Why YouTube is the new children’s TV… and why it matters

Little Baby Bum has helped YouTube become even more popular with kids.

Excerpt from this article:

The phrase “digital babysitter” crops up regularly in comments about children and YouTube. It’s often framed as a criticism of parents: leaving their children in the corner of a room with an iPad doing the parenting.

In some ways, this argument doesn’t ring true. First, even an hour spent watching YouTube leaves plenty of hours in the day for reading books, riding bikes, drawing and generally getting the kind of face-to-face parental attention that’s so important for children.

Second, because YouTube doesn’t have to be something a child does alone: co-viewing can be a fun activity for them to share with their parent. And thirdly: sometimes parents just need to get stuff done. YouTube, like television, can buy the short bursts of time that a parent or carer needs to keep things running. But also like television, it needs boundaries


How Moms Use YouTube Videos: New Trends and Insights


Excerpt from this article:

With a world of information at our fingertips, moms are going online with questions big and small. To better understand what this looks like for moms, and how online video fits into their lives and decision-making process, we partnered with TNS and Ipsos and surveyed self-identifying moms, ages 18-54, who watch videos online. We found that 83% of moms search for answers to their questions online. And of those, three in five turn to online video in particular.

We know that two of the main reasons moms use YouTube are for how-to and DIY ideas. As moms turn to YouTube more and more, brands have a great opportunity: to be there and provide useful content when moms are looking for help, product know-how, or even ideas.

From Yum to Yuck

Illustration by Erik Carter. Photographs by Sung Won Yoon

Excerpt from this article:

Earlier this year, a video called ‘‘Korean Girls Taste American Snacks’’ appeared online. It featured the reactions of young women as they sampled popular American junk food like Pop-Tarts and s’mores-flavored Goldfish crackers. …

But it wasn’t a one-hit wonder, or a fluke — the video is part of a larger trend of culinary voyeurism that involves coaxing unsuspecting volunteers into trying unfamiliar food items and then filming their bewilderment.

…These videos are the descendants of a much older food meme in which toddlers are recorded tasting something intense for the first time — lemons, say — so we can witness their comically grimacing faces. It appears that there’s a universal appeal in watching someone encounter something entirely new and strange, especially if the viewer is already intimately familiar with that experience. Perhaps that’s because this Internet phenomenon works best when it takes our mundane rituals out of their usual context and turns them into an intoxicating spectator sport.

So Here’s a Study About Internet Cats

"The Grumpy Guide To Life: Observations By Grumpy Cat" Book Launch Party

Excerpt from this article that looks at that eternal question, why do people love internet cats?

People are more than twice as likely to post a picture or video of cats than they are to post a selfie.

…According to a personality test, people who reported watching the most cat videos tended to be more agreeable — cooperative, friendly, trusting — than people who watched fewer of the videos.

…Frequent cat-video-watchers also tended to score high on a scale measuring shyness; they were more likely to agree with statements like, “I feel tense when I’m with people I don’t know well.”

…They also reported feeling less anxiety, sadness, and annoyance after watching cat videos. Who could stay upset when watching cats play patty cake, or stalk their owners, or pretend to be a tiny, furry wrecking ball?

YouTube to the rescue: how it taught us to fix boilers, wash denim and master beauty tips

Tim Dowling plumbing

Excerpt from this article, which I can totally relate to, having recently searched for videos on repairing doorknobs, fixing a stove and resetting my wifi router:

The video site is 10 years old this week and now contains tricks and guides to pretty much every problem ever. Guardian writers reveal the lessons they’ve learned.

For several years running, I had to call out a plumber every autumn; the central heating pump would quit shortly after I turned on the system. One year, I had a magnetic filter installed to catch the gunk that kept jamming the pump, but the next year it quit right on schedule. I called the plumber. He cleaned out the magnetic filter, restarted the system, and sent me a bill.

The next year, the annual breakdown of the pump coincided with a warm spell, so I did nothing for a week. One day, while I was staring into space, it occurred to me that YouTube might hold the answer to my problem.

The Koreans who televise themselves eating dinner

Lee Chang-hyun

Excerpt from this article:

How do you fancy eating your dinner at home in front of a webcam and letting thousands of people watch? If they like the way you eat, they will pay you money – maybe a few hundred dollars a night… a good salary for doing what you would do anyway. This is happening now in South Korea.

It’s often said that if you want to see the future look at how technology is emerging in perhaps the most connected country on the planet. The food phenomenon is called mukbang – a combination of the Korean word for eating (muk-ja) and broadcasting (bang-song).

…Some 10,000 people watch him eating per day, he says. They send a constant stream of messages to his computer and he responds verbally (by talking) and orally (by eating, very visibly and noisily).

If the audience like the performance, they allocate him what are called “star balloons” and each of these means a payment to him and to the internet television channel on which he performs.

The Cheapest Way to Entertain your Children: Millions of toddlers are hooked on online ‘unboxing’ videos in which they watch their favourite toys being unwrapped

Videos showing toys being unwrapped have been viewed billions of times, with one unboxing channel in particular recently becoming the most watched YouTube show in the US

Excerpt from this article, which I found after hearing about how much my three-year-old nephew loves “watching eggs” (it’s really a thing! see also this article here, and this other one here):

They may leave many slightly bemused, but the phenomenon of online ‘unboxing’ videos appears to have developed a captive audience among toddlers across the world.

Videos showing toys being unwrapped have been viewed billions of times, with one unboxing channel in particular recently becoming the most watched YouTube show in the US… Overall, the channel has been watched more than 3 billion times, according to The Telegraph.

Updated, May 2016: Check out this article, “Inside the Strange and Slightly Creepy World of ‘Surprise Egg’ Videos”