Our children’s choices of modern entertainment can get a bad reputation, and rightfully so. Advancements in knowledge and technology have uncovered correlations between constant electronic stimulation and the increased likelihood of various attention disorders and aggressive behaviors in children. As our younger generations further embrace “the screen” as a dominant selection for leisure, we may see spikes in abnormalities in our children for years to come.
However, for many working parents, the screen is a reprieve for kids otherwise bored with the mundanity of the day-to-day, particularly during summer breaks. The television, cell phones, and computer screens save sanities. In many circumstances, there is little way to completely shield children from messages received during screen time since we are inundated with messages. And like all indulgences this side of Earth, boundaries and moderation can create safe zones.
Producers of children’s movies and television shows have now found great value in providing more educational options to offset, say, the graphic violence and sexual innuendo in everything else children may take in. (Since when did it become necessary to make car insurance commercials so…sexy?!) Likewise, the Internet, an encyclopedia of distractions for kids, has seen its share in surge of scholastic solutions and web outlets, as well.
I am so glad this is happening.
I don’t plan to ban screens in my home.
I would lose my mind.
My preschooler, Jrue, is something of a YouTube Kids app aficionado. It happened rather naturally, as it seemed he only initially liked the pop of red of the application on my phone screen’s desktop than knew exactly what the app was. That curiosity soon turned into a saved index of fun games and preferences that collected from his frequent viewership.
Often, I listen in over Jrue’s shoulder as he watches YouTube Kids or I scroll through the suggested uploads at night. Usually, Jrue is completely enraptured in unboxing videos, clips from his favorite shows, or in other children playing. It is quite awe-inspiring how captivated my kid can become in a little boy jumping around in a trampoline park as a parent videos and verbally describes. Admittedly, I don’t completely “get” the interest.
This level of comprehension is obviously not in my life’s path. It’s not for me. And that’s okay.
What I am appreciative of, though, are the conversations that float from the videos he watches. Narration is often a pinnacle signifier on YouTube Kids, and my son soaks it all in. The dialogue of a girl tasting lollipops, the chit chat between animated characters, playground chatter between siblings…all are particularly essential for my son, specifically as he slowly overcomes some expression difficulties.
Also on YouTube? Kid-friendly methodologies as telling time, singing ABCs, learning shoe-tying, Elmo talking about vegetables, encouragement to read more…the possibilities surely grow every day.
YouTube is amazing in the manner through which is has become quite a cultural symbol in itself. It will have its critics and its supporters.
Just like at the invention of the wheel.
For us, YouTube is another model of speech that my preschooler can use for direction and example as our family works together towards improving his speech development. Any vessel that we can employ for free to help him understand and enunciate our complicated English language has to be some brand of special.