YouTube and the Case for Compassionate Technology

People are not corner cases; treat everyone with respect.

YouTube scares me on the regular with its horror-movie-ads.

When I worked retail, my store hired a veteran. He was built sturdy, and had the whole macho thing going, so I was surprised one day when I came up behind him, tapped him on the shoulder, and he screamed.

I had been wearing particularly silent sneakers as I walked over the carpeted floor, and hadn’t been thinking that I was outside his peripheral vision. I’d never met anyone with PTSD, and being sensitive to his needs wasn’t anywhere on my radar.

When he spun around, though, looking as if he were about to attack, I realized that I’d better start being sensitive.


Sometimes, to accommodate everyone’s needs, you have to think outside your own comfort zone. Some things won’t necessarily occur to you. I was the first person at work to point out that holding a surprise birthday party for our vet (and jumping out from behind the couch in the break room) might not be the best idea. But I knew from past experience.


YouTube has not yet figured out that the horror movie advertisements that it allows to play before music videos, lectures, or other innocuous content are not sensitive to their users. Children, regular old scardy-cats like me, and people suffering post traumatic stress disorder will be negatively affected by the sudden pump of adrenaline that a face popping out of your phone or computer screen causes to shoot through your veins.

I can deal with it. Children, yeah, modern children see a lot. I doubt you’ll scar them for life. But think for a minute what someone suffering from post traumatic stress disorder goes through.

It might be difficult to fully imagine.


If you see the need to modify this practice, please sign my petition to YouTube. Thank you.