Is your kid hooked on Unboxing Videos? Perhaps they are. Perhaps you didn’t even know that they had a name. Perhaps you are lucky and you have no idea who Disney Collector is. NPR ran a story on this phenomena; and our son loves them so much that when he heard the voice of his beloved Disney Collector during the story he raced towards the iPAD we were playing it on.
For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, unboxing videos are simple videos that consist of people opening toys and games and talking about them that are ALL OVER YOUTUBE!!! They are targeted towards toddlers and our kid is hooked. In addition to Disney Collector there are other “hosts” who open all types of action figures, play-doh sets, and dolls. Surprisingly enough this rarely makes my kid ask for the toys he sees. If anything it shows him that most of the toys on the shelves these days are a huge letdown once you get them out of the box. Even though these videos are harmless they still constitute the dreaded SCREEN TIME!!!!!
The topic of screen time came up while I was having lunch with a colleague whose husband travels for work. While I might go a few days without the hubs; her singlemom-dom can be as long as two weeks!!! Say a prayer for her. We both agreed that while we are happy that our boys love the outdoors and free-play, it is always good to be able to rely on Netflix, Hulu or YouTube when we need a seated break. She recalled a few months back when it rained, and rained, and rained. I love a rainy day as much as the next person; but once the weekend began and we were stuck indoors all bets were off. We jumped in puddles, pulled the small sliding board into the house, built forts, played superheroes…..we also watched Walking with the Dinosaurs four times in one day. Yup. This Mother-of-the-Year has her limits and caffeine can only take this body so far.
If you are able to keep your house television and screen free most of the time I applaud you. We listen to a lot of music, do a lot of tower/fort/race car building, use pounds of glitter and paper. And if I could keep up that type of activity and be able to pee in peace I would; but we all know that will not happen.
Because of this need to expel waste, to sleep past 7:00am on the weekends and to write this blogpost; the kid knows how to spell the word FOOD. He knows how to spell it because it is the password for my iPAD. He also knows which profile is his on Netflix and how to press the microphone icon on YouTube and say out loud what videos he is looking for. While we are happy with his abilities we are careful to maintain the balance. He likes the Justice League but he loves building Superman and Batman out of Lego. He thinks Kipper is funny; but going for walks and finding treasures trumps cartoons every time. If we are sitting in bad traffic sometimes plays with his busy book; but sometimes he wants to watch something on my phone. Balance.
I heard the story of a child who was unable to turn pages in a real live book. Because they were so used to swiping the screen they had no idea how to turn and actual page. I don’t know if this is an urban legend or not; but our kid has an extensive collection of actual books that he loves turning the pages of.
Recently the kid has fallen in love with these activity blocks and has integrated them into all types of play. When we build cars and spaceships out of pillows and blankets he arranges them into the form of dashboard dials and buttons. On the ride to school one morning he insisted on taking his phone (one of the rectangular blocks) with him. Instead of asking to watch a play-doh unboxing video on my phone he said that he was going to watch a movie on his own phone. Make-believe technology? I’ll take it.