Is watching YouTube turning my kid into a zombie?

I doubt it. I mean, I’m no great student of the undead, but I believe that in order for the process of turning your kid into a zombie to be successful some kind of transformation-prompting flesh-eating needs to take place. And I wouldn’t imagine a video-sharing website is able to do this.

Phew! Now we’ve got that sorted out, let’s get onto the foundation of your question. Namely: that you’re concerned about how your kid acts when he or she is watching random kids do really bad PAW Patrol recreations, streams of unboxing videos or really loud people doing funny challenges on YouTube. I understand this concern, because it’s one I share. When my 3-year-old watches too much TV (on any platform) his communication levels drop from words to Neanderthal-style grunts and he gets really angry about us turning it off. Our solution? We fake a power cut and spend the next 24-48 hours singing songs in the dark. Not really.

Solving the kid turning into a zombie problem

We tackle the problem in two ways. First, we reveal in advance that his TV sessions have a time limit (if he’s in full health this will usually be 20 minutes, if he’s a bit ill we’ll make it a little longer, and if we’re running late it’ll be shorter). Second, rather than simply letting him loose with the remote, we get involved with selecting the channels he watches.

Parental involvement

Why does this help? It helps because it allows me to maintain a channel-choosing dictatorship 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Again, I’m only joking. It helps because it means a) we can make sure the content he is going to be watching is age appropriate and b) we can interact with him when he is watching the shows. The latter may not seem like a big deal, but I’ve found that my son gets far less lost in the world of YouTube (or TV in general) when I am able to make comments or ask him questions about the shows he is watching.

Family-friendly YouTube content

So, what kind of YouTube channels do we end up watching? Honestly? We’re really into live action origami roleplay. Once more, that’s a joke. Often, it’s standard kids’ stuff like episodes of PAW Patrol Mighty Pups and Numberjacks, or songs from The Greatest Showman, Sing and Happy Feet 2. But some slightly more surprising parent-child viewing experiences that I would definitely recommend are:

Dangie Bros

What makes Jeff, Chris and Rob more suitable for my kid than all the other family combos doing cra-aaa-zzy stunts on YouTube? For me, it’s their relatively innocent mix of kid-friendly jokes, innovative challenges and talent (Chris’ building skills are excellent and some of the climbing they can do is incredible).

Bmx Caiden

This fearless 8-year-old is a freestyle BMX maestro. My favourite videos are the ones where he challenges other riders to pull off a specific move or jump. The Bubster’s are the ones where Caiden and his friend Ryken try to complete weird and wonderful obstacle courses.

Claudius Vertesi

What can I say about this larger than life 22-year-old? Oh, I know. He’s wacky as anything, he is by far and away the best scooter rider I’ve ever seen, and he tends to spread happiness wherever he goes.

Family Play Lab

If your kid likes climbing, sliding and face planting into ball pits, then he or she will love this channel. I say this, because my son likes doing all of the above and he loves watching this channel, which basically features 15-minute videos of three kids trying out soft play centres, indoor playgrounds and trampoline parks. 

Father-Hood Official

Hold on. Are you saying that guys sit down in front of the TV and watch yourself? That’s a bit narcissistic isn’t it? Possibly, but when you have content as good as the world’s best Let It Go parody, Father Hood vs Labour Pain Simulator and our Live From The Nursery Run series, it’s difficult not to. Plus, you have my absolute guarantee that it won’t turn your kid into a zombie.

Until next time…

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6 comments

  • Great read with some helpful info! I remember growing up watching tv and playing video games on my 13″ television that I had through high school, college and beyond. I would dream of a day when I could consume this content on a big screen. Now I watch my kids by pass by the 50+” screens and squint to watch makeup reviews on a 10″ iPhone screen… and then I find myself writing things like this and saying things like “In my day…”.

    • Ha. I’d never thought of it like that, but it’s so true. The big TV hangs on the wall, and the phone gets watched 24/7. Thanks for the comment.

  • now I want live action origami role play to be a real thing

    • Ha. Maybe we should try and make it a thing? It would probably be more lucrative than parent blogging :-).

  • Great topic! And thanks for including some reasonable options. Too often it wears the nerves being unsure if it is a reliable show being viewed or one of those twisted ones in disguise.

    • Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it. Yeah, it’s also the in-video adverts you need to watch out for. Some of them can be a bit much for a preschooler.

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