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comment by FirebrandRoaring
FirebrandRoaring  ·  473 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Something is Wrong on the Internet

I've already expressed a part of my views on the matter -- one concerning the conduct, and Alphabet's conduct, in particular -- in a response to kleinbl00's comment. Now, I'd like to focus on parenting that's another part of the issue.

I'm not a parent, myself. I have no children, and have barely had experience with others'. But I think a lot about it, because at some point, I want to have a family of my own. I think about the things I want to teach my child -- or, to let my children learn, as it were -- and "just let them watch YouTube videos" is one of the more obvious points that comes up often as I look around at what other parents do.

It is unsettling how many parents are willing to let their children imbue themselves into escapism and instant gratification from such a teachable young age. The children learn -- but what do they learn? That their purpose is to be quiet and not interrupt their parents' unfulfilled lives, wasted away on constant chatter and yelling at the skies for not giving them what they want? That if they're sad, they can always go on the Internet and find something that will soothen the pain, despite not nearly healing it?

A child can learn incredibly quickly -- that much is to no dispute. They're the ones who are going to inherit from us, still young enough, the technological advancement, -- and they will run with it, way quicker than us, ourselves being reduced to the old people we so love to snicker at. I'm okay with that. I will fight for my children's right and ability to interact and integrate with technology, even if it may reduce my part in their lives. It's satisfying to be the source of information for your child -- they treat you as a bag of holding full of useful knowledge -- but that era is already past. I'll still be there for them as a parent, and I will try my best to answer their questions, but if they can learn better from someone else -- either someone with more experience or simply with better charisma -- then, other things being equal, they should.

That being said...

Technology, like any part of our lives, is never black and white. It's never about whether it brings just the good or just the bad. There are positives, but there are also caveats needing to look out for.

Parents are not machines. Like the author has said in his article (paraphrased), "if it brings parents some relief, then OK". The contemporary stressfulness of living, exaggerated by many sources as it may be, still takes an inevitable toll on the person. We all need rest from time to time, and taking care of a child at a very young age can be a test of one's limits indeed.

I would rather live on Red Bull for two years than to let my child see me as mere gift-giver and homework assistant. It's my reponsibility to bring my child into the world to the best of my knowledge and effort, and I'll be cast to the deepest pits of Hell before I let myself off this bumpy ride. To give them a smartphone streaming cartoons is an insult to what this little person can become. So many young men and women can become great later in their lives simply because of what their parents left them in the first few years of their lives: the discipline, the curiousity and the tenacity to overcome the obstacles they'll inevitably encounter.

This, however, raises a question for me personally and, I think, for many new parents around the world. We grew up with a different set of entertainment issues, and none was as subtly powerful as the modern Internet's ability to capture one's attention. What do we do with this particular problem? How do we solve it?

Simply not let children near the Internet for the first eighteen years? That's absurd. Helicopter over your child, checking everything for malicious contents? You're not letting your child live, lady; get out of the class!

What, then? Parental controls, only letting your kid to the trusted sources? And who would establish which sources to trust? You? You're a cretin when it comes to the vast information field of the Internet. Even the most educated psychologists are stumbling: how can you do better?

Do you even have to do anything? My instincts say I do: not because I must control everything that's happening in my kid's life, but because I'm more equipped to deal with the dangers of the modern world. I've lived some, I've seen some things. The degree to which I should do so, however, as well as the venues which require careful observation are beyond my current understanding -- and that's scary. Nobody wants to mess up their child's life -- even though we all inevitably will, whatever we do.

kleinbl00  ·  472 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I'm not a parent, myself. I have no children, and have barely had experience with others'. But I think a lot about it, because at some point, I want to have a family of my own.

There's a lot of "other people are the problem" in this article that I really didn't care for. Couched in the "I don't have kids, but" is a seething judgement of a straw man that exists somewhere and allows the author to clutch his pearls about the poor choices made by others that exist in the argument largely to be disdained.

I am a parent. I'm surrounded by parents. I've got nine goddamn birthday gifts to buy between now and January and I've seen dozens or hundreds of children I know interact with technology. Not just in a "I saw a kid in a stroller watching videos" kind of way, but in a "I was one of those horrible people drinking wine and talking politics while my friends' kid sat there watching The Human Centipede in his crib" kind of way.

I've never met a single person who lets their young kids watch Youtube. I've never met a single kid that would give a fuck about Youtube.

Check out the Netflix kids interface. Check out the PBS kids interface. Check out the Amazon kids interface. They give you curated collections of videos and clips arranged around the faces of branded content your kid recognizes. They can figure it out by 3. More than that, kids aren't the slightest bit interested in fresh content. They'll watch the same Super Why episode nine times in a row. When you're talking about fresh young minds seeking out things to watch, they've got a really limited search ability and an impressively unlimited ability to navigate an interface to find exactly what they want.

The content under discussion here is basically SEO blogspam in video form. It largely exists to find people who browse for it accidentally, and to find automatic playlists created by algorithm. If a kid happens to find it they'll look at it for a few seconds and skip it (or ask for someone to skip it). Most importantly if it doesn't have the voices they're expecting, they lose interest immediately - not discussed in the article is the fact that children's videos are inanely talkative and that the kids want the voices and songs.

That's really the worst part of all this - it's a failed experiment. These videos aren't even targeting kids, they're targeting algorithms that may at some point target kids but don't right now because real kids are busy watching the same Daniel Tiger clip over and over again.

And Daniel Tiger don't carry a scythe.

FirebrandRoaring  ·  472 days ago  ·  link  ·  

If I may summarize your view on the matter:

The author's talking nonsense about the children's interests, and you shouldn't worry about it

Was that correct?

EDIT: Also, thank you for sharing your experience with actual, living children, as opposed to an image fitting the narrative.

kleinbl00  ·  472 days ago  ·  link  ·  

No. My view on the matter is that Youtube Kids is ostensibly a silo for children to watch videos, but as evidenced by this article, it's largely a silo for algorithms to compete for views based on inputs that have nothing to do with children. My view on the article is that the author assumes that if these videos exist, there must be children watching them and my own experience suggests that's not an easy leap of faith to make.

    Superheros Pregnant Soccer Balls Fidget Spinner Spiderman Joker Hulk Cartoon Funny Kids Video Pranks

This is literally a video expression of this:

There are no children capable of finding this video who are not old enough to go "whoa. Pregnant hulk roundhouse kicking pregnant Elsa. WTF?" The formative age where you wouldn't want your kid to see this isn't looking for it. My kid's favorite video at 2:

My kid's favorite video at 3:

She's not weird. Sit through a Teletubbies episode; the young kids mostly want calmness and introspection. This is why little kids love Mr. Rogers. They gotta start being into fart jokes before Sponge Bob becomes interesting.

cgod  ·  472 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm afraid my kid might like some of the weirder shit if she could find it. She's and odd duck.

Mostly she likes to watch videos of kids and animals dancing and a videos made by a pretty slick kid friendly magician. I only casually supervise her YouTube experience. She's probably seen some inappropriate stuff but not terribly inappropriate and kids need to be exposed to some left field shit so that they don't crumple up like tissue the first time they get hit by stiff breeze.

The absolute worst thing she's seen is when I was trying to find a stream of the despicable movie Jumanji for her. It wasn't being streamed on any of the crap we are subscribed too, so I started looking at putlockers. A decidedly XXX rated add came up on one of them. Weeks later she said "Dad, I've been thinking about what that man was doing with his penis". Baaaagghh buuurrrggeee gaaahhh, fuck my life.

kleinbl00  ·  472 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My process goes something like this:

Is it on Netflix? No, then

Is it on Amazon? No, then

Is it on PTP? Of course it's on PTP. Can we wait? No? then

Buy it on Amazon.

Jumanji is dope. Way too old for my kid at the moment, though. We watched Princess Bride over the weekend and that was almost too much.

cgod  ·  472 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My kid could watch Robo Cop and not flinch. She is a hard little monster.

She really, really, really wants to watch scarier horror movies. She loves Goosebumps, Beetlejuice and Coraline and knows that there are way scarier things that she would love to consume. For the life of me I can't think of many 'safe' horror movies for her at age 6. We watched Army of Darkness, which she declared was the best movie ever, and Night of the Living Dead. Wish I could think of others that aren't too horrible or sexual, maybe the Dark Crystal, it gave me nightmares as a kid but I think she would eat it up. Personally neither me or the wife are horror fans.

As an aside, I think my kid might watch and hour or two of YouTube a week on average. It's not a big passion of hers.

kleinbl00  ·  472 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Wanna find her limits? Show her Alien. I watched it at seven.

Alien never gave me nightmares. ET? That little fucker haunted my dreams.

ButterflyEffect  ·  472 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    What, then? Parental controls, only letting your kid to the trusted sources? And who would establish which sources to trust? You? You're a cretin when it comes to the vast information field of the Internet. Even the most educated psychologists are stumbling: how can you do better?

{Grain of salt - I don't have any kids either, nor much interaction with kids}. My initial thought is that it's a much larger question that just parental controls. You bring up the topic of entertainment issues, which is true that they exist. How we seek out entertainment, what we seek out, and the impact it has on our/our childrens lives is an interesting question. Step one could be controlling what technology and at what times technology is available to children, allowing the curiosity and entertainment to be derived from our physical world with technology as a supplement. PBS, some cartoons, etc. etc and figuring out how to mold the entertainment controls around that subset of content.

kleinbl00  ·  472 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I think there are only a few truly bad parents that are not already doing this.

ButterflyEffect  ·  472 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Score +1 point to bfx for having the intuition of a not truly bad parent!