Your preschooler may have developed an interest in YouTube videos. There are some videos out there that were created for young children to view. The majority of YouTube, however, is not intended for young children. Here are some things that parents need to know about preschoolers and YouTube videos.
Limit Screen Time
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. They also recommend that children and teens should engage with entertainment media for no more than two hours per day – and that the media they consume should be high-quality content.
Watch the Video First
The video your child is asking to watch appears to feature one of his or her favorite cartoon characters. That doesn’t automatically mean that the video is appropriate for preschoolers! Some of those videos may have been altered in ways that are not child-friendly. For example, the original audio may have been removed and replaced with swear-word filled dialogue.
Educate About Advertisement
In general, preschoolers are unable to understand the difference between entertainment and advertising. All they know is the video features something they like. As such, preschoolers can be very susceptible to advertising – especially if the ad is entertaining.
Parents should teach their children about advertising. “This video is an ad. They hope that the people who watch it will spend their money on that toy.” Simple statements can help you raise a savvy consumer.
Ideally, parents should sit down and watch videos with their preschooler. Doing so is a good way to encourage a preschooler to actively think about what he or she is watching. Talk about the video while it is playing (or immediately after it ends). Answer your preschooler’s questions about the video.
This process turns a passive activity into an interactive one. It also helps a parent to know, for certain, exactly what their preschooler has watched. Preschoolers who watch YouTube videos by themselves might end up watching videos that are not child-friendly.
Establish a Screen-Free Zone
The AAP recommends that parents designate certain areas of the home as a screen-free zone. No one is allowed to watch television, or use an tablet or smartphone, in those places. The dinner table is a good choice for a screen-free zone. It gives families the opportunity to have a conversation with each other.
Children’s bedrooms are another good place for a screen-free zone. It is easier to limit screen time if there is no TV, computer, or tablet in your preschooler’s bedroom. This restriction helps parents to be in control over the content of the videos that their little one is watching.
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