By ALYSSA FANT
Young people these days are watching more YouTube as opposed to Netflix or Hulu. I’ve noticed this a lot, especially in little kids who are watching YouTube Kids now instead of popular television shows like “Spongebob.”
Most families are cutting their cable cords in favor of streaming services, but it seems to me that for the most part, it’s adults who are watching their own shows on Netflix, while the kids are watching their favorite Youtubers. In fact, research shows that younger viewers watch 2.5 times more internet video than TV.
I’ve noticed that a lot of college-aged people tend to gravitate toward their favorite childhood TV show because of the nostalgia factor, but I worry about the next generation. Will they fondly remember watching 5-minute craft videos on YouTube in ten or twenty years? This is especially true regarding little kids, from about 2 to 7 years of age. I didn’t start watching YouTube until I was twelve or thirteen, and children’s content on Youtube has been called into question more than once.
It’s not uncommon for a parent to let their little kids borrow their phones and let them watch whatever YouTube video they can find. Youtube Kids’ content has a history of being violent or sexualized. YouTube doesn’t have nearly the same rules and regulations as traditional children’s’ television. Recently, however, there have been rules put in place to limit this kind of inappropriate content from making its way onto YouTube. But the content on the website is still notorious for being extremely cheap and low quality. This is simply because people know kids will watch anything.
Children’s brains aren’t developed enough to tell the difference between what’s good and what’s bad, and that includes what they watch. Their minds are like sponges, soaking up everything they see and hear. What they experience in the first 3 years of their lives will affect how their minds develop and who they will be forever. Too many parents don’t understand this and will let their children watch anything that will entertain them, which is … just about anything.
Not only are online videos typically low in quality, but they are also short and numerous, which may affect a child’s short-term attention span. If they are used to watching a different video every couple of minutes, then they may have difficulty paying attention to something that’s hours, or even several minutes long. On the other hand, there are YouTube videos that are educational and of high-quality. Some argue that YouTube videos are more personal than regular television and are more varied. And, obviously, YouTube is free, making it an option for all families with internet access. No matter your preference, remember to be vigilant about what kind of content your little ones are watching.