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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Violated by SpongeBob

For the past couple of months, my five-year-old has been asking to watch "Fire Burning" on the computer. It took his older sisters to explain what the heck this means, and it turns out it refers to a YouTube video they've seen at a friends' house.

Someone has taken the popular(?) song by Sean Kingston(?) and crudely overlaid it to clips from SpongeBob SquarePants' episodes in this video. I say crudely because the characters' mouths hardly seem sync'd to the song's lyrics, but it seems harmless enough.

I was a bit bummed that they had first seen this video at a friends' home before I could see it, but when I learned of it, I put it on and watched it. Most of it. After watching SpongeBob, Patrick and the gang's goofy faces for a few minutes, I got up and wandered away, keeping the music on to hear the rest of the lyrics.


This weekend, with my son square in my lap, I was stuck with my eyes on the screen for the entire four-plus minutes of the song. And at 4:03, this is what I saw, appear on the screen


It was all I could do not to blurt out, "WHAT THE F*CK!" in front of my son. Instead, I quickly closed the screen and then started quizzing the kids:

"have you seen that word before?"
"why do you think it's there?"
"have any of your other friends mentioned it when they've seen the video?"

I told them why the word upset me so much. Why it had no business being there, and that the creator of the video obviously added it for shock value. Maybe he knew how many kids would stumble upon this video and watch it.

But, why put "rape" over a kids' video? What is the purpose?

I'd like to say that after this episode, my kids will never ever watch another video before I can screen it, ALL of it. But, the reality is they go to drop-off playdates now, and, even with parental controls on our computers, I'm not standing over them all the time. And there will be times they see things that I don't want them to see.

And the things they could see could be so, so, so much worse than a word, I know that. And maybe that is what bothers me most of all.

edited to add:

As my sis, Mrs Q, noted, the video now has a flag on it. Anyone who wants to watch the video has to plug in their birthdate which will deter some kids from seeing it. I have to give props to YouTube for putting up this up so quickly.

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Blogger Jessica said...

Oh my God! Seriously! This society is absolutely insane. I can't believe half the crap on YouTube even exists...and then, to think there are people out there adding the word RAPE to a Spongebob video just for some sort of shock value is so absolutely appalling.

How sad. :(

8:33 AM  
Blogger C (Kid Things) said...

That's disturbing.

My 6 year old is all about YouTube these days. It's mostly video game stuff but he also watches some Spongebob. I have to admit, I usually don't pay a lot of attention unless I hear a bad word.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Cooley Horner said...

Wow--That's horrible! When I saw your tweet about this blog post, I thought it was something bad on the actual show, but I didn't realize videos like that were accessible to kids on YouTube (I thought creators had to indicate a "rating" when creating content). Was there an option to flag the video or report it as inappropriate? It's unfortunate that your kids had to see that, but they're lucky to have a good mom who can create a solid teaching moment from a bad situation.

8:51 AM  
Blogger AnnetteK said...

That made me so mad I went to youtube and reported it. I hope everyone else does too!

9:11 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

That is absolutely appalling and sickening.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Suburb Sierra said...

It's a tough thing all around. I heard my daughter telling my son that a boy gave a girl the finger on the bus.

I asked her what that meant and she said, "I don't know. I think it was this one or this one but I don't even know that that means" and she held up both of her index fingers.

Do you say, "Oh no dear, it was this one" and flip her the bird so she's educated? So hard, and according to my neighbor with a 13 year old, it gets MUCH worse...let's get ready.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Mama Goose said...

Yeah, scary and disturbing. My oldest and I once searched you tube for Diego clips and started to watch one where the words had been altered so that Diego was a drug pusher and Dora was his whore. Freaked me out beyond words. WHAT are people thinking?

1:13 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

Oh jeez...

Disturbing doesn't even begin to cover it.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Stacia said...

You want to just shut the computer off and never let them use it again, but that's not the right approach either. What a tough, scary balance to try to negotiate.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Melani said...

That is horrible! Glad someone did report it. Don't people care anymore?

3:49 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

That is AWFUL! I hope you told the parents that let your kids watch that!

7:23 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

Yes, I told the parents (who are awesome people, btw---I think a video like this would fool a lot of people!), and I reported it to You Tube. We'll see if anything happens.

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My kids are constantly looking at various videos on youtube - mostly video game characters, they arent big on sponge bob, and yes, often people do really crude stuff with cartoon characters. Its just teens, to them its really funny to put together the cartoons of their childhood with thier new understanding (misguided as it may be) of sex. My older kids are pretty quick to turn off such stuff, but my 6 yo has no idea. I'm afraid i'm not a very good previewer . . . i have no patience, and, well, my father taught us that swear words were words like any other and we should understand them, and use them appropriately. I'm a bit more cautius than he was, but still . . . I'm pretty laid back about such things.

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Julie said...

That's awful! But then again my kids came home from my brothers home and told me all about the video games their cousins play that are M for Mature....
Nice... they are 9 yo's.....

10:47 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Q. said...


I am NO fan of SpongeBob, but this is just sad. Luckily, the video has been flagged, but the creator should be booted. Stupid, immature and sobering...

3:52 PM  
Blogger Beck said...

WITH my kids actually sitting on me, I once clicked on a you tube link that was FOOTAGE OF AN ACTUAL GANG RAPE.

Luckily, the sound was off and I realized quickly enough what was happening that the computer got immidiately turned off. BUT. It horrified me - obviously - on so many levels and one of the big ones was how easy it was to see that.

I have no pithy answer. This is something that really haunts me.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Queen Momma-Sweet Merciful Crap said...

Nothing shocks me children are past the SpongeBob stage but there's plenty more out there to be wary of...Enjoy reading your blog!

12:33 PM  

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