"My children don't watch TV anymore, they just watch YouTube". I've heard that statement over and over again from parents. Often it is delivered with a smile and a sentiment that this is good news. Unfortunately, not only is this not good news, it is yet another symptoms of the problem we parents have in today's tech heavy society which is, "We don't know what we don't know".
YouTube, like many websites/apps/search engines, provides a steady drip of stimulation with no end in sight. Each video rolls into another more enticing opportunity to laugh, cringe, or gasp, and all with a simple click (or even no click at all!). What makes matters worse is that the human brain is designed to seek novelty, so this continuous flow of new material keeps us and our children hooked. Add to that a release of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine and you have a risky mix of things taking place. My advice to parents is to encourage their children to step away from the bottomless world of YouTube and revisit entertaining yet finite TV shows. Or better yet, grab a book, play outside, or get silly together! Make the most of your down time and teach your children to do the same.
Check out this great short video about phone use: