My 9-yr.-old loves video games. It seems sometimes like his love for video games surpasses his love for everything else. When he’s not playing video games, or negotiating with me about his game time limits, he’s watching others play video games on YouTube. The pandemic hasn’t really bothered him, because it did nothing to interfere with his favorite activities.
Since I set game time limitations, the main concern I have had about these patterns is the exclusivity of his entertainment choices. Unlike when I was a child, or even when his brother was growing up, he doesn’t watch shows with narrative or characters.1 It’s nearly always some guy playing a video game and yelling at the screen. That doesn’t seem to be teaching him much.
The only thing I’ve noticed that these videos may have improved is his vocabulary, as most of the YouTubers are older and have more sophisticated ways of communicating than younger kids. However, his language has also commensurately, at times, become more colorful. Just like his heroes, he talks a lot when he plays games. Most of the time, he just seems frustrated, always accusing some online unknown person of “hacking.” Today, he was talking about someone making mistakes, “as a newb” but then said, “what the eff do you think you are doing?”
At that point, I heard a record scratch. I admonished him, of course, but more than that, I started thinking that perhaps open access to YouTube is not beneficial for this child. I’m going to look at getting the Disney Circle back up and running, so I can limit time on YouTube and on which devices he will have access to it.
It was scary enough when my progeny said he didn’t need to go to college because he was going to be a YouTuber, and they don’t need college degrees. Now that he’s taking foul mouthed language queues from these guys (and all the ones he watches are guys), I’m at the breaking point.
Don’t get me started on those Disney Channel shows with the laugh tracks and the clueless parents. ↩︎