In this day in age people have the world at their fingertips. With the push of a button, you can find out where the best taco spot is or translate conversations in another language in a matter of seconds! Most children are proficient in using technology by the age of 3! No, I am not that type of parent that believes that technology is pure evil. I fall somewhat in the middle of the spectrum. I believe that technology is important and can be utilized for magnificent things, but I also believe that children need tangible items like foam letters and books to help them learn. No matter how bad my husband wants me to get rid of the 24 boxes filled with books ranging from grade level K-8 also known as “junk in the garage” according to him, I know it is vital that my children know what it feels like to actually hold a book and turn pages.
London has been technologically savvy since she was about 6 or 7 months old. She would hold my iPad and look at the pictures of digital books. When London turned about two she was using her very own iPad to watch children’s educational videos. YouTube assisted me in teaching London how to fluently say her ABC’s and count to 20. YouTube was my friend! It reinforced all the things that I wanted her to know with a song and with cool images to go with it.
Then she turned three. At the age of three London continued to watch YouTube channels like Mother Goose Club (LOVE IT). She was better able to navigate through the children’s version of YouTube, clicking on the microphone on the screen and shouting “Frozen videos,” and up would pop Let It Go with singing characters ranging from Elsa to Ninja Turtles, to Trolls. There are more versions to Let It Go than anyone would care to know. I remember one day I walked into the living room and saw London hysterically crying while watching a version of Let It Go. When I asked her why she was crying, she explained, “Elsa was sad;” sure enough, there goes Elsa with pink tears coming down her eyes! So my question is…who makes this stuff up? Is it weird kids or weird adults? Like why would I want to see a woman in her upper 40s using a squeaky voice to record herself playing with dolls? Or 2 girls portrayed as Elsa and Ana have a race on who could eat the most poop (chocolate pudding)? My husband and I began to limit YouTube and keep an even closer eye on what London was watching.
Then lately, every night around 2-4am London would wake up calling either Darren or myself into her room. When I went into her room to put her back to sleep, she would share that she had a dream that Kayson had red eyes and ate her Doritos (sounds like a YouTube episode). All of her nightmares are pretty similar, where there is someone with red eyes and/or someone taking away one of her adored snacks and eating it in front of her. Yes, she is a greedy snacker…but that is not the point! The issue is that so many weirdoes make weird “kid” videos that truly scare the daylights out of toddlers and even some adults! London is now banned from YouTube. You can only imagine how well that went (not). She screamed, “mommy where’s my videos” for DAYS! YouTube has been completely removed from her devices. She continues to have a few nightmares here and there but they have greatly decreased. Our pediatrician has shared that toddlers at her age have a very active imagination and it is common for them to have dreams and nightmares.
Parents, I must admit that YouTube and I were besties, but that it is extremely vital to keep a close eye on even some of the nursery rhymes. As a parent, I like to think that I am pretty aware of what is going on, I just did not imagine how YouTube could take London’s already imaginative brain into over gear in the way that it has. Really looking into a lot of the videos she watched, I began to notice how creepy some of them really were. So please keep an eye out for your little ones…if they begin to have frequent nightmares it could be something they are watching that is the culprit! As for the Neals, we had to say so long to YouTube. We are just currently waiting for a good night sleep to arrive…
Feeling: like I banished London’s best friend