It’s official, kids are taking over the internet one website, one program, one app, even one video at a time.
Personal devices are becoming ever more intuitive, so much in fact that the average two year knows how to find their favorite app with the easy swipe of their finger. This means that as early as the age of two, screen time and viewing preferences are starting to form and platforms are paying attention to our kids’ habits now more than ever before.
Despite our heroes of the day being hyper-relevant, almost futuristic online content creators for kids, our story really begins all the way back in 1969 at the premiere of Sesame Street on public television.
In the late ’60s a radical idea grabbed hold of a few enlightened entertainers… what if?
“What if you could create content that was both entertaining and instructive? What if it went down more like ice cream than spinach?” – Michael Davis, speaking about the development of Sesame Street.
It only feels right that in the spirit of our forefathers (and foremothers), that our current flavor of childhood superstars also comes from a free-to-view platform. One key difference is the quantity of content (not necessarily quality) and how our kids’ ability to surf that content has grown exponentially.
Modern technology has made kid’s video content more accessible than ever, which can and has become be a very sharp, double-edged sword for many families. Producer Joan Ganz Cooney once called children’s programming a ‘wasteland’, and that sentiment is alive now more than ever.
With the rise of YouTube came attempts to capitalize on a growing audience and make the almighty dollar any way that was feasibly possible, without much consideration for how such content would impact the development of our youth. This led to an ocean of waste, with empty content and missed opportunities to communicate good morals and sound judgment. Instead, what we’ve created is an Army of consumers.
Enter the stock of our Modern viewing world, and this is only the beginning.
Here are a few characters to wet your whistle:
Blippi – It seems like every parent with a child between 2-6 years old knows who Blippi is. Love it or hate him, his educational videos for kids have become the staple entertainment of our preschool youth. Blippi takes your kids around town and into play centers to teach them about letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and the basic functions of society. What started out as simple play videos has turned into an empire of how it’s made education and fun. Visit the website and subscribe on YouTube.
Walter the Wildlife Explorer – A lovable blend of the late Mr. Rogers (from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood) and Steve Irwin (from The Crocodile Hunter) is straight from Sesame Street’s videos for kids playbook. Walter is a lovable persona who goes on adventures exploring land and wildlife that he wishes to conserve, is becoming a community favorite by taking kids on Blippi-like adventures to discover nature and reinforce the importance of wildlife conservation. Along the way, everyone learns about numbers, letters, shapes, and colors, but most importantly, how to care for the world around us. Visit the website and subscribe on YouTube.
J House Vlogs – The self-described imperfect family working together towards a happy home, and meaningful connections. With 5 kids in the mix, the chaos is both entertaining and valuable, with an emphasis on meaningful connections which landed them on this list. It’s the time that the creators of this vlog take to break down situations and explain their process and spiritual journey that makes this content so enlightening for children to see. Visit the website and subscribe on YouTube.
The Wiggles – This Australian children’s music group is delightfully fun, and their show is a giant stage performance at heart. A band of entertainers roaming the countryside and singing goodness into the world. There’s something sublime to be said about the power of music and a smile. Visit the website and subscribe on YouTube.
Life Hack, controlling your child’s subscriptions helps bring the content YOU want them to see to the top of their playlists and helps algorithms learn and provide your family with better content that you want to see.
So what’s the point of all this you ask? The power of viewership on our youth has never been more prevalent, and when it comes to attention, yet again, the kids have won. The question is which characters do we want to guide our children into the future?
Action starts with the subscribe button. Trust me, the algorithms are watching…