Why This Mom Is Blaming YouTube For Ruining Her Child
A few weeks ago #3 convinced me to take him to the mall. There I was sitting on a bench at Finish Line watching him lose his mind over shoes. Shoes! I’m not exaggerating when I say he’s picked up every pair of Nikes and Adidas and proceeded to tell me about each and every pair: what they’re called, how you know they aren’t fake, who wears them, and whether or not they’re a good deal.
OMG – what has this child turned into? Whatever this is, I can’t stand it.
And I’m blaming YouTube. That shopping trip was sheer torture for me. Not that I don’t love a great pair of shoes, but I could care less about buying them based on what brand they are or what other people think. And that’s ALL he cares about.
And I hate it. HATE IT.
I guess this is one that should fall into the category of loving him for who he is…but man, it feels like torture. Somehow my sweet, adorable #3 has turned into a brand conscious, people watching fool. What do I mean? Here’s just a sampling of the things he muttered on that trip to the mall:
“Mom – look! Gucci!”
“Omigod, omigod, omigod, Momma – he’s wearing Louis Vuitton!”
Who is this child?
It kills me…people’s worth should be measured by their actions not by the shoes they’re wearing! And I can tell you, he didn’t care one bit…until he discovered YouTube. Man oh man do I wish I could turn back the clock on that one.
I’ve tried my hardest to raise a wholesome, down-to-earth, price conscious, appreciative kid, but instead somehow, I’ve lost him to YouTube and managed to raise a brand-snob sneaker-head.
And yes, I’m blaming Youtube; here’s why….
YouTube has evolved into the second largest search engine in the world, second only to its parent company Google. Want to learn how to fix a leaky faucet? Search it on YouTube. Want to learn how to blanch beans? YouTube it. Want to see video of the Panama Canal? YouTube it. Missed the Grammy’s? YouTube it. Want to see kids crashing on their skateboards? You got it, YouTube’s got that too.
And more! So, so, so much more. You liked that “fail” video you watched? Well, so did Tanner Braungardt and good old YouTube will make sure the rest of Tanner’s videos and recommendations are easy for you to find and watch. The result? A 10 year old who knows a ridiculous amount of crap about nothing of consequence and truly believes a teenager from Kansas is the coolest thing ever. Say whaaaat?!?!?
It’s like the encyclopedia of the modern age…leading you from one topic to another. As an adult, I find it completely fascinating but at the same time absolutely terrible. It’s so easy to get sucked in and before you know it…an hour’s gone by and you’ve watch 15 puppy videos when you were trying to learn how to change your tone of voice with your kids. For a kids it’s like an all you can eat buffet of life!
Truly, it’s brilliant marketing, and an enviable feat. But as a parent…I hate it. I detest it. In fact, I may actually loathe it.
OK, I know what you’re thinking, “Then why do you let him watch it?”
Are you for real? If it were only that simple. Nothing about parenting is that straight forward. May I remind you that I’m a full-time working mom of a fourth grader, a very precocious, very social, a very I-think-I-am-older-than-I-am fourth grader. A fourth grader with a mind of his own and two much older brothers.
He’s also a fourth grader growing up immersed in technology – not just at home, but at school too. It’s literally everywhere. They all have Chromebooks they use, every day, multiple times a day; they use Google Docs and Google Classroom; they research their projects on them, they take tests on them, truly they do it all with technology, after all, that is the world in which they are growing up.
Not just at school, but at home. I have a job that has me immersed in technology as well – not the cool STEM type technology, but the screen time type. And then there’s my side gig, this very blog, which equates to even more screen time for me. Point being, despite my best efforts, there’s a lot of screen time being modeled at home. Of course, at the age of 10, he doesn’t understand that I’m not just mindlessly watching YouTube videos but actually using my brain.
These colder, snowier winter months only make it worse. Our family, and especially, this child of mine, love to be outside, a tough gig during the winter months. Inevitably, during those dark, cold months, he spends more time in front of screens than he should. And as he’s gotten older, we’ve supervised less, especially when he’s home alone. I know, bad parenting, but let’s be real…it’s real parenting in this day and age. And from time to time despite our best attempts at parental controls, some things have slipped through…the worst of them all, YouTube.
I know what you’re thinking, “YouTube has a restricted mode…”
Yep, it does, but in our life, it’s not that simple. At his age, sometimes it’s too restrictive and I spend more time untangling parental controls than he does watching questionable videos. And frankly, a little YouTube allows me to get stuff done. I know, more bad parenting, right?
And there it is, in my face…reality. The reality that it’s not YouTube who has ruined my dear child, but me. OK, ruined might be a bit strong, but I really don’t like this little piece of #3. And once again, it stems from the decisions we’ve made as parents…some of those decisions clearly better than others, this one falling in the category of not so great. So here I am, facing that decision and trying to find a way to love this child for who he has become…YouTube obsession and all.