YouTube, I owe you bigtime. You are the only thing in the world that can hold my kid’s attention for as long as you want! Kudos to the technology, AI, algorithms beyond human comprehension, which makes it seamless to watch videos on loop for endless hours. The “autoplay” and “recommended videos” are life savers. I can stuff broccoli and spinach into her mouth and she wouldn’t even notice. I can read a book, run my household chores, cook dinner and fiddle with my phone guilt free. I no longer have to brainstorm 100 different ways to entertain her and keep her from running all the over the house and turning it upside down. I wouldn’t dare to snatch that screen away from her as she would start screaming at the top of her voice. That would be a clear violation of “gentle parenting norms”.
I recently chanced upon the TED Talks video by James Bridle. It scared the living daylights out of me. A shocking revelation of how YouTube is ruining our kids and enslaving them in its charm. How “surprise egg” unwrapping videos and “finger family songs” that have no logic or learning can keep kids glued to the screen for hours. How a simple search term “car” can lead to some very disturbing, obscene and abusive content that children should never lay their hands on.
As modern parents’ we want our kids to have best of everything. We seem to have profound knowledge of what should go into their stomach. We even demand farm visits to inspect if the so called natural cow milk supplied daily is A1 or A2 grade! We purchase organic foods that are priced 50-100% more than their conventional equivalents. We would never provide them anything that comes free of cost or from unknown/ less known brand due to their dubious and precarious nature.
When so much thought goes into feeding their stomach, what their brains are fed seem to be neglected. YouTube, where no one has any idea where the content is coming from and no way to test it’s genuineness, is not for kids. Our kids deserve more than free, illogical, absurd egg opening videos created by unknown sources with the sole motive of monetization. I hope some hand-picked DVDs, a few illustrated story books or curated board games replace this new age internet nanny on the block!