Sesame Street’s popular YouTube channel was hacked yesterday, with porn replacing videos of our favorite Muppet characters. The channel was taken down, and Sesame Street has issued an apology to fans. (See CNN for full coverage) It looks like the Sesame Street channel has been restored, but it remains an unsettling reminder of how difficult it is to police the Internet and protect its youngest citizens from inappropriate content.
I am often asked about Internet filters and security software. There are some fantastic packages out there to protect you and your family from unwanted content and also from malicious websites and code. I do recommend using those as part of your Internet Safety plan and I’ll have some coverage there soon. But the bottom line is that the responsibility falls on us, as parents and caregivers to simply pay attention. The Internet is constantly shifting and, as evidenced by yesterday’s events, even the most trusted sites can be hacked.
It doesn’t make sense to spend every moment worried that something bad might happen, but please do keep an eye on your kids as they play/learn/socialize online. The Internet simply isn’t a reliable babysitter.