When my oldest son was two, he discovered YouTube. We were at a party with friends, and their son was watching YouTube Kids on a smartphone. My son sat next to him on the couch, and they both watched a video of a little boy opening boxes of toys and playing with them for nearly 15 minutes. I remember being in awe of the whole thing. My kid hadn’t sat still that long in his life.
That was the beginning of the end for our son. He was obsessed. Every morning he’d wake up and point to our TV and say “YouToo.” For a while, I let it happen. He woke up early, and it allowed me personal time to make coffee and do my own thing. Months later, we were at his three-year-old checkup, and he was being extremely impatient waiting for the doctor to come in the room. He kept trying to grab my phone out of my purse, and I kept closing it and telling him he couldn’t use it.
He had a complete meltdown and I gave in. When his pediatrician came in, he was happily watching YouTube on my phone in his little gown. Everything seemed fine, until the end of the appointment when his doctor turned to me and said, “You don’t let him watch that for more than an hour a day, do you? We want him to be an engineer and build with blocks, not just watch TV.”
I was mortified.
The next day, I cut him off cold turkey. There were a lot of tears, but it had gotten out of hand, and I needed to take control. My husband and I decided that TV was okay — educational programming like PBS or Sesame Street that teaches a lesson — but YouTube had to go. Now that my son is older, we’ve allowed it back into the house again, but it has a very strict time limit.