Admittedly, Im not the best at consistently limiting screen time. Like much of my parenting, my paranoia about how bad it actually is ebbs and flows with the rising tides of articles that appear in my newsfeeds.
But I'm not ashamed to admit that sometimes a babysitter is unavailable and I let the iPad watch my kids. (Wait, thats backwards.)
Each time I start them on something not so bad like episodes of Octonauts they inevitably end up down the rabbit hole of kids opening and reviewing toys, kids performing weird food challenges or playing video games, or reality shows with wacky families doing wacky things.
Some of my kids' favorites include: Hobby Kids TV, EvanTube HD, Sidewalk Cops and FGTeev (pronounced Tee Vee, get it?). These YouTube stars wander through Target, waste copious amounts of food and they are the only people on earth who actually make money shopping at Target.
At first I wondered how on earth my kids found these videos. Then I saw the number of times people have viewed them millions! Then I panicked a little: how long have my kids been watching this on their iPads? How many of those views are from my two watching the same thing over and over and over again. (Because whats more fun than watching another kid open toys? Watching the same kid open the same toy again and again.)
I kept their viewing habits secret for awhile; saddened they inherited my proclivity towards terrible television. I was convinced my kids were single handedly making these families YouTube celebrities. (Because honestly, that many people can't really be watching. Can they?)
Im not sure when or how I first came to the realization that it wasnt just my kids who watched strange things, but it was a glorious time (for me). The walls of our secret YouTube fortress of dreadful videos came crashing down and I was left with the oddly satisfying truth that there are in fact, millions of other kids attracted to this kind of programming.
Now Im left wondering why on earth, do kids actively choose this garbage? These are the best answers I can come up with:
Maybe because they know it soooo bad but still so good, they cant not watch, like your favourite really bad reality show. For reasons unknown to even the most gifted social scientists, reality shows still manage to fascinate us (or hypnotize us). Theyre curiously addicting. You dont want to; you have to.
Seriously, what do they do with all those toys after they open them? And the food that Evan and his sister Jillian waste dumping over each others heads?! Drives me crazy. Drives my kids to tears of laughter. Also, makes me seem like an uptight, fun-killing, Mom: no, kids, you cant dump chocolate sauce, tomato ketchup, tuna fish and rice krispies over your heads. Not today, tomorrow or in 7 years. But, hey, who wants to practice their writing!? Equally puzzling to me: my kids have never asked, suggested or wistfully wished they could open hundreds of toys on camera for no good reason. So maybe, these shows are educational.(For the record, I can be fun! You can watch other kids open toys for at least 30 minutes!)
Thats it. There are only four possible reasons I can come up with for this conundrum. But whatever the reason, I leave you with one possible silver lining: at least it's not Calliou!