A big thanks to my son, Andrew, for giving me this insight.
One of the more fascinating discoveries of the 21st-century has been finding out how much children love to watch other children play with toys and open boxes on YouTube. This is one of those revelations that I doubt anyone saw coming.
But why do they love it? Just as their grandparents love magazines like Better Homes & Gardens, and their parents swoon over Chip & Joanna Gaines’ “Fixer Upper,” children want to discover what toys best fit them. It’s where they go to try out new ideas and products.
In other words, children are genuinely discerning. They not only want to know what a toy looks like before they buy it, they want to know what it looks like coming out of the box, how to assemble it, and how it plays. YouTube allows them to move past slick television ads and static box covers to get at the truth of a toy.
And here is a reason to encourage your children to watch these types of shows: These YouTube videos teach children how to be intelligent consumers. Those who live in capitalist countries are not just citizens; they are consumers. Since becoming a consumer is inevitable, children must learn how to become “smart” consumers early. That means learning how to determine what makes for a great product and whether that product is right for them.
So, the next time you see a child staring at a screen, and looking hypnotically while another child opens a box, don’t be put off. They are transfixed because they are learning. That’s a good thing.