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Alesha Davis, a sophomore journalism and english double major from Fort Worth, TX, smiles for a portrait at Ohio University, on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022, in Athens, Ohio.

Animation with Alesha: Horror-ifying children's media is going too far

The “My Little Pony” fan base seems to be going back to its roots as infection alternate universes, or AUs, have rapidly gained popularity in the last few weeks. Drawings ranging from unsettling to gory have infected my TikTok For You page, and while I am currently enjoying the stories and creativity, I cannot help but think back to when my ten-year-old self was horrified by the “My Little Pony” horror movement in the 2010s. 

While innocently looking up videos and speed paints of my favorite ponies, I could not escape creepypastas and gore, things like the Smile HD video and the Rainbow Factory AU overriding innocent content because of their popularity. This resulted in sleepless nights and, eventually, the inability to engage in the fandom — or watch my favorite show at all — as I would be plagued by images of pony-guts just from seeing Pinky Pie’s face. 

Back then, there was no such thing as YouTube Kids, and many parents (including mine) did not know about the restricted mode, leaving me (although I was, admittedly, not monitored) pretty helpless from discovering these in my youth, like many others who recall becoming traumatized when they would innocently click on thumbnails of pretty characters only to be met with horrific deaths. 

Now, I am happy to engage with the horror; the storylines and art are becoming more compelling and interesting than traumatizing. However, it seems the infection AUs have bled into other media. I raised an eyebrow when I first witnessed a “Trolls” infection AU. “Trolls” seemed more innocent than “My Little Pony,” but I reasoned that I likely only thought that because of my childhood experiences. However, after witnessing the bloody art of Chilli Heeler from “Bluey” getting eaten alive by dog zombies, I have to once again think we are taking things too far.

Children’s media has always been a hot spot for horror. Whether it is because kid's stuff is inherently creepy or because people take joy out of twisting what is supposed to be innocent, I don’t know. But I think it has to stop, or at least have better boundaries. Too much horror is marketed towards kids (like the “Poppy Playtime” franchise) or uses pre-existing kid's media, leaving them to stumble upon it accidentally and forever tainting their beloved shows and minds.

Websites like TikTok are 13+, and games like “Poppy Playtime” are rated 12+, but, there is an abundance of “Huggy Wuggy” merch geared towards kids, oblivious parents who allow their kids to innocently look up “Bluey” videos online and hundreds of content creators who take advantage of the two previous factors for monetary gain. Even children watching YouTube Kids still run the risk of being exposed to this content before they are ready. 

I am not trying to rain on any parades. I am not even saying kids shouldn't be allowed to interact with horror. But there needs to be some sort of boundary between kid's horror and adult horror. Little Alesha could handle spooky stories, but she would have appreciated not seeing her favorite pony characters ripped apart in a flurry of blood and guts, and I am sure little Timmy could go without seeing Bingo get eaten alive. Perhaps it is time for us to get more creative and leave the kids alone. 

Alesha Davis is a senior studying journalism and English at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Tell Alesha by tweeting her at @AleshaTDavis.

Alesha Davis

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