Over the weekend, children who visited Sesame Street’s YouTube site encountered explicit sex videos (with titles such as “First Anal Quest”) instead of videos of their favorite fuzzy puppet characters.

The channel has almost 150,000 subscribers, and usually hosts numerous video clips from the PBS program. But Sunday, the hackers replaced the page’s banner to read, “SESAME STREET: I’TS [sic] WHERE PORN LIVES.” In the profile description, the hackers wrote: “WHO DOESN’T LOVE PORN KIDS? RIGHT! EVERYONE LOVES IT…PLEASE DON’T LET SESAME STREET TO GET THIS ACCOUNT BACK KIDS  …WE GONNA MAKE ALL THE AMERICA HAPPY!”

As reported by CNN, “The show’s channel was taken offline Sunday afternoon, and visitors were greeted with a message from the video website informing them it had been shut down ‘due to repeated or severe violations of our community guidelines.’”

Unfortunately, the damage was already done and, even though the porn has been removed, users continue to post comments on the page referencing the porn videos and explicit content, so any child visiting the site will be greeted by “BRING BACK THE F#$%ING PORN!”

Although YouTube issued a brief statement Sunday noting that the Google-owned video site prohibits graphic content and removes inappropriate posts as soon as they become aware of them, parents should be aware that, despite their statement, YouTube is filled with explicit and graphic sexual content.  While some of this content is sectioned off for adults, any child can just lie about their age to access porn on the site.  Additionally, even seemingly benign videos often have associated video content and comments that include graphic sex acts.

Even though YouTube is incredibly popular with young kids, it’s safest for parents to block the site altogether and use a filter (we recommend SafeEyes or X3watchPro) to prevent their kids from accidentally (or intentionally) accessing X-rated content online.

The pornographers know how impactful their content can be on a young, developing brain, and they are always looking to reach the next generation of porn consumers, which is why many will use dirty tactics like hacking a children’s YouTube site.  Parents should be aware that even when their children aren’t looking for graphic content, if they aren’t using a filter on the computer (or any Internet-connected device), it’s highly likely that their kids will accidentally encounter inappropriate content, through an innocent word search, a hacked account, a misspelled word or mistyped website address.