Web child fight videos criticized

August 1, 2007 - 0:0

Police chiefs have urged websites to remove violent video footage of children fighting, following an investigation by the BBC.

Panorama found that films showing brutal fights between children are regularly uploaded to sharing websites.
Police say the companies should monitor what is posted on their sites and remove any violent or criminal content.
But YouTube, one of the sites found with footage, says it relies on users to ""flag up"" inappropriate films.
The investigation found films showing children as young as 11 and 12 punching and kicking other youngsters.
---------Brandishing handgun
One showed a youth brandishing a handgun and smashing it against a police car. Another shows a laughing teenager jumping on a police car and shattering its windscreen.
Deputy Chief Constable Brian Moore, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said it was the responsibility of internet companies to search their sites for videos of violence and crime.
Look all this is happening, this is real life, this is going on, we're going to show it.
They should then pass the details to police.
He said: ""They are responsible for what is on their products - they are making a profit from this.
""We would question who is in a financially better position to police the likes of YouTube - those in the private sector, who are earning huge amounts of money, or police forces which are currently having to stretch budgets.""
But YouTube, said it did not employ anyone to police what is posted. The site, which is owned by Google, claims pre-screening content is a form of censorship which is not the role of a private company.
A spokesman said the website takes down videos but only if they are flagged by users and subsequently found to breach their guidelines.
----------------Rule breakers
""Sadly as with any form of communication, there is a tiny minority of people who try to break the rules,"" the spokesman said.
""On YouTube these rules prohibit content like pornography or gratuitous violence. We don't want that sort of material on our site, and nor does our community.""
Videos should not be policed by the website itself, it is a collective issue and we should all be involved.
The YouTube spokesman added the website would help police if they were approached for information.
Another website which features in the program, Liveleak, said it checks all videos before hosting them.
Hayden Hewitt, co-founder of the website, defended the inclusion of such fights including one in which a girl had to go to hospital with a detached retina.
He said: ""Of course it's horrible. It's not about me morally defending anything here.
""We have to take a stance of saying 'look all this is happening, this is real life, this is going on, we're going to show it."" (Source: YouTube