Like many of my posts, this one contains affiliate links to products for your convenience.
I’m going to start out by saying that if you don’t let your kids watch TV or are going to judge me for letting my toddler watch videos on my phone, just stop reading now. It’s a decision I made and I don’t want to hear why it makes me a terrible parent.
Surprise egg videos.
If you’re familiar with them, you’re probably way too familiar with them like I am. And maybe you love them; I don’t.
I’m not sure when it started but at some point my toddler went from watching educational Baby Genius videos and learning his ABCs from Leap Frog Letter Factory to watching surprise egg videos. And Play-doh surprise videos. And pretty much every other kind of surprise video that is available on YouTube. It doesn’t matter what he starts watching; he always finds his way to a surprise of some kind. And if you don’t know what a surprise egg video is, be grateful. All you have to do is search surprise egg videos to find thousands of videos with millions of views. They’re ridiculous and all over YouTube Kids right now. That and people pretending to play with toys. And for some reason my child would rather watch someone pretend to play with toys than actually play with them himself.
I thought it was cute when his interest started last year right before Easter. My ignorant self thought it was just some fun Easter egg videos and played along and bought him a bunch of surprise eggs for our Easter egg hunt. And then it turned into 4th of July eggs and Halloween Eggs and eventually Valentine’s Day eggs. And now, eggs every day.
The videos are ruining him.
These stupid surprise videos are teaching him things I don’t want him to learn and creating habits and addictions in him that I’ve fought so hard his entire life to avoid.
Things like every box that comes in the mail is a surprise for him. Unfortunately most of the time they’re surprises for me. Cue toddler tantrum.
And that he needs every single toy at Target because he saw a well edited video of a specific toy that changes color. I have a hard enough time going into Target without spending a million dollars on my own, thank you very much. And then when you buy said toy to avoid an in-Target toddler tantrum, it doesn’t actually change colors. How do you explain video editing to a 2-year-old? Cue toddler tantrum.
Oh, and how about that he needs to get every single figurine in a set, a set like these Minecraft blind boxes that have pieces you can only get by buying single surprise packs. SINGLE SURPRISE PACKS. Thank you toy industry for capitalizing on this craze. And of course in the surprise videos, they don’t get repeats. In real life, when you’re choosing a package to open blindly, somehow you always get the one you already have even when there are 20 other options. And that elusive horse isn’t anywhere to be found. Cue toddler tantrum.
My favorite new thing is that he needs treats all the time because the kids in his videos get treats every day. And when he sees some sour gummy worms, he has to have sour gummy worms. Doesn’t matter that we don’t have sour gummy worms or that I said he can’t have any, he NEEDS them. Cue toddler tantrum.
How about some surprise egg videos with veggies inside or how about a few grapes? I feel like the duck at the lemonade stand asking for grapes when all they have is lemonade. Just encourage my kid to eat some grapes instead of gummy bears. Because for some reason he believes the surprise egg voices more than he believes mine right now.
I made the decision early on that I was okay with my son having screen-time because it was the best decision for my family. And every time he grabs my hand to pull me up to dance for the Mutt & Stuff dance party, I remember why I made that decision and still don’t regret it. And when I heard him say his letters for the first time while watching Leap Frog’s Alphabet Amusement Park, I didn’t regret it. But the surprise egg phenomenon has recently had me second guessing allowing his screen time to include YouTube or YouTube Kids because there’s no way to filter out the ridiculous surprise videos that are constantly filling my child’s screen. And I can’t handle the fact that people are making millions of dollars teaching my toddler things that I don’t want him to learn. I know when he gets older I’ll no longer be able to make these decisions for him, but for today I can.
So after yet another day of refusing to hand over the Halloween candy stash and dealing with multiple Target tantrums, I’m breaking up with YouTube and its obnoxious stepchild, surprise videos. And in Taylor Swift’s words, “we are never ever getting back together.”