2 minute read

C is for Criminal: Sesame Street YouTube Channel Hacked and Replaced with Porn

Last Updated: October 27, 2020

Luke Gilkerson

Luke Gilkerson has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Religion. He is the author of Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

My 3-year-old will be very happy he can still watch his favorite YouTube video, “‘C’ Is For Cookie.” Yesterday Sesame Street’s YouTube channel was taken down after hackers hijacked the channel, replacing Elmo and Big Bird with XXX material. The company responded by taking down their YouTube channel and their website. (Both are now back up.)

Online videos of the popular children’s program have been viewed on YouTube nearly half a billion times (I’m sure my son watching Cookie Monster sing 100 times in a row helped boost that number), and the channel has more than 140,000 subscribers.

Hey, sickos, leave Sesame Street alone.

If I may be so bold, whoever did this is sick and twisted. In our sex-saturated culture it is easy to forget there are many laws against knowingly exposing children to pornography, and with good reason. (For more information on this, read, “Is Porn Raising Your Kids?“)

Of course, this issue is not a new one. For a long time, people have gotten a kick out of exposing people, even children, to porn. For instance, a technique known as “typosquatting” takes advantage of common typos when typing a web address. Your child might misspell his favorite child-friendly website and end up somewhere he has no business being.

When your child is exposed to porn…

In the sad event your child or teen is exposed to pornography there are important steps you should take. I highly recommend an article by Rob Jackson from Focus on the Family, “When Children View Pornography.” Jackson talks at length about how a parent can lovingly and proactively respond to this situation. He also talks about how to prevent future occurrences using a four-pronged approach.

If the problem occurred with the Internet, a filter can be one of your strategies, although it can never replace parental supervision and involvement […] Internet filters are effective, but not perfect. For children and adolescents, a combination of a filter and an accountability web application like Covenant Eyes is better.

Free Resource on YouTube Safety

YouTube has “Community Guidelines” that prohibit the display of pornography, but this usually applies to only blatant material. There are many videos with sexual content on YouTube that technically meet the Guidelines.