I have found that many parents and babysitters have been using a revolutionary 21st century tool to manage children. This tool has also been used by private babysitter services as well. Imagine having a child who has never seen Youtube before coming home and asking for it. It is not surprising since Youtube has made many adults glued to the screens. As such, it should not be surprising that young children will be hooked to it as well.
Now before I continue any further, this may not be something you want to hear. Thus, please do note that these opinions are mine and mine alone. I welcome discussions, but please don’t go Molotov-cocktailing my house.
Benefits of Using Youtube
Youtube can be a rather effective educational tool. Let’s face it, with it being the second-largest search engine in the world, you can use Youtube to illustrate practically any topic in the world.
Also, I can imagine the convenience of keeping the children occupied with Youtube. I think any parent here would agree that getting a few minutes or hours of kid-free time is pure bliss. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids, but as a parent, your responsibilities encompass everything else around the house and work. There are also times where you just want to unwind. After all, the walking dead is on its tenth season.
However, aside from being an effective educational tool and its large repository of videos, Youtube has been linked to some problems faced by parents these days.
Problems With Youtube
Children are easily influenced and their behaviour can be easily moldable depending on their surroundings. As such, if videos are inappropriate, you can be sure that this will eventually affect the attitude of the child as well. I remember a friend speaking about how the autoplay function on Youtube was an excellent tool as it keeps the child entertained.
This was all good until some parties managed to game the system. They manipulated Youtube’s algorithm to play their own videos with inappropriate content. Of course, you could easily mitigate this by pre-downloading the right videos for your child. But consider this, how long should a child be allowed to watch Youtube videos?
If you are a teacher or have observed any classrooms lately, you will find that children these days are a little more active than the children of the previous generation. There are many reasons to justify this. However, the amount of screen time has been attributed as one of the causes. With studies stating that the younger a child is and the more time a child spends on screens, the more it impedes their mental development. This is the case with allowing children too much time watching Youtube. So how much is exactly too much?
It’s hard to say unfortunately, some claim that no more than 2 hours a day is fine while others claim that a few minutes is adequate. What is clear however is this, moderation is key. Of course, when in doubt, introduce screen time when the child is much older.
But No Screen is Tough
I understand and acknowledge this. There are days when I do feel like just letting Youtube do all the babysitting for me while I run off to do my work. However, we do have to persevere. As such, a lot of time is spent entertaining our children with books and toys. It takes up more time, but it helps them better especially in their speech development. The same applies to their ability to focus as well. This does not necessarily apply to every child.
However, here is a different perspective. If screen time is introduced as a way to keep them occupied, too much screen time would eventually become a norm. Thus, if it is taken away, how would you think the child would react? From experience, children who are used to too much screen time will get extremely bored and unfocused when their screen time is taken away. It becomes somewhat like a drug to keep them going, kinda how coffee works for me. As such, just like coffee, shouldn’t its intake be limited as much as possible? Or like a popular sticker once said,
Who is raising your child? You or Youtube?
Do let me know your thoughts in the comments below.