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.
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:
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).
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.
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.
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.
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…