So we all know children should not have any screen time before the age of two, however it happens. Arguably anxious or burnt out parents can be just as damaging to a child’s brain development as 20 minutes of screen time so it’s a definitely a case of picking the worst of two evils.
As a parents we leaned on the YouTube Kids app for the rare occasions we needed screen time. But wow, it really is poison for your child’s brain.
Yes, you can pick an appropriate video for your little one, most parents do. But the devil is in the “suggested videos” and the children’s freedom to wander. YouTube do screen all videos that go on the platform, but they just filter out extremes. e.g. Profanity, violence, adult themes etc. They do not consider what content is actually doing good VS bad for your childs brain development.
For example. A video that teaches how to count, good. A video that goes an hour long just showing an adults hand open kinder surprises, bad. See for yourself, this video below is one of millions like it on YouTube Kids and it has 99 million plays!!!! I have caught my daughter watching this nonsense countless times.
To put this into perspective, Ed Sheerans cameo on Sesame Street (which is awesome) only has only 19 million plays.
What is going on here? The YouTube Kids algorithm seems to be favouring developing an unhealthy fixation on consumerism rather than teaching our children about their lives at home and at school via melody and rhyme.
My advice before letting your kids have free rein over the app is first spend half an hour sitting next to them watching what they watch and observing what the YouTube algorithm presents them.
We have now deleted the app from our phones, and ensure our daughter only watches ABC Kids. Sure, there’s still some less than idea content on there too, but at least everything has narrative, melody and some sort of lesson. Even Peppa Pig (which I personally hate), teaches children family structures and emotional responses to stimuli. What do these YouTube Kids videos teach them? Throw tantrums when you don’t get what you want.
There’s huge vortex of amateur videos on the platform where any muppet with a camera who has decided to make kids content is featured.
It seems harsh, but the reality is leaving your children in the hands of the YouTube Kids app is literally handing over your child’s brain development for that time to random adults all over the world with a camera + an algorithm designed to purely increase watch time hours on their app.
No thank you.