrotherapy preparation. Also inform your medical practitioner about the supplements and prescription or non prescription medication currently being taken. Check with the pharmacist in case you are taking steroidal anti-inflammatory substances. Dressing in loose and easy to manage 2-piece clothing is important too.

After the therapy, you may not have bowel movement for one or two days post the colonic. Drink a lot of liquids such as herbal teas, pure water and electrolytes. Take probiotic or gut friendly bacteria supplements and if you are not allergic to dairy, eat plain yogurt with additional friendly bacteria. Do not consume raw veggies and fruits for at least three hours though cooked ones like those in soup are fine. Reduce the consumption or avoid meat for the whole day. Be clear about unpleasant symptoms like headaches, nausea, cramping and fatigue experienced in 24 hours or less.

#10 Why is colon hydrotherapy essential for treatment?

The most common health complaints in modern times are digestion. Irritable bowel syndrome stands next to common cold in days missed form work. In the US, 10-15 percent of the American population suffers from IBS. Additionally, US Americans spend USD 725 m on laxatives annually. In recent times, estimated 130,000 new cases of colon and rectal cancer will be diagnosed. Of the population, around 44 percent will succumb to the disease. In the US alone, colon cancer is the second most common form of cancer leading to death. Close to 2 million Americans suffer from colon linked diseases and close to 100,000 colostomy surgeries are performed annually. Moreover, incidence of inflammatory bowel syndrome has reached massive proportions. Middle aged patients with total colostomy and ileostomy were also seen. Many experts hold that an average person has 5-20 pounds of additional waste in the colon and this can lead to massive weight gain. Around 200 million people worldwide are infested by parasites in the intestine and these can be deadlier than cancer. With 20m North Americans affected by malfunction through bowel disorders, this can be one of the leading problems when it comes to hospitalization. Irritable bowel syndrome, gas, constipation, colon cancer and diverticulosis can be avoided through colon hydrotherapy. Colons can be plugged up to 80% with waste matter.

#11 What are the therapeutic effects of colon hydrotherapy?

It has a solvent and antiseptic inducing action on the intestine. Additionally, the impacted fecal material and other toxins can be removed easily from the colon. It also raises the diuretic action of the body and increases the water level. Water undergoes absorption in the body increasing the blood volume, improving circulation and resulting in more bathing of the cells. This further dilutes toxins and removes them, raising chances of elimination of the same through the skin, bowel and kidneys. Besides, the liver is the key organ for detoxifying the body. Constipation is exerted through the liver, resulting in problems for the gall bladder and liver as well as common bile ducts. This causes delays and obstructions in the way organs are drained. So colon hydrotherapy can help here as well. Across time, the shape of the colon may become naturally distorted leading to more colon issues. After the colon hydrotherapy, the large intestine can retain its shape.

Additionally, colonics also balances and cleanses the colon impacting impaction and reducing stagnation. The colon hydrotherapy also removes internal gas, cellular debris and parasites. It improves the tone of the muscles through gentle water infusion along with the colon being emptied, causing peristaltic activity which results in natural bowel movement. This further improves the lymphatic system as the human body does not have a system based pump.

#12 What is the connection between lymph systems and the large intestine?

The lymph system is also part of the wider circulatory system and a major immune system organ. It comprises the whitish fluid which is clear and contains various types of substances such as leukocytes like white blood cells. Its main work is to transport nutrients from the blood to each of the cells and remove waste. Most of the waste is transported to intestines through lacteal. This is the section of the lymph node system that drains into the smaller intestine. Following this, it reaches the larger intestines for elimination.

When the walls of the intestine are affected, the lymph system retains cell waste. The number of lymph nodes in the abs become storage points for waste. Lymphatic fluid thickens and when accompanied by dehydration, it causes the immunity to be negatively affected.

#13 What is the connection between the liver and the colon?

The liver is the key detoxifying organ of the body. Considered the largest gland in the human body, it faces the pressure of constipation, resulting in irritation to the liver, bile duct and gall bladder. This causes a delay and obstruction in the normal drainage of organ. This is what a colon hydrotherapy alleviates. Without the liver functioning effectively, death would result.

#14 How should the success of the colon hydrotherapy be assessed?

Firstly, colon hydrotherapy ensures that two to three bowel movements take place every day. The constipation will ease and fecal matter will be released without pain and strain. The feeling should be that the stomach is completely emptied and no more gas or bloating should be experienced. Along with this, there is no odor in elimination and the feces are disposed off easily after flushing.

#15 Does colon hydrotherapy cause pain?

An impacted colon can impact, leading to cramping and discomfort. This is similar to the pain felt post indigestion or diarrhea. As the colon contracts to expel waste as a result of impaction, people may experience relief and restore their energy and vitality levels. The sessions are relaxing, effective and pleasant.

#16 Is intestinal discomfort or any fatigue the result of colon hydrotherapy?

Consider that a lot of debris and toxins will be removed due to the cleansing. As a result, the person undergoing colon hydrotherapy may experience fatigue, nausea and chills. It is essential to rest post the colon hydrotherapy and apply a warm heating pad to the abs. Additionally include liquids in your diet, including broths, peppermint tea and soups. The discomfort is temporary and will pass in 24 hours. This is a reason why 4 sessions in 2 weeks are ideal for it can speed up detox.

#17 Should those with diarrhea undergo colon hydrotherapy?

Diarrhea is a condition that stems from intestinal irritation. This irritation is brought about due to food allergies, food poisoning, toxicity, incomplete digestion of food, fecal impaction, bacterial and parasitic toxins. Colon hydrotherapy removes the toxins from the colon leading to irritation.

#18 Can one have a colonic during menstruation?

It is essential to have a colonic during the periods. This is because the flow does not interfere with treatment. Clients also report a fall in cramping that normally results during periods.

#19 Can colon hydrotherapy affect the impact of flora or good bacteria balance in the colon?

As our GI tract contains billions of live bacteria, some being good for health while others not, there is need to understand how colon hydrotherapy can impact this. In healthy individuals, 80 to 85 percent of the ratio of bacteria in the body is good or neutral as against 15-20 percent of bad bacteria. But unfortunately, most people experience the opposite today. Friendly or good bacteria does not stick to colon walls filled with debris. Colon hydrotherapy is critical for cleansing out the bad flora as well as the environment in which it expands. Good gut bacteria can only survive and grow in an environment that is clean. Probiotics helps to improve bacterial balance in the larger intestine. Some forms of colon hydrotherapy like the LIBBE procedure even introduce probiotics at the close of the hydrotherapy session.

#20 Does colon hydrotherapy impact electrolyte balance?

Electrolytes are those mineral salts that carry electrical charge needed for a body to maintain a balance that is healthy. Colon hydrotherapy causes the body to hydrate, and during therapy, water washed out of the colon is not pulled out from the body. So there is no electrolyte imbalance, though there may be some mineral loss like that of regular bowel movements in colon hydrotherapy. The minerals can be replenished through a healthy meal.

#21 What is the difference between an enema and colon hydrotherapy?

Enema includes just a single injection or evacuation. On the other end of the spectrum, colon hydrotherapy is a continual bathing process for cleansing and therapies. An enema reaches the lower part of the colon and the rectum of around 7 inches, while colon hydrotherapy reaches around 5.5 to 6 feet. Medical specialists have held that a single colon irrigation is equal to thirty enemas.

#22 Is colon hydrotherapy safe for individuals with all medical conditions?

There are some medical conditions which do not allow for colon hydrotherapy. This includes aneurysm, uncontrolled seizures, hypertension, cirrhosis of liver, renal insufficiency, congestive heart failure or colon cancer. Colonics are also disallowed during the first and last pregnancy trimester. Clients should wait for at least six weeks after surgery of the abs to try colonics. Additionally, colonics are not allowed for those with colitis, diverticulitis and Crohn’s disease. Additionally, certain medications are also not allowed during hydrotherapy as they thin the walls of the intestine and this includes oral steroidal anti inflammatory medicines.

#23 Do you need colon hydrotherapy if you have regular bowel movements?

A person with a colon that is healthy has regular of around 2-3 bowel movements. Elimination should be complete and odorless besides which colon dysfunction is signaled by hard fecal matter too. In a world teeming with germs, toxins, air pollutants, radiation and chemicals, eating certain foods is the only way out for warding off preservatives, herbicides and pesticides. But still the bowel can become toxic and spread the poison to other parts of the body instead of delivering nutrients. Cleansing permits the accumulation of mucoid plaque to rebuild the bowel and the liver and protect yourself from disorders and diseases. This is also good for deterring oncoming flu or cold symptoms. Toxins can grow in the body as a result of consuming acidic foods like caffeine, sugar, alcohol and white flour. When the bowel increases in acidity, it can get protection through secretion of mucilaginous substances lining up the entire wall of the intestine. In those who are healthy, pancreatic enzyme works on the mucus and moves it off the intestinal membranes within some days and normal digestion is restored. Most persons ingest decaying foods and stimulants each day. This causes layers of the mucus to be secreted to the digestive tract. The pancreas are unable to meet the demands of the body for removing mucus layers and they can even inhibit peristaltic action. Additionally, this plaque causes indigestion, gas, bloating, slower transit time, diverticuli and colitis.

Colon toxicity can also cause layers of fat around the belly. By adopting a simple health regimen, a distended ab can can signal fecal aggregation. An average person who is normally overweight for their height and age has 10 to as much as 25 pounds of dry fecal matter stuck in their colon, All weight challenges can be traced to imbalances in digestive tract or colon as the prime contributor.

#24 How much of the large intestine is cleansed with this hydrotherapy technique?

To ensure that the complete length of the large intestine or colon can be cleansed with colon hydrotherapy, many sessions may be needed.

#25 Can contamination occur due to use of a colon hydrotherapy machine?

There are no issues of contamination if the colon hydrotherapy machine is properly maintained. Sterile hoses which can be disposed and disposable tubes are also beneficial. The disposables are used only once during a single therapy period. Great detailing and care goes into cleaning the table post the client session. Germicide disinfectant and cleaners can be a good way to sanitize the equipment. Carbon filter for de-chlorinating the water needs to be regularly changed. The whole system must be properly cleaned to ensure users do not suffer from infections.

#25 Is a colonic safe?

Colon hydrotherapy is carried out under professional medical care. Modern and hi-tech equipment is used to maintain the water temperature and pressure within safe limits. Medical standards hold that single use, disposable speculum is used for every treatment. It does not even hurt. The colon may contract at the time of treatment but while it cleanses, all you might feel is a mild cramping sensation.

#26 How long does colon hydrotherapy take?

Each session takes up to 45 minutes, so with changes in time, one needs to permit at least an hour. The first treatment may take longer as therapists review medical history and assess bowel health before proceeding with the therapy.

#27 What is the water used for therapy?

Water needs to be potable and filtered for your complete safety and warmed up to body temperature or slightly above for maximum comfort.

#28 How does a colonic affect the diet?

After the colon hydrotherapy session is over, you need to carry on with your everyday routine including drinking and eating. Avoid foods that irritate or upset the stomach and avoid alcohol. Therapists can offer advice on eating options that are healthy to maintain benefits gained from the treatment. The treatments needed will depend on why you need the colon in the first place.

#29 Are there any later effects of a colon hydrotherapy session?

Most folks feel great after colon hydrotherapy and experience vitality and renewed energy. Some clients may feel unwell for 24 hours post the procedure. If you
feel unwell for longer periods of time, consult your doctor.

#30 Is a colonic painful?

Generally. there is no pain due to a colonic. There are some cases of discomfort if there is constipation or waste is hard, and undigested. Colonics mostly has a soothing and relaxing effect on the body, unless you have a lot of toxins in your large intestine.

Most clients experience positive results and need to be guided about the number and frequency of colonics they need to take.

#31 Why should a colonic be used instead of just enemas, laxatives or suppositories?

Enema, medicines or herbal laxatives and suppositories are advantageous in some ways. However, they do not work as a substitute for colon hydrotherapy. This is because they are excellent for emptying only part of the colon, specifically its last eight to twelve inches or the rectum. Colonics helps to clear more of the waste debris. Additionally laxatives work for relieving temporary bouts of constipation. For optimal cleansing, colon hydrotherapy is the best choice.

#32 What are the benefits of colonics?

Colon hydrotherapy clears up the large intestine and prevents the livers or kidneys from being impaired. Cleansing and healing the colon also results in weight loss and strengthens the immunity. It removes parasitic bodies from the stomach and improves metabolism besides aiding in nutrient absorption. It also relieves pressure on abdominal organs, lowering pain and discomfort experienced here. It tones the abs, boosts the functioning of the digestive and circulatory systems and improves mental clarity.

#33 Is colon hydrotherapy habit forming?

The colonic is an important tool to clean the colon. The objective is to have a well functioning colon. If the bowel movements do not return to normal you may need more colonics. Debris built up in the bowel over the years must be removed. Material in the colon can decrease muscular action. Colonics are not habit forming. These are merely preventative measures to keep the system clean and naturally 100% functional.

#34 What can a colonic accomplish for the large intestine?

It cleanses the colon and thereby strengthens and exercises the colon muscles. It also reshapes the colon and stimulates reflex points. Additionally, peristaltic wave is created when smooth muscles in GI tract contract to force food into the tract. Remember that a colon with debris can come in the way with this. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter linked with the initiation of peristalsis.

#35 Laxatives can be addictive or not?

Long term use of laxatives, even herbal ones like Cascara Sagrada, Turkey Rhubarb, Senna and Aloe can irritate and weaken the colon, preventing easy bowel movements naturally. Colon experiences laxatives like irritants and releases them along with stool from the body. Long term use of laxatives can cause the colon to be sluggish and weak.


These are the common FAQs that patients considering or about to undergo colon hydrotherapy may have. Colonics are a safe procedure and you can experience a host of positive benefits as a result of this. So get to a medical practitioner and assess if colonic irrigation could be required for your system to cleanse itself.

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Chrome, family, Google, kids, parental controls, parents, Tech

Google is preparing to launch a new set of parental control features for users of its Chrome browser. The announcement was made in an email sent this week to users of its current system for parental controls and other restrictions called “Chrome Supervised Users,” which is soon shutting down.

Chrome Supervised Users was first launched into beta back in 2013. The feature allowed a parent to lock down the Chrome browser on a device, including by blocking access to certain websites, enabling SafeSearch for filtering Google Search results and keeping a history of websites visited.

This feature set will now be deprecated, said Google’s email shared with the program’s users.

“Since we launched Chrome Supervised Users in beta preview over four years ago, Chrome and the way we use computing devices have evolved significantly,” the email explained. “We’ve learned a lot in these four years, and heard feedback about how we can improve the experience for you and your children. Based on this feedback, we are working on a new set of Chrome OS supervision features specifically for the needs of families to launch later this year,” it said.

Starting on Friday, January 12, 2018, users will no longer be able to create or re-import supervised users. However, users will still be able to use their existing Chrome Supervised Users on Chromebooks, Windows, Mac and Linux.

Then, on January 15, 2018, remote supervision available at will no longer be available. That means parents will no longer be able to change browsing restrictions for existing supervised users (i.e. their kids).

The email additionally points users to the newer Family Link parent control solution, which launched to the public in September. This service allows parents to create Google Accounts for their children, then manage their browsing history in Chrome for Android.

However, this solution today only addresses mobile devices, while Chrome Supervised Users was meant for desktop users.

It seems likely that the new parental control features coming to Chrome later in 2018 will be an extension of Family Link to the desktop, but the email didn’t specify this.

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Apps, Facebook, family, kids, Messenger, Mobile, parents, Social, Tech

Messenger Kids, Facebook’s new app designed to allow those under the age of 13 to more safely communicate thanks to parental controls, is today launching on Fire tablets. The service had originally debuted on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch in early December, but today’s launch will also see it arrive on the Amazon Appstore in the U.S., as well.

The app’s debut has not been without controversy.

The move comes at a difficult time for Facebook and for social media in general, where there are increasing concerns about social media’s ability to addict adults, and the impact that screen time has on children in particular.

Just this week, for example, Apple responded to investor concerns that the company needs to do more in terms of giving parents a way to limit children’s phone use. Apple said it would add new parental control features to its software.

Facebook, meanwhile, has been criticized across a number of fronts over the past year or so, from its ability to spread disinformation and create divides to how it’s able to hijack users’ brains to create an addiction of sorts. In that light, the launch of Messenger Kids has been criticized as the equivalent of cigarette marketers targeting underage smokers.

That said, as a parent myself, it’s one of those things that’s not as simple to dismiss as you might think.

The truth is, young kids are messaging each other anyway – through apps like, Snapchat and on iMessage. None of these have any tools for parental controls, which actually makes it harder to for parents who do try to monitor their children’s usage of devices and communication software when they’re young.

It’s very difficult today to help guide kids to the online world – and, yet, it’s still something that has to be done. Though we may not like it at times, the web is not going to go away, nor will people all of a sudden stop communicating and networking online.

Facebook, at least, has done something – even as the major tech companies, like Apple, have ignored parents’ concerns for years on this front.

Whether Facebook is the right company to aid in this matter, however, is a valid question. Its interests, after all, are about developing a new generation of users who become reliant on its platform, so it can continue to grow its ad business to the tune of billions.

The new Fire tablet version of Messenger Kids is here.

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children, content, family, Google, kids, Media, parent, Tech, video services, Videos, YouTube, youtube kids

Now that its bottom line is being affected, YouTube says it will begin to take additional steps to protect its advertisers and creators from inappropriate content on its network. In a blog post authored by YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki on Monday, the company said it will increase its staff to over 10,000 in 2018 to help better moderate video content.The news follows a series of scandals on the video-sharing site related to its lack of policing around content aimed at childrenobscene comments on videos of children, horrifying search suggestions, and more.

The company has been suffering from the fallout of accusations that it has for too long allowed bad actors to game its recommendation algorithms to reach children with videos that aren’t meant for younger viewers. At the same time, it has seemingly fostered a community of creators making videos that involve putting kids in concerning, and even exploitive, situations.

One example, the channel ToyFreaks, was recently terminated after concerns were raised about its videos, where a fathers’ young daughters were filmed in odd, upsetting and inappropriate situations, at times.

YouTube had said then the channel’s removal was part of a new tightening of its child endangerment policies. It also last month implemented new policies to flag videos where inappropriate content was aimed at children.

It has since pulled down thousands of videos of children as a result, and removed the advertising from nearly 2 million videos and over 50,000 channels.

Having policies is one thing, but having staff on hand to actually enforce them is another.

That’s why YouTube says it’s now planning to increase its workforce focused on this task. While the blog post from Wojcicki only offered the number of total hires it planned to have on staff by next year, a report from BuzzFeed notes this “over 10,000” figure represents a 25 percent increase from the current staffing levels.

However, YouTube still relies heavily on algorithms to help police its content. As Wojcicki noted in a blog post, YouTube plans to use machine learning technology to help it “quickly and efficiently remove content that violates our guidelines.”

This same technology has aided YouTube in flagging violent extremist content on the site, leading to the removal of over 150,000 videos since June.

“Today, 98 percent of the videos we remove for violent extremism are flagged by our machine-learning algorithms,” Wojcicki wrote. “Our advances in machine learning let us now take down nearly 70 percent of violent extremist content within eight hours of upload and nearly half of it in two hours and we continue to accelerate that speed,” she added.

The goal is now turn those technologies to a more difficult (and sometimes less obvious) area to police.

While some content is easier to spot – like videos where kids seem to be in pain, or being ‘pranked’ by parents in a cruel fashion – other videos exist in a much grayer area.

There are so many parents who have roped their kids into their quest for YouTube stardom, it’s hard to draw a fine line between what’s appropriate and what’s not.

One question that needs to be raised is to what extent can a preschooler or schoolager really consent to participating in mom or dad’s daily videos? Shouldn’t they be free to play instead of constantly instructed to act out various skits, or have the camera trained on them nonstop? These channels, after all, aren’t just the occasional fun video – they are often full-time jobs for parents. There are laws in the U.S. around child labor, and child actors in particular, but YouTube has continually danced around that line, as it’s “not really TV” – and that means it doesn’t have to play by TV’s rules regarding deceptive ads, junk food ads, and more.

In addition to the new policies and promises of increased staffing, YouTube also says it will create regular reports where it’s transparent about the aggregate data regarding the flags it receives, and the actions it takes to remove videos and comments that violate its content policies.

And most importantly, in terms of its business, YouTube says it will more carefully consider which channels and videos are eligible for advertising using a set of stricter criteria, combined with more manual curation.

“We are taking these actions because it’s the right thing to do,” wrote Wojcicki. “Creators make incredible content that builds global fan bases. Fans come to YouTube to watch, share, and engage with this content. Advertisers, who want to reach those people, fund this creator economy. Each of these groups is essential to YouTube’s creative ecosystem—none can thrive on YouTube without the other—and all three deserve our best efforts.”

Personally, I’d love it if YouTube cut off the ability for creators to make money from videos featuring children, period. Maybe the too-young stars could finally get a break and just be allowed to just go be kids again. But I won’t hold my breath.


Featured Image: nevodka/iStock Editorial

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child, children, family, Google, kids, Media, parents, Tech, YouTube, youtube kids

Following consumer outrage over YouTube’s handling of disturbing videos aimed at children on its network, the company has now banned one of the more controversial kid channels it hosted, Toy Freaks. The channel, the 68th largest on YouTube with over 8.5 million subscribers, was often criticized for its vile and seemingly exploitive videos featuring a dad and his daughters, which many said bordered on abuse.

YouTube tells TechCrunch the ban is part of a new tightening around the enforcement of its child endangerment policies. It says it will now remove videos to protect “viewers, uploaders and children” when the company receives signals that cause concern.

The removal is part of a broader review of similar content on YouTube, the company also said.

If you’re not familiar with ToyFreaks, consider yourself lucky.

Past videos on the channel included the dad filming the girls in obvious distress, screaming or crying, for example. In one video, the dad follows his daughter into the bathroom, as she cries with a mouthful of blood from a tooth falling out. In another, he sneaks into the bathroom and dumps a bucket of frogs in the tub while the girls are bathing in order to scare them. More videos show the school-aged kids dressed as babies with pacifiers in their mouths, or spitting up on one other.

The videos are presumably scripted, and focus on gross-out humor, but they’ve still disturbed a number of viewers as it’s not clear to what extent a child can knowingly consent to participate in videos like this. It also appears the children are actually in distress at times, and that’s being used as fodder for views. (Way to go, dad.)

The channel was specifically mentioned in the recently viral Medium post by James Bridle as one of the more troubling examples of videos targeted towards children that seem to cross a line. Notably, it has for a long time served as one of the origin points for many of the copycat videos that now spread across YouTube.

Today, Toy Freaks is gone.

In its place is a message that “This account has been terminated for violating YouTube’s Video Guidelines.”

The ban follows other actions YouTube has taken following Bridle’s analysis of the YouTube problem and a report from The New York Times.

Bridle’s post was largely speaking about “kid’s YouTube” – meaning video content aimed at children on YouTube – and not necessarily the standalone YouTube Kids mobile app.

Today’s YouTube can be scary and weird for children. They’re often targeted with inappropriate content thanks to video creators who are gaming YouTube’s recommendation technology to increase their views – even when kids are harmed.

And though YouTube Kids (the app) offers some basic filtering (and a way to turn off search), many disturbing videos have slipped through, The NYT reported.

In response to these reports, YouTube implemented a new policy to age-restrict inappropriate videos – like those that make inappropriate use of family friendly characters – so they wouldn’t make their way over to the YouTube Kids app.

To outright ban a popular YouTube channel, however, is a much bigger step on Google’s part.

Tubefilter and The Outline were the first to spot Toy Freaks‘ takedown.

The Outline also noted KiddieToysReview, which had nearly a million subscribers, had two clips removed – one which had over 62 million views. And Freak Family Vlogs, which is the sister channel to Toy Freaks, has been cut down to just one video, the report also said.

Google responded to a request for comment about its actions with the following statement:

“We take child safety extremely seriously and have clear policies against child endangerment. We recently tightened the enforcement of these policies to tackle content featuring minors where we receive signals that cause concern. It’s not always clear that the uploader of the content intends to break our rules, but we may still remove their videos to help protect viewers, uploaders and children. We’ve terminated the Toy Freaks channel for violation of our policies. We will be conducting a broader review of associated content in conjunction with expert Trusted Flaggers.”

 Greg Chism (of Toy Freaks) has provided the following statement:

Earlier this week, YouTube informed me of concerns that my videos were attracting audience members who do not have childrens’ best interests in their hearts. Many YouTube community members expressed similar concerns, and their willingness to reach out to protect my children and all children from exploitation reinforces my faith in the YouTube community. Victoria, Annabelle and I want to thank our supporters as my girls have had the opportunity to develop their creativity and self-confidence over the past few years. Their future is bright. While it is disturbing to me that anyone would find inappropriate pleasure in our video skits, I deeply appreciate YouTube’s concerns for my family and I could not be happier with having had this remarkable experience.

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