Like many children, N watches Youtube. Quite a bit of Youtube really. I’d like him to switch some of his viewing to reading, but if you read the blog regularly, you’ll know how hard it is to get him to read anything outside school. I know he spends a lot of time playing outdoors and doing sport, or just pottering around doing Lego or playing with farm toys, so he does get a balance. I’ve also watched bits of the channels he tends to watch so I know what they’re about.
Thankfully he’s moved on from the channels of adults creating stories with Peppa Pig toys, we no longer have to watch kids tv shows in Spanish, and no more watching families creating huge toy railways tracks around their houses.
Now N watches a mix of channels. A couple of children’s toy channels, a family channel – all American. But mostly he likes the pranks or challenge videos. Only 1 is a UK youtube family, the rest are all from the US. All of them are huge Youtubers, many of them friends with each other so cross feature. And all seemingly very rich (and mostly very irritating).
The prank videos are harmless, mostly silly and not really that funny. The UK youtube teenager Morgz shouts A LOT. Videos are mostly him trying to catch out his parents (who are obviously in on it, but N doesn’t seem to realise this) and Fortnite, although N isn’t interested in that part of his channel. With milions of subscribers to his channel, obviously a lot of people like N watch him.
The US Youtubers N likes most are the Sharer family and the various channels of the 20 somethings involved. They mostly do experiments and challenges between them. Like basketball tricks, cake making competition, or who’s last off the trampoline. Silly tasks which amuse kids, and they’re quite engaging in the silly relationship they have with the family and friendship group.
What winds me up about all these Youtubers that N watches is how unrealistic their lives are to the normal people watching.
They’re not glossy models with stunning ‘white houses’ like the instagrammers who’re said to make people feel bad about their lives. Yes they live in gorgeous houses, with wonderful roof terraces, and gardens with pools in. That’s not my issue. I’m not sure N has even noticed their house or garden (well maybe the pool). Or the fact that there’s no mention of any normal work being done. (I presume they earn their money from their Youtube channels).
What annoys me is the prizes they give each other for winning their challenges. Silly challenges or pranks and they win iphones or $10,000. N says the money is given by each of them into the prize, but I can’t work out if they work with phone companies to provide prizes, or if they just supply them. But with the number of challenges, I don’t know why they need to keep handing out such expensive prizes. Who needs that many phones?
Yes do fun challenges, but why do the prizes have to be so large. Especially when they obviously don’t need the money, and can afford to just hand it out.
Can’t they just have the glory, or just have silly medals or trophies to hand out?
It feels like they’re suggesting to be successful to have to be getting phones left, right and centre, or that handing round big amounts of money is the norm. Given their core audience seems to be school age children, it’s a prime age for them to start thinking of items they want to buy and money becomes more important to them.
It’s frustrating that I’m trying to teach N the value of money, and how he needs to work for products he wants to own. Yet, he can just log onto Youtube and see successful people who look like they play around all day with their family and friends, and waft money and valuable phones around.
Having said that, N doesn’t seem too fussed about the prizes they’re giving to each other. Maybe the prizes are just a way to get viewers and encourage virality of their videos. Maybe the viewers don’t think about prizes and just watch for the actual fun of the challenges.
Maybe it’s just me as the mother who gets irritated by it. I can think of so many things he could do than watch videos on Youtube. But I suppose that’s part of the norm nowadays. And being an only child means he’s not distracted with sibling arguments. Although that’s probably a good thing. I don’t have kids planning pranks on each other to video!
What irritates you about Youtube channels your children watch? Are there are any good channels you’d recommend for children?