My kids like to play on my cell phone and I don’t mind, usually. They’ve somehow managed to learn the ropes of YouTube faster than I ever did and they’re 6 and 8. The girls have also become obsessed with these little videos showing off different toys and describing what’s in the package. I don’t know why, but they’ll sit there for 30 minutes and watch some other kid playing with toys and describing what they got for Christmas.
Kids and reality tv
It’s all innocent, clean fun, so I didn’t mind at first. But recently the “Gimmes” have taken over my kids and I’m pretty sure it’s because of these videos. One video my daughter watched showed this girl opening her Christmas gift which included an American Girl doll (Isabelle) and 45 different outfits. I checked online and that doll alone is selling for over $100. Now, I may be cheap but $100 for a doll? The clothes are somewhere around $30 for an outfit. I don’t even spend that much on an outfit for myself! Suddenly my daughter is bemoaning that she’ll “just die” if I don’t get her all of the American Girl stuff like the kid in the video.
Pardon my language, but hell to the no. Maybe I’m old-school but I really did not expect this type of “reality” video to invade my home so deeply. Now, my kids also found this show called Bratayley (I’m feeling like an idiot typing this because apparently it’s a popular show and I just don’t even have a clue..) and I’m more inclined understand that type of show. I think it’s fascinating actually, that kids have somehow gotten a foothold in the “reality TV” market, albeit on a somewhat smaller scale. Why (as a people) are we so obsessed with the lives of other people… especially people who seem to have it all?
What I’m learning, rapidly, about kids and reality tv is that we need to be careful about these videos and shows. Kids’ brains are still developing and it is easier for them to see some of these things are real life. And maybe, spending $400 on a doll and her accessories is reality for some kids, but it isn’t our reality.
Reality television and videos about real life can be a lot of fun to watch. Personally, I watch “The Voice” and “So you Think you can Dance” religiously, but I’m also very well aware that I’m never going to star on one of those shows. Society is changing at a terrifying rate and it’s much easier to post and view distorted views of reality on the internet. We shouldn’t be afraid to give our kids a healthy dose of the real reality, otherwise we’re going to end up with a generation of entitled tots! In fact, an Australian study showed that kids who regularly viewed these types of shows are “more likely to associate wealth, popularity and beauty as factors that contribute to happiness.” Personally, I’d like my kids to find happiness in people and family.