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Elsagate is a neologism/term referring to the controversy surrounding web series on YouTube and YouTube Kids that are categorized as "child-friendly" and/or are marketed towards kids but contain themes that are inappropriate for children. Most web series under this classification are notable for presenting content such as graphic violence, sexual situations, fetishes, obscene language, drugs, alcohol, injections, toilet humor, and dangerous or upsetting situations and activities. They are now mostly known for the YouTube Kids cartoons. The neologism is derived from Elsa (a character from Frozen) + -gate (a suffix for controversies).
Why They're NOT Made for Kids
- Most of them are very cringe-worthy and lazily made.
- Although some are innocent, many are disguised to be innocent and many children go down the rabbit hole by straying into utterly unsafe content such as blood and gore, sex, death, suicide, murder, flatulence, urine, fecal matter, injuries, pregnancy, fetishes, and dangerous or upsetting activities and situations.
- There can be two explainable reasons: either the people behind these videos are perverts who have shocking sexual fetishes that they are trying to introduce to children, or are greedy individuals who try to make money from oblivious kids.
- It is possible that this amount of gross and raunchy content could be to attract children as many of them being young would be captivated by how popular cartoon shows or films such as Spongebob, Teen Titans Go, or Despicable Me have gross-out humor and the creators try to emulate them but in a more twisted way which would supposedly attract their audience more.
- Even the non-sexual ones can feel perverted.
- There are several videos with various characters and their properties that are used without permission, such as:
- Spiderman from the franchise of the same name.
- Elsa from Frozen (hence the name Elsagate).
- Minions from Despicable Me.
- Batman from the franchise of the same name (although to a lesser extent).
- The Hulk.
- The Joker.
- Characters from Minecraft.
- My Little Pony FIM.
- Characters from the 2016 reboot of The Powerpuff Girls.
- Characters from Peppa Pig.
- Tom and Jerry from the franchise of the same name.
- Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars.
- Characters from Hello Kitty.
- Characters from the Angry Birds franchise.
- Characters from the Super Mario Bros. franchise.
- Pac-Man from the franchise of the same name.
- Pikachu from the Pokémon franchise.
- Ben 10 from the franchise of the same name.
- Characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.
- Mickey and Minnie from the Mickey Mouse franchise.
- Characters from the Star Wars franchise.
- Rabbids from the franchise of the same name.
- Characters from Teen Titans Go!￼￼.
- Characters from Trolls.
- Characters from Masha and the Bear.
- SpongeBob SquarePants from the TV show of the same name and its franchise.
- Characters from Hey Duggee.
- Characters from the video game Poppy Playtime, especially its main antagonist, Huggy Wuggy.
- Characters from teen/adult anime such as Naruto, One Piece, Dragon Ball Z and Demon Slayer
- These videos are completely nonsensical and gross.
- Gene and someone who looks like Smiler are in a relationship and have two children.
- Minions have their own world and they get pregnant.
- Elsa and Spider-Man are somehow in a relationship as well.
- For some reason, the Trolls are human-sized, despite being tiny in the 2016 movie.
- The Paw Patrol, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Top Wing and Thomas and Friends characters are now fully anthropomorphic humanoids, despite not having humanoid features in their original series.
- They also come up with original characters, such as gummy bears, but they don't even look original and look like they were stolen from other media as well.
- However, there is no need for this as there were published without other companies' consent as stated before.
- Most of them have misleading thumbnails and are clickbait. The channels can also have false advertising and are clickbait.
- For example, one thumbnail had Ghostface driving a chainsaw through Spider-Man. And that never happened in the video.
- Besides them being clickbait videos, they're usually compilations, which is something that the videos don't mention.
- The animation used is very cheap and limited, even for Flash standards. It looks like it is rushed and made in a few minutes or less, compared to much better animation taking weeks or even months to make. Plus, you can easily make the animation, or even better stuff, at your very own home, or on video makers like Vyond (previously GoAnimate or sometimes known as Go!Animate), Plotagon, iClone, Garry's Mod, Blender, Machinima, and other well-known types of animation software are used as well. Some of these videos are even made with the Rockstar Editor from Grand Theft Auto V, which is an M-rated game. How far could they go?
- Tons of monotonous stock sound effects. The videos also steal sound and voice clips from other movies, shows, games, and YouTubers. For example, a channel called SMILE KIDS TV used SAMTIME's voice in one of their videos, which is copyright infringement. They even use oversaturated sounds such as the Final Cut Pro suspense sounds.
- When there are educational videos of this type, it's always the subject of colors, the alphabet, or counting. It gets very repetitive and annoying to the point that they don't even have a point at all.
- Many have bypassed YouTube's filtering system, with some even managing to sneak into the YouTube Kids app or Restricted Mode. This could mean children would get easy access to the cartoons as pointed out by many sources online.
- The videos often times have little to no plot and are composed almost entirely of filler.
- They are often rushed so that there are as many videos that get millions of views.
- The titles are in broken English (as most, if not all of them, are from foreign countries, more onto the secondary article), so it seems as they were translated in English from a foreign language, or with Google Translate, or translated word for word (also known as Blind Idiot Translation) or mashed together with English, like Chinglish. In addition, some titles even contain or translate to swears words, which is hypocritical because they're called "kids' channels", and they somehow contain profanity in them, which is completely inappropriate for children.
- As stated, here are some examples: "JOKER VS SPIDERMAN & SPIDERBABIES 💗 Superhero Pranks Frozen Elsa Cartoon Play Doh Stop Motion", "Bad Baby with Tantrum and Crying for Lollipops Little Babies Learn Colors Finger Family", "SPIDERMAN GIANT EGG SURPRISE TOYS Spiderman Opening Surprise Toys Spiderman Videos IRL Kids Video" and so on.
- Obnoxious thumbnails with gaudy backgrounds that are poorly made.
- The inappropriate content can sometimes be taken too far and to the next level, possibly even worse than Happy Tree Friends. Some examples include
- Elsa being to be a sex slave and to dance in a strip club.
- Minions drinking urine and eating feces.
- A thumbnail with Mickey Mouse ripping Minnie Mouse's hand off with blood all over.
- A Teen Titans Go Funniest Moments video, where the thumbnail consisted of rule 34 level graphic pornography of Robin and Starfire in a kids channel which is just appalling to look at.
- A Hungarian channel made a racist video where Romani people are depicted as unhygienic misogynists
- Some of the thumbnails look like the creators are criminals, such as a thumbnail where a pink little girl gets shredded and some human Minnie Mouse watching in shock.
- The music plays over and over again. The most common examples are instrumental nursery rhymes, poorly sung "children's" songs, crappy, off-key "kids' music", and royalty-free stock music.
- Repetitive, cliché-like, gross, and just plain weird trends are used in many videos, such as farting on a character, a baby version of a character cutting a lady’s bikini off (usually the bra) with something sharp, a baby character crying after being left at an airport and/or another location, getting giant bleeding lumps on their heads, failing on an art contest, and even pooping in a bathtub filled with M&M's or other candy types.
- Overused background music. One example is that some videos overplay the infamous "Finger Family" song. Some even use royalty-free music, especially the ones by Kevin MacLeod & the Green Orbs.
- On occasion, there are continuity errors, as in one video, Spider-Man's colors are switched, with red being black and black being red.
- The videos sometimes have no context whatsoever.
- Similar to Robot Chicken, they like to cash in on overrated (if not dead) trends and memes in various media such as the "Dame Tu Cosita (roughly translates to "Give me your little thing" in English)" dance, Fortnite, fidget spinners, Pop-Its, Huggy Wuggy from Poppy Playtime, Among Us, Squid Game, Peppa Pig, Friday Night Funkin', Gangnam Style, Pibby, Mr. Incredible Becoming Uncanny/Canny, IShowspeed Talking Ben Meme, Talking Bella, The Cuphead Show!, the 1000-degree knife and many more.
- They commonly flood the YouTube site. Even if some are taken down, more are uploaded, day after day, and year after year.
- The titles for these videos like to use random buzzwords (i.e "Finger Family", "Learn Colors", "Funny Kids Video", "Fun Toy Videos", etc.), which makes them more deceiving.
- Some of the people who upload these videos can't handle even the slightest bit of criticism. This happened once with Daniel T. Gaming, where he falsely got a copyright strike by DCTC Toy Club (now known as Sandaroo Kids) for using one of their videos in his "Disney Cringe 2" video. Thankfully, Daniel won the claim and got his video back.
- Many people who make them also use the "It's made for kids" excuse just to avoid criticism, which always fails due to the inappropriate content featured.
- Even all of these gross-out videos are deleted, videos about changing diapers to a baby version of a character that has fecal matter and it can be disturbing and even worse that the fecal matter shown in the thumbnail is not deleted yet! Not even the nurse videos that contain the patient character having nipples aren't deleted at all.
- Those type of videos always appeared and suggested in videos about cartoons aimed at toddlers such as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny or Special Agent Oso. Not only do they appear in niche-audience TV shows but there are occasions when those videos are suggested even in media that are not aimed at kids (such as South Park or Robot Chicken.)
- In some of the videos, they even have adult media in them, with examples such as Poppy Playtime, Squid Game, and one of the videos has Adolf Hitler, of all people in them.
- The reason why they have a million or even a billion views is that they use bots and click farms. And certainly, because of their high view count, they may get automatically recommended by Youtube's algorithm and be spread much further.
- Some of those types of channels could hack into someone's YouTube channel and upload their content, just like what "Nursery Rhymes DisneyCars" did to Leeroy Jenkins.
- Many of them have syringes for some reason, which adds to the disgusting factor. Children’s Joy TV is a channel where almost all of their videos have to do with syringes in toy babies’ butts. The most notorious video is where a guy throws syringes into a toy baby’s butt with a paper target on it. Thankfully, his channel got terminated after too many people were reporting it.
- It has been suggested that the depiction of syringes is to normalize injections used to sedate sexual abuse victims.
- Almost all of these videos use the same licensed characters from copyrighted material, which is copyright infringement.
- Even after the thing that happened in November 2017, in the start of 2020 even more "Kids" channels started to exist due to the account change that happened in the same year (marking your channel and videos as “made for kids" or "not for kids"). And due to them being marked automatically as “made for kids” they somehow still manage to BYPASS YOUTUBE'S RESTRICTIONS! There are even channels that have been terminated that have came back again like Doggy Doggy Cartoons (formerly "Toys And Funny Kids Play Doh Cartoons").
- This feature is now being incorporated into mobile game ads, but to a lesser extent. Some games have even started implementing them into the game itself (as a justification for having a game that's exactly like the ads), meaning that Elsagate could plauge the mobile game industry in the near future.
- YouTube is aware of this controversy. Around 2016-2017, YouTube has started deleting these kinds of videos.
- In October 2021, YouTube began to demonetize low-quality kids' content, such as heavily commercial/promotional videos or videos that promote negative behaviors.
- YouTube Kids now has a lot tighter and stricter rules and guidelines about what content to post, due to these cartoons.
- A lot of Elsagate videos are satire that make fun of actual Elsagate videos.
Tips to protect yourself and your children
- Make a playlist of videos that you’ll approve for your children. That way, your kids can watch cartoons that don’t have this type of content.
- There are plenty of official channels that offer authentic episodes and clips; including WildBrain, Kabillion, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., CBeebies, Cartoonito, Nickelodeon Cartoon Universe, NickRewind, PBS Kids, WB Kids, Treehouse Direct, Retro Rerun, Keep It Weird (the latter three of which are for Nelvana cartoons), Kids TV English (for Studio 100 cartoons), BRB Internacional, ZooMoo, Pinkfong, DreamWorks, Cartoon Network, Peacock Jr., Netflix Jr., Peacock Kids, Prime Video Kids, HBO Max Family, Animated Cartoons for Children (for Universal/DreamWorks cartoons), Hasbro, Mattel, Animakids and Boomerang. Of course, check for equivalent channels on your territory if you're not American.
- A few TV shows even have their own official channels, including Mickey Mouse, Winnie-the-Pooh, Thomas & Friends, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly OddParents, Curious George, Arthur, Peppa Pig, Pocoyo, Pokémon, My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake, The Amazing World of Gumball, Adventure Time, Dexter's Laboratory, Johnny Test, Woody Woodpecker, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Maisy Mouse, Peter Rabbit (2012), Mofy, Miffy, Hello Kitty, Fireman Sam, Postman Pat, Pingu, Noddy, Musti, LazyTown, Pinkfong, Yo Gabba Gabba, Franklin, Little Bear, Blue’s Clues & You!, Barney & Friends, Sesame Street, The Muppets, Gummibar, Bob the Builder, Fifi and The Flowertots, Roary the Racing Car, The Powerpuff Girls, Garfield, Chuggington, Ben 10, Kid vs Kat, Toopy and Binoo, VeggieTales, Naruto, One Piece, Peanuts, Jelly Jamm, Superbook (both 1981 and 2011 versions), Oggy and the Cockroaches, Zig and Sharko, Let's Go Luna, Molly of Denali, Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum, Steven Universe, The Loud House, The Casagrandes, and Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!. Some shows, like Gravity Falls, Phineas & Ferb, Amphibia, The Owl House, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Hilda, and Ready Jet Go, don't have their own YouTube channels, but you can still find clips or full episodes of them on Disney Channel, Peacock Kids, PBS Kids, Netflix Family/Kids and more respectively.
- Or, if your family wanted to watch something they want, you could also buy the official (VHS/DVD/Blu-Ray/iTunes/Amazon, etc.) releases of the shows (Example: Spongebob Squarepants: The Complete 1st Season)
- Supervise and watch said videos with children to check for inappropriate content.
- Report the videos, and if necessary, the channel, if it doesn't have child-friendly content. It is better to do so on the channels that imitate kids shows to look nice but aren’t at all.
- Use the filter "Restricted Mode". Keep in mind that it isn’t fully accurate, though.
- Click the "not interested" button if any of these videos show up on a video that is not related to these cartoons.
- If these videos keep appearing on the related videos section, go to your watch history and remove the YouTube Kids Cartoons from your history by hovering over the video and clicking on the X button.
- Always analyze the video if it looks suspicious or if it has a weird and crazy long title. Don't judge these videos just by the characters, channel name, description, thumbnail, and/or title. You might be fooled by trusting the content at first sight.
- If your kids like these types of videos, check certain videos to see if any inappropriate contents are in them, and save the clean ones in a playlist.
- YouTube Kids is ideal, but be careful, as some of these videos can pop up there.
- Leave auto-play turned off on YouTube, as the auto-play feature is incredibly useless because it plays random videos until you turn it off.
- If you can get the Safe-Vision app. It will ask for your child's age and it will give a good list of videos for your child to watch. You can even go to Parent Mode to select some good videos that are blocked to be unblocked.
- Inspect Element can help as well, as it can remove these videos from the recommended. But please note that it isn't permanent.
- If possible, download the YouTube Go app. You can save approved videos and watch them offline. However, if you have an iPhone, then you can't get the app, as it's not available on iOS yet (But is available on Android, luckily).
- If you don't have cable or satellite television, but have YouTube and your kids want to watch cartoons, try searching a movie or TV show name and you can buy the movie or TV show you searched, or in real-life you can find some DVDs and/or Blu-Rays (if you have a DVD or a Blu-Ray player) at retailers such as Walmart, Target, Best Buy, McKay's, or any store (Including equivalent stores in your country if you are, once again, not American) that stocks cartoon DVDs or Blu-Rays. If you can't find any, then you can find some on online stores, like eBay (beware of scalpers and scammers though), Walmart or any other store (even any other equivalent stores in your country again), or mostly on Amazon.
- If you want, find children's videos on YouTube, but the ones that really want to teach something to children, that they can give them something productive and useful for their life and if it can be something beyond the colors (such as alphabet, math, multiplication tables, animals, shapes or even a foreign language as well, such as Spanish).
- YouTube Kids has an option that allows you to approve certain videos for your kids, so you can turn on that feature and make sure that your kid is watching specific content that you find appropriate for them.
Ever since the people behind the really weird and inappropriate "kids’ videos" knew about their popularity, they have also started resurfacing their content because of #ElsaGate which is fundamentally a subreddit full of people sharing all the info they have on all the explicit "kids' channels". The "Welcome to #Elsagate" paragraph shown on the right side of the subreddit reads: #ElsaGate refers to a wave of videos being produced by different channels, containing pop culture characters (typically Western) that are shown doing bizarre and usually violent/sexual acts. The reasoning for the existence of these varies. For example - some believe, controversially, that it is a form of communication used by child pornographers; others believe that it is to appeal to children for maximum ad revenue. Others believe that it started as a project for maximum revenue, and has now derailed into bizarre competition. The majority of the live-action videos are made in Russia and the animations in India.
"YouTube Kids Be Like/YouTube Kids at 3 AM" Memes
Back in February of 2021, a user named El Benja made a meme titled "YouTube Kids A Las 3 AM". A few months later, memes by the title of "YouTube Kids Be Like" surfaced on YouTube, satirically mocking the bizarreness of a majority of the content seen on YouTube Kids.
WARNING: This section is NSFW/NSFL. It may contain content disturbing or unsettling to some viewers.
About the controversy