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A boy watches 'Thomas the Tank Engine' on YouTube. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images.

About 81% of parents with children 11-years-old or younger say they let their child watch videos on YouTube, according to a new report from Pew Research Center.

Why it matters: Researchers and tech companies are increasingly collecting data on kids' usage of platforms like YouTube to help correlate long-term cognitive effects. The report found that a majority of parents whose children watch videos on YouTube say their children have seen disturbing content on the site.

The survey focused on YouTube which says its platform is not intended for children younger than 13, whereas YouTube Kids has enhanced parental controls and was not surveyed by Pew.

By the numbers: 60% of users surveyed say they sometimes encounter videos that show people engaging in dangerous or troubling behavior.

  • Among parents who let their young child watch content on YouTube, 61% say they have encountered content that they felt was unsuitable for children.

The bottom line: YouTube's algorithm plays a prominent role of what's "up next," which has played many deceiving animated videos for the wrong eyes, per The Verge. And yet, one-fifth of the most-recommended videos were geared toward children, Pew says.

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.