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We all want to limit our children’s screentime and even wish to cut it off completely, but it seems impossible. Children can watch YouTube forever. While we think we’re doing them right by only limiting access to videos with adult content, it is most probably not enough. There is endless YouTube content that can easily sneak into your child’s screen and it’s anything but appropriate and not necessarily sexual.
Here’s a list of content that seems harmless, but you need to watch out for if your child loves YouTube:
Videos of real children or animated characters misbehaving and doing weird things are all over YouTube. Unfortunately, some of the videos might seem funny, but it is actually misbehavior such as farting, being mean to a teacher, or trapping a pet. One example that you all know is the Johnny Johnny song about a boy who’s lying about eating sugar, and it’s a favorite and sacred song. Kids laugh at these things, but they’re not funny.
The internet is loaded with videos of pranking children or adults, prank calls, students pranking teachers, kids pranking parents, parents pranking kids, strangers pranking each other in the street, you name it. Many think it’s funny. Would you like to be pranked? Would you think it’s fun? Children might actually be exposed to dangerous things imitating this type of content.
Any video could start off looking ordinary but contains awful violent scenes. Violent content goes beyond killing. It can include assaults, the use of weapons, yelling, and aggressiveness. In addition to justified violence, which can be seen when a superhero commits violent acts against a villain.
There are countless videos on YouTube that use inappropriate language. Children are like recorders. They literally catch words at the speed of light, especially bad ones. Language isn’t just about cursing and swearing, it’s also about the way the characters express themselves.
Vulgar kids’ songs
I was beyond shocked when I came across a video of two young girls (I’d estimate their ages to be somewhere between 7-10), singing ElWad Dah Beta3y, and dancing in a very vulgar way. The video has over 1.5 million views on only one channel, and it’s a tiny example of what’s in there.
Some videos and ads send subtle discriminatory messages such as Dabur Amla hair oil ad, that shows a young girl at school with dry wavy hair being bullied by other girls because of how she looks, she runs to her mother crying until another mother advises her to use Dabur Amla oil, then all of a sudden her hair turns silky and she’s all happy.
What would a 45-second-long video like that make a girl with curly hair feel? Ugly, unpopular, the urge to change who she is, and that it’s normal to be bullied based on her looks. This is not acceptable.
What to do about it
- Be aware of what your child watches.
- Think if you’ll be okay with your child imitating any behavior they watch on YouTube.
- Be aware that online content might contain hidden messages.
- Try not to allow your child to use a tablet or a mobile phone. Limit screentime to TV. This way it won’t be in their hands all day long, and you can easily monitor what they watch, as most children can’t use the remote control properly. This is what I personally do.