My son calls YouTube “The Red” because the screen with the logo when you open the app is red. “I want to watch something on The Red,” he says.
I hate The Red.
I won’t, for a minute, complain that YouTube is ruining my child because I have the ability to do exactly what I did this afternoon — remove the app from our Roku. I told my son that The Red had gone away and that was answer enough for him.
For what it’s worth, The Red had gone away before, but my wife accidentally stumbled across it again while looking for a Disney app and my son saw it and presto! Cries for The Red started up all over again.
The shockingly elaborate videos of people making stories with various action figures are fine. Some of them are really well done. And, honestly, what could be cooler than seeing different types of toys interacting. Nothing beats seeing Lightning McQueen on an adventure with the Paw Patrol.
Those types of videos are only a problem because they are of random and various lengths of time. The nice thing about a regular old cartoon is that I can say to my son, “one episode while I make dinner” and I know exactly how much time I have to get food on the table – and he knows exactly when he’ll have to stop.
No, the problem is the “kids getting toys” genre of YouTube video.
I could suggest that kids watching other kids getting a ton of new toys is a bad thing if only because it makes them want those new toys for themselves. But, again, I can control these things. The Red went away. I’m an adult.
No, the children who are being ruined by YouTube are the ones IN the videos.
I cannot even fathom how ill-equipped for reality these children are going to be as they get older. The sky is the limit for what incredible d-bags they could become. We are going to have to come up with new words for their degree of entitlement — megatitlement, perhaps. These videos are just that crazy.
And while some of these videos may be filled with toys that were sent to these families by their respective manufacturers, that doesn’t change the fact that these kids are still being spoiled rotten. Two dozen new Paw Patrol toys are still two dozen new Paw Patrol toys regardless of who pays for them.
Manufacturers will only send free toys to people who make videos with a certain number of subscribers. So not only are these children spoiled, but they are internet famous, which cannot be a healthy combination.
Basically, YouTube is creating a small army of small jerks.
But I suppose there’s a silver lining in there, at least for the rest of us. Yes, I deleted The Red and yes, my son looks for it every day and yes, I feel a little bit like a jerk myself for stealing it from him. But I’m his father and every once in a while I really do know what’s best.
And even if I didn’t, I’d still be a much, much better parent than the people who are putting their kids on YouTube.