Why YouTube is "Banned" from our Kids and How it Helped

You are probably thinking "Whoa hold up!" You have "banned" YouTube from your home kids!?! I put the word Banned in quotations because I'm using the term loosely. YouTube has been a valuable asset. It has been a place that has taught me many things and provided hours of entertainment over the years. We live in a time of technology. Many of you may very well be reading this from a smart phone or tablet. There are many people who you use YouTube to Vlog, create tutorials and share videos of funny things and memories. It can be great asset, however for us as family it became a source of contention and questions. So the "Ban" was put in place. 

Like many things screen time for children is a controversial subject. We decided as a family that we would allow our children to have access to screens, but it would be limited and we would determine what they were allowed to do and watch. Like any matter in regards to parenting it truly up to the parents of each child to decide what is best for them. Living in such a technological age (Heck I was on my phone during both deliveries of my boys, a welcome distraction) we will not shelter our children, but monitor their use. Also like anything else it's kind of been a trial and error process. 


Our oldest like many other children out there enjoyed watching YouTube, whether it be a game tutorial for Minecraft, or watching "unboxing" videos. My son if allowed would probably spend all day on YouTube watching these videos of kids or grown adults opening up toys and showcasing products. This often would lead to wish lists for items that were outdated and unavailable. Meltdowns of epic proportions would follow. He would also watch those musical videos. If I heard "daddy finger where are you?" one more time I was probably going to snap. 


Our son would watch the videos and we all know that with social media comes great responsibility. As parents we are responsible for our children and the environments to which we expose them. In addition to the YouTube Ban we also have taken away Roblox, due to the lack of ability to monitor the content, despite parental controls and supervision, as well as the change in attitude that goes with it. Lets be honest I can't monitor my son 24/7, I do have another child to take care of and other household responsibilities, so it was really not a hard decision. Now there are 2 main reasons we put the ban in place. 


Content:


The first reason being the content in which our child was able to have access to. Everyone has seen the posts about the terrible videos with poor taste in language and subject matter, as well as those videos disguised as children's videos. It happens across every form of social media. The first incident was one evening our son had asked to watch some videos on YouTube, he asked us to type in Marvel Avengers. We came across a video that looked seemingly harmless. It was people dressed as superheroes dancing to the latest hit song. It wasn't until we continued to watch the video in its entirety that we saw it was not just people dressed in costumes, but grown adult women scantily clad in very little bouncing their boobs across the screen. We ended the video and told our son the Internet wasn't working and we would have to fix it. My husband and I chuckled a little, but also realized how scary it was. Things that we thought were innocent enough for children really weren't appropriate. 


In comes KidTube (this is the YouTube just for kids) Content was user friendly and should be age appropriate, anything he may have searched that was deemed inappropriate was flagged and unavailable for viewing. We thought we had found a win. However there are some sick people out there and though the tags for the videos were "Spiderman" or "Elsa" from Frozen,  the content was graphic and not appropriate for any child. We discovered this when our son who is honest to a fault came to tell us about a video where Peppa Pig has gone crazy and was really mean. This is where we found horrible videos that are labelled as Peppa Pig - but she murders her entire family. (Though many parents wish some of these things while having to watch the same episodes over and over again, rarely do we share those feelings with our children who idolize those characters.)


Our son began having Nightmares, each night he was having difficulty getting to sleep or would wake up in tears, screaming. He had come across Five Nights at Freddy's videos.  I wasn't sure what he was talking about so I googled it myself and attempted to play the ever so popular game. It scared the crap outta me, no wonder it scared my then 5 year old. He came across these videos by accident. As many will notice, YouTube will auto play or suggest videos based on your searches and play them in queue. 


So KidTube was now under strict supervision, if you wanted a video we had to look over it's content and no new videos were allowed to be played unless we deemed them appropriate. We installed Mobile Fence on all tablets that required parent passwords for every new action. (I cursed at this a lot, it was such a pain, anytime you went to do anything like change the volume or update an app it would require lengthy passwords and was time sensitive) Screen time was already monitored, but now it was under strict rules. 

Obsession 

Our second reason YouTube is banned is obsession, it's also more of a personal reason. Our son who is A.D.H.D and Autistic often becomes obsessed with something. He fixates on one thing and it becomes repetitive. It got to the point that even what was deemed appropriate was becoming problematic for us.  We didn't want YouTube to be a crutch, children are allowed to be bored, YouTube shouldn't be the solution, but that is for another post at another time. Our son showed interest in Roblox the ever popular online gaming. He would watch videos on tutorials of how to beat certain levels or how to modify your character. This led to endless harping and asking for money to buy mods online. All he spoke about was Roblox, (This happened with Batman and Robin in the previous years, my father once pointed out a bird - a robin and my son went on an endless spiel about batman and robin). Screen time was limited but at the end of screen time it was literally a fight. He would yell and scream and all he would talk about was what he had seen in videos. You know when people talk about brainwashed kids (we were living it). My son would get up in the morning and immediately want to watch videos, everything else became a fight. It came at the suggestion of our pediatrician that we take away the source of contention. So YouTube was banned.  

 The first few days were horrible it was like watching someone detoxing  and withdrawing off medication. (I can compare the two as we have witnessed it in our household). With time it got easier, of course he still asks from time to time when he will be able to have YouTube back at home. We told him when he is older we will consider it. Though the Ban is in place to help him, we do still allow some YouTube in the home. Lets say he asks a question about something and we stumble across a YouTube video for the answer, together as a family we will watch it. We still allow him to look up walk through videos of levels, but again it is under strict supervision and on either my Husband's or my device. We literally uninstalled YouTube on every other device in the household. 

So what happens when he goes to friends houses? Well this was a tricky one to navigate. Most of the kids that he hangs out with I am friends with the parents and they respect our wishes as I would with another child. It does happen from time to time that he will get to watch videos. I don't ground him or give him trouble, he is so honest that he will tell me and he will discuss it. We will talk about the content he watched etc. I don't want to be the bubble-wrap helicopter parent, but I do and can control what my children are exposed to.


For now we will keep the "ban" in place until we see fit. That is until our son is responsible and mature enough. We still allow screen time in the way of video games whether it be on a mobile device or gaming system as well as Netflix but we strictly monitor the content and time. The difference has been unbelievable. His attitude has changed and we no longer have as many meltdowns in regards to technology as we used to. It has definitely helped our family 

Do you allow your kids Screen Time? More specifically on YouTube?

~Mommy Dearest

Comments

  1. My guys are little, just 2. But I am painfully aware of how kids love this so we are limiting it nearly completely right now. But I know a lot of kids their age that are already hooked.

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    Replies
    1. honestly if I could back and do things differently I probably would. However I can't change it, but I can change how we do it and use it now. I think everything is fine in moderation. It's finding that fine line that is sometimes difficult.

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  2. My daughter gets so angry when she has to stop watching her shows, this was very informative

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  3. Oh, I definitely have a more informed perspective on my nephews constant asking for Youtube videos now. Thank you for sharing!

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  4. Will definitely be sharing this with my friends that have children. I, too, have noticed how angry their children get when they have to stop watching Youtube videos. Very informative, thank you for sharing!

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  5. I don't have a kid, but hope to someday soon and this is something I do think about. We will be at restaurants and I will watch parents just hand over the phone and literally say things like "That will keep him quiet." or other comments. Again, I'm not a parent yet, but it sure does seem like a pacifier situation, and just like those, the kids have to be broken from it. Good for you!

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  6. Oh no! I didn't realize that these things could happen in KidsTube! we just started letting our little one watch it, but will definitely keep an eye out!

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