How Streaming Kids’ Content Could Endanger Your Children

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How Streaming Kids’ Content Could Endanger Your Children

By Movieguide® Contributor

Children’s content, like all other media, has migrated to streaming services, but the ability for kids to choose what they watch when they want to might do more harm than good.

“Kids will always go for the biggest, fastest dopamine hit…We live in a world of instant gratification culture and actually delayed gratification is much better for happiness and mental wellbeing in the long term,” Konnie Huq, the longest-serving female presenter on CBBC’s BLUE PETER, told Sky News.

“And kids, obviously they’re not old enough to always make the right judgement calls,” she added.

Shows like COCOMELON—a popular childrens’ YouTube channel with over 168 billion views—rely on stimulating, and sometimes overstimulating, kids’ brains to trigger as much dopamine as possible.

However, the problem with streaming kids’ content extends beyond overstimulation. 

The ability to switch between content makes it easy for children to end up viewing inappropriate videos. This is especially true as streaming sites typically have poor regulation on what is and is not accessible to kids.

“Where kids play, predators prey,” CEO of Enough is Enough Donna Rice Hughes said at a senate hearing. “Understand that even your good, smart and careful kids are not safe on these platforms. Some of these companies have taken some steps, but it’s not enough.”

“It’s important to make sure you know what your kid is seeing, because on YouTube, for instance, your child could be watching one thing, but then different suggestions pop up unselected, unbeknownst to you,” Huq said.

Earlier this year, Prager U personality Aldo Buttazzoni revealed that YouTube Kids suggests videos “grooming kids with LGBTQ+ propaganda.”

Movieguide® also reported that some YouTube Kids videos appear innocent but actually contain graphically violent cartoons within the program. 

“So, a few programs hop away could be something that you might not be comfy with your child watching,” Huq continued.

This is especially problematic because, “the shows we watch as children shape the way we see the world, staying with us forever,” Britain’s Department for Culture and Media said.

Streaming children’s content not only makes it harder for parents to monitor, it also robs families of time together.

“There’s less and less of these shared viewing experiences, which is why I think some of these Pixar films do so well these days, in that teatime viewing isn’t really a thing and everyone seems to just be watching their own thing on their own device. There is no family viewing as such,” Huq said.

To combat these difficulties caused by streaming shows, Movieguide® encourages parents to have conversations with their kids about healthy media habits. Parents should have frequent conversations with their kids about the content they are viewing and what they are learning from this content.

Movieguide® previously reported:

With the explosion of children’s content on streaming sites and social media platforms, it is more important than ever for kids to be taught how to be wise about the media they consume. 

Even within the last decade, kids’ options were relatively limited when it came to the media they consumed. There were only a handful of TV channels dedicated to children’s shows and streaming sites were not yet big enough to regularly produce media for them. 

However, as streaming has continued to eclipse cable TV, children now have an almost endless stream of media available to them at all times. From shows to movies to YouTube channels starring kids their own age, there is no shortage to the content they have available at their fingertips.

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