Currently, I’m the mom of two pre-teens. And there’s a lot to learn, let me tell you. By the time I got the whole toddler-thing down, they were on to bigger and better things. Like kindergarten. We were off to elementary school, in the throes of play dates and trying to make time for dinner, after-school activities, and life that involved more people than just the four of us.
But now, everything’s changing at, quite frankly, what I consider to be a ridiculous pace. It seems like every week there’s another social media app that we’re saying no to. Now, my husband is the tech guy, the one I check in with when the girls ask about the newest social media app I’ve never heard of. I speak English. He speaks Technology. (He’s bi-lingual, that way.) And our 12 year-old is becoming fluent in Tech, too. I’ve begun considering her my plan B, in the case of a crisis — i.e. I can’t make my device(s) do what I want them to do. Like turn on.
Anyhow, our daughters, in their time living in today’s cultural soup, have become fans of several YouTube personalities. Now, I like facebook and pinterest, but you will rarely find me watching videos anyone puts up. Anywhere. I’m not exactly sure why this is, but, regardless, it’s the way it is. I’ll click on a link to a news story, but if I find that it’s a video, I’m out. Unless it’s something I’m concerned about and need to watch, I’m movin’ on. And yet, my girls are happy to watch videos of some stranger putting weirdly mixed nail polish on, with step-by-step instructions, or a mother doing (admittedly cool) stuff to her daughter’s hair. And this has brought us to their newest pastime of choice, watching vlogs (video logs, for the uninitiated) They’ve begun watching a particular vlog made by a couple with three little kids. Everyday they document a part of their day, and put it up on YouTube.
There is nothing objectionable or concerning in these videos. They seem like sweet people with normal little kids, doing what they do everyday. But, I have to say, I’m a little stymied. Why do people want to watch someone else doing their everyday stuff? HOW did this become a thing? *We* do everyday stuff. We even do it every day! We have our own everyday lives. What’s the draw?
One of my daughters was captivated by a particular video of the dad taking one of the kids to a store, and then following her around the entire place, waiting for her to decide what to spend her money on. If you’re a parent, my guess is you’ve probably done this very same thing, multiple times. And that’s exactly why I was not as delighted to watch the tedious process as my daughter was. I felt a little like I was watching paint dry, but my daughter was commenting and laughing because she thought it was adorable.
I know that my girls love watching little kids do their little kid things. I get that. But I’ve decided to put a limit on the time they spend watching strangers do stuff. We have neighbors who have adorable little kids who are more than happy to have my girls go over and help with their everyday stuff. Real everyday stuff.
It’s a different world, truly, than the one I grew up in. I must be so old in my kids’ eyes. <sigh> I admit that I’m being dragged into the new millennium, with more than the occasional kick and blood curdling scream. I’m happy to be online and have a smartphone. But virtual friends? … Nah.