Tech Talk with Lisa Hendey/Son Rise Morning Show (
On a recent episode of the Son Rise Morning Show, we discussed massive and outrageous misstep taken by a popular Youtube vlogging personality. A suicide video posted Sunday night attracted more than six million views and tens of thousands of likes before the renowned vlogger took it down. Even his apology video is trending on YouTube, ranking number one on YouTube's trending videos page for much of Tuesday and racking up millions of views. Because we do not wish to drive more traffic to this particular YouTube channel, we chose to discuss the story without mentioning the vlogger's name or the name of his channel.
  • In the video, the vlogger's group visits the Japanese Aokigahara forest, which is known throughout Japan as "suicide forest." Signs posted there offer a hotline number and urge suicidal visitors to seek help.
  • The group encountered and showed footage of a suicide victim and filmed their reactions, which included shock and sadness but also laughter and disrespect for the victim.
  • An article on has more background on this story.
What is it about YouTube that incentivizes Vloggers to continue to push the envelope with their creations?
  • Vloggers such as this one earn millions of dollars per year - YouTube takes a 45% cut of their advertising revenue.
  • The more money the vloggers make, the more money YouTube makes. Views=dollars. It's estimated that this particular vlogger earned approximately $15 million last year).
Parents have long had concerns over the darker side of Youtube, but this video has caused viewers of all kinds to question YouTube's policy for managing content. How are videos like this currently managed?
  • First, the vlogger in question is only 22 years old and on his own, with no evident adult guidance or supervision.
  • Content is often screened by artificial intelligence or low-level employees, after already being posted.
YouTube issues a statement yesterday on this video, and yet it seems that versions of the censored video are still making the rounds. How is this possible?
  • "YouTube prohibits violent or gory content posted in a shocking, sensational, or disrespectful manner. If a video is graphic, it can only remain on the site when supported by appropriate educational or documentary information and in some cases it will be age-gated.”
  • Other users clone the footage and then insert altered content, deleting the most graphic images, to avoid detection.
As we enter a month focused upon Respect for Life, we can be a part of spreading a culture of life rather than one of darkness.
  • It’s clear to me from his apology that the vlogger realizes what a devastating mistake he made: could this be a teachable moment for families whose children follow him on YouTube?
  • Have a conversation not only about the unborn, but also about the dignity of every human life, including the elderly and the poor.
  • Discuss suicide in an open fashion, study warning signs and keep an open door policy for the teens and young adults in your life.
  The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24/7 to help those at risk for suicide. Call 1-800-273-8255 or visit Listen to the full audio of our conversation. Read more of our Tech Talk columns.
Copyright 2018 Lisa Hendey