There is a strain of video (below) on there that is just like perceptual candy to kids. And there are LOADS of these videos in slightly different versions.
My own anecdote:
Our 2 year old found these videos (3 years ago): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7IsNFDtG4U&list=PLHZrFxrJbt...
At first we were like "seems fine, colors and shapes...keeps him engaged". After a month or two he could just stare slack jawed at these videos for hours, it was like he was being lobotomized, and begged for them constantly. It was clear that they didn't actually teach him anything, and he couldn't even remember anything salient from watching them. We turned them off and haven't let him watch since. Even things like watching looney toons is infinitely better because there is some base narrative, characters, problems etc.
The danger for kids also stems from this in my opinion, if the wrong kind of video creeps into autoplay everything goes down the drain FAST with almost no chance to recover for the better by itself. Cheap and almost copied content gets rewarded the most.
"But taken together the cumulative effect is that of a giant refrigerator that freezes us, and those who govern us, into a state of immobility, perpetually repeating the past and terrified of change and the future."
That article makes the same argument about index funds and hedge funds, the Blackrocks and Vanguards of the world. Minimizing risk means trapping the world in a way that it never has a chance to gamble on changing.
"It has within its memory a vast history of the past 50 years - not just financial - but all kinds of events. What it does is constantly take things that happen in the present day and compares them to events in the past. Out of the millions and millions of correlations - Aladdin then spots possible disasters - possible futures - and moves the investments to avoid that future happening.
I can't over-emphasise how powerful Blackrock's system is in shaping the world - it's more powerful in some respects than traditional politics.
And it raises really important questions. Because its aim is to not change the world - but to keep it stable. Preventing any development thats too risky. And when you are moving $11 trillion around to do that -it is a really important new force."
Personalized tailored experiences prevent the future by making us relive the past.
YouTube also lets you easily add to your interests by directly searching for and watching videos about them. There is also the slow way where you have interest X and YouTube recommends you a video about Y since it noticed that it preformed well for other people interested in X.
I would never consider YouTube as trapping me as a frozen past as what kinds of videos it recommends are constantly changing as my interests in real life change.
That said, I don’t personally use auto play often. I don’t let YouTube just pick random things for me over and over, unless it’s music in a background. Even on a tv I browse suggestions and pick one vs letting it choose.
I don't know what happened or when, but it's impossible to discover new content there anymore.
This was also around the time I just turned off the entire thing via DF YouTube :)
I now view YT like a dumb video hosting service; can't be bothered to fight with its stupid UI or inexplicable ML background fuckery.
Maybe some day they'll equip users with the tools that are appropriate to browse the biggest video platform of all time. They could take a hint from Steam on how to do that (or just use common sense)
I tend to unsubscribe, or tell youtube to stop showing me this.
You can click here  to see your supposed 'interests'.
It's uncannily bad.
'Combat Sports' , 'Boating', 'Construction and Power Tools' and 'Cricket' (!) apparently among interests they think I haven though they are subjects which don't cross my mind.
I don't think I've even thought about 'Cricket' other than for them to tell me it's 'an interest'.
It also deduced correctly that I'm married with no kids, while my work account is married with teenage kids, probably from watching videos linked here in HN.
Parental Status : Not A Parent
Nursery & Playroom
Babies & Toddlers
Baby & Toddler Toys
Baby Care & Hygiene
Baby Strollers & Transport
Maybe too many cat videos?
Too bad it's never going to happen.
Yes and no. From your own example, the censors and rules made it clear to parents what and when their kids could watch without the parents having to expend too much time and effort to double check everything. In theory, something branded 'YouTube Kids' would fit the same purpose and many parents probably assume it is fine based on their experience with offline media. The problem is there is no strictness or quality control like you mention.
That would be an interesting Kids mode. "Only allow videos from playlists that have been added/sunk to this account." Kind of a middle ground between making Google the content arbitrator and being able to watch every video before your kids do.
That's kind of the point of YT though is to completely bypass the network curation. Nobody has what you want on or won't put your stuff on? Screw 'em! We bring you YouTube. The You was the big deal that bucked the network concept.
So no, there's never going to be a human curator for all of YT. If channels want to curate themselves, then they may or may not be rewarded for that with a larger subscriber base.
Instead we have algoautoplay.
I'm describing opt in playlist producers. Why couldn't there be a level of "playlist curators" who exist not as channels. "Bob puts together really good playlists, whitelist all Bob approved videos." I subscribe to 10 curators and bobs my uncle. I want to follow bob for the videos he suggests not the ones he makes.
The idea of a channel curating itself is the anthesis of someone picking the best from many channels. Pop radio run by Taylor Swift would turn into her playing her album on repeat? How is that more useful than the album itself.
The evolution of the MTV VJ. It could even have an audio reaction track layered over the top of the playlist that can be toggled on off. They could add intro/outro commentary.
The other part is how to incentivize the creation of the playlists.
Unless you're letting a tablet, or the television raise your children, it's not because of the onslaught of content. The onslaught of content is nothing new - for the past century, mass media was producing more content than you could ever consume.
The problem is that parents aren't putting in the time and energy to curate the content their children consume. (I'm explicitly not going to go into the social reasons why, it's an interesting topic, but not really pertinent to this thread. Some people in this thread are bringing up technical reasons why, which I feel is more pertinent.)
In other words: If we want to break kids' screen addictions then we need to start with their parents.
I grew up with a handful of channels and I can't really say it was much of a hardship. When I compare to the endless doomscrolling of YouTube for yet another Minecraft video I see my boy doing I can't help but feel like the algorithms have got his mind in a vice already. The technology seems better in every way, but the negatives are also amplified.
YouTube is measurably worse, especially for children’s content. There was amazing music and educational stuff in there, and it’s still there. But those creators are gone in the sense that there isn’t a lot of new content as the garbage you describe took over.
It’s reflective of the poor leadership of that part of the company. Based on conversations with fellow parents, YouTube is a no-go zone for them. The idiot who got a big bonus for “engagement” targeting kids will be long gone when the brand toxicity kills the growth.
Look at Netflix as a comparison of a company with similar product, but who has self-respect. Netflix has a ruthless focus on engagement, but you don’t see the type of vacuous content. Netflix never auto played by 3 year old to a creepy clown hiding in a kids video. If anything, they elevated television in many ways.
It's the opposite. Quality content goes viral where bad content will stop getting recommended to people.
>Cheap and almost copied content gets rewarded the most
What gets rewarded the most is entertaining videos. YouTube doesn't care if that video took 10 minutes to make or 10 months. It just sees how good the video is at entertaining people.
As someone who can't help but look for those narrative and visual tropes, I can indeed confirm that the bog standard reality TV show, and the vast majority of non-reality TV shows are about this intellectually un-engaging.
Then they're posted to dozens of YT channels in different languages with highly algorithm-optimised names and descriptions.
There are all sorts of conspiracies from some psyop stuff to AI/ML generated content. I have not ideas what to even begin to think.
The easiest answer I suppose is just some companies found an easy way to mass produce videos towards an demographic that will not mind mindless clicking, and that that will translate to more views and more money. That still doesn’t explain the bizarre and disturbing content some of them put out.
My take was that it was crafted to be optimally engaging to a child of about four years of age. With no other purpose. Maybe even semi-automatically generated. The subject matter is a common fear of children. The video does not have enough to push it quite over the edge to any horror/revulsion response. Any particular frame would not be too out of place in a children's cartoon. As an adult, it disturbs mostly when you realize what's going on behind it conceptually.
Obviously worked as intended, given how many views it got. https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-39381889
There are thousands of video variations of that theme. Someone else here mentioned people cosplaying the characters in creepy ways. I think it started there and evolved rapidly into automated production of reptile-brain trigger material.
I do wish I could just whitelist channels, or get automatic recommendations for channels to block.
A single video would appear harmless. But hundreds (maybe thousands) of these? Horrible.
But if you put them on continuously in front of a young kid (or at least my kid) and you can almost see their gray matter being systematically obliterated.
I think its childhood equivalent of mindless doomscrolling.
If you think this concern is overblown, just look at what Wile E. Coyote did to a generation of children. People grow up thinking you can walk off a cliff and not fall to your doom until you look down. We were told it was just a joke, but look at the dire consequences.
As someone said below, even a show like Loony Tunes would be better, but preferably kids should be watching things such as PBS Kids.
I don't allow my kid to use youtube at all so it is preaching to the choir here, pinch of salt, etc.
No YouTube anymore. PBS Kids from there on.
The slack-jaw lobotomized YT Kids look is honestly scarier than the benzo loopies. I think we’re done with it.
Thanks to people dismissing ElsaGate as "just weird videos", that issue never got the attention it actually deserved. Aside from the countless rationalizations, part of the blame is on YT in my books; mostly for saying "it's fine, we'll deal with it" instead of collecting data, analyzing it, and making the results public to warn parents.
I asked how often his kid watched SS. With a back of envelope calculation, I pointed out that it took SS several hundred hours to teach his kid the alphabet. I.e. it was the most inefficient, time-consuming teaching method ever devised.
(I was taught the alphabet in first grade by singing the alphabet song. This was before SS.)
No wonder it's popular.
For what it's worth, we found https://www.youtube.com/user/SuperSimpleSongs via the Khan Academy Kids app. They have select videos (from what we've seen) from this particular creator that they break up into the app and make responsive.
So for example they may play a bit of 'Do you know the muffin man,' then pause it and ask the child to tap on the ___. Or tap and count the ___.
Given how he's been developing, and that we'll break into random songs that we learned from the series, I've no complaints with a few channels.
(Although what I like most is to sit and watch crazy repair videos together with them: welding of excavator arms, disassembly and restoration of everyday items etc.)
However, credit were credit is due: one of my kid spent some time on those channels around age 4 to 5 and actually surprised me by having learned English numbers, and not superficially: I was totally amazed when that kid could not only count to 20 in English but also instantly translate between the language his mother talks and English. Compared to other kids I know just being able to consistently count to 20 in one language might often be a challenge.
A little more criticism: in addition to pretend-educational videos which I find mightily annoying there were also a number of kids-unboxing-box-after-box-of-expensive-toys which seemed to me to be the worst.
You sure? After watching a couple of 'em I ain't sure it's even physically possible for a human to come up with something so absurdly inhuman.
It's like if that "surreal entertainment" channel branched out into actual kids' content instead of parodies thereof.
One helpful thing was raising the age for their YouTube kids.. I don't want them just navigating YouTube alone.
Everyone being able to make content means there are gems that would never otherwise get made, and also vast wastelands of garbage to sort through, or get dumped into by the algorithm.
YT Kids is made by people optimizing for marketing dollars.
Compared to what I grew up on cable with manipulative ads YouTube Kids isn't even close to that level, but then again I make a point to pay attention to the content on there.
I think YouTube has and does provide high quality content, it's the filtering that's the tough part.
This isn't the default though: Parents have to actively enable it. But it does get rid of most of the toy/McDonald's/etc adverts and "child personalities" that are prominent on the platform.
You could say that about any publisher or platform.
I think this is in some ways similar to reddit. While there are some great threads from time-to-time, it is a way for people to quickly vent/amuse themselves.
Huge ones like /r/askreddit are like tabloids. Same with any big /r/*advice. Niche subreddits are so good though.
I've had to get rid of it in my house. Standard YT has some interesting channels that you can learn a lot from, but it's worth it for me to PiHole anything youtube anyway. Now I just curate interesting videos and the kids have to watch it with me.
I also curate content to watch with my daughter. It started long before she had access to a computer, because it made for a nice pocket of time to share fun moments in the evenings.
We call them "Watch With XXX" (where XXX is my daughter's nickname). When I find something I think she'll like, I email it to myself with the subject "wwXXX". An email filter shuffles them off to a separate mailbox. She regularly asks if I have any new WWXXX's, or if we can watch an old favorite again.
ADHD isn't an adjective.
My friends had a worse experience. Their daughter started watching cosplay videos where actors would dress up like Elsa and the Joker, and the Joker would kidnap Elsa and tie her up. Borderline porn and pretty inappropriate. Then she got fixated on makeup videos and they couldn’t stop her from watching those.
It sort of proves the point that Google’s search and suggestion algorithms take your interests and magnify them instead of giving breadth.
If the kid has the last word on what she watches, the parents have their own problems. A family is more like a monarchy than a democracy, children can't outvote parents.
There really was a strange amount of 'empty' what seems like almost procedural generated type content that is just sound and noise and nothing happening.
It's like hypnotoad with slightly more action, but only slightly more action.
I go with PBS Video (https://pbskids.org/) if I need a quick go to type video for the kids. I trust PBS a hell of a lot more.
I honestly don't understand how this restriction makes sense, it all seems punitive.
You could also try if an alternative YouTube client like NewPipe works on the Shield, and brings more useful bookmarking features? (Another option would be downloading them, again with NewPipe or on a PC, and keeping the files somewhere)
Your advice is eminently practical. I already have a PLEX server, I could just youtube-dl the videos/channels she likes.
I'd still prefer if I could whitelist regular YouTube videos I explicitly approve of...
I could see the need to end that, but, why can't I make a private playlist with my kiddo's videos?
1. Kid can't login to google play games and can't play some games and can't save progress in other games.
2. Kid gets parent to change their age or kid registers an adult google account outside of family controls.
3. Kid can now play games and save progress, etc. In all cases, parents lose controls and kid can spend money with impunity on family account (if you change their age).
YouTube Kids was the first thing that bothered me. Google wouldn't let me allow her to install regular YouTube, so she was stuck with that horrible, insufferable crap that makes Teletubbies seem like Kieslowski. It's still beyond me why she should be barred from listening to stuff like Kraftwerk's The Robots, Bananarama's Na Na Hey Hey or Hit 'Em High from Space Jam, all of which she's much more into than whatever YouTube Kids thinks 9-year-olds are all about. Fortunately I stumbled upon a toggle in the Family Link settings that would let me let her install and use regular YouTube.
And forget about the YouTube Music family plan, that's just straight-up impossible on a sub-13 account. Then there's Spotify Kids (which is pretty much just as bad as YouTube Kids) but Spotify at least lets you lie about her age and install the regular app. (We've all heard the horror stories of Google completely shutting people out from Photos, Drive, etc. for lying about a kid's age, I'm not about to risk that just yet.)
Oh, and you're also not going to be gaming with your kid on her new phone. Google Play Games won't let sub-13s sign in with their Google account. So this PEGI-3 rated disc golf game with multiplayer but no player interaction is a total no-go.
I find it absolutely baffling how little control I have of these things as a parent. Why on earth can't I let my kid use YouTube Music? Why is she allowed to install a PEGI-3 rated multiplayer game but not play it? And why can't "sign in with my Google account" work like when she's asking permission to install an app? Seems like a pretty obvious way to go about it.
This is intended to meet legal liabilities, and the most egregious helicopter parents needs. And due to the Childs Online Privacy Protection Act, pretty much any app that uses advertising has terms of service that prevent children from using it.
You want Family Link to be less restrictive, but apparently the lawmakers in question won't be satisfied until the only thing your child can do is watch PBS reruns.
Googles implementation of family link is a ridiculously ham handed implementation of a walled garden type approach which is so bad it’s hard to imagine it is not purposefully designed to push folks to just lie about their children’s age.
And then look at the actual parent article that we're talking about. It's all about how YouTube Kids includes too many videos that feature advertising. I think the connection is very clear.
Once you've accepted that the link is there, then it almost becomes impossible to imagine that it would work any other way. If they didn't hide the install button for YT, then lawmakers would probably say that Google intentionally is trying to get parents to install the real app (and the advertising that comes along with it). If the product does anything right, it'll be said it's making money from children.
If it was me: yes, I'd just lie about my kids age and move on with my life. Maybe that's just my anti-nanny-ware belief system, but I don't think it's appropriate to monitor children like that. I think either you trust them to be responsible online, or you don't. In your case, you do, so my suggestion is to just let them use the fully unlocked device. If they install malware, then wipe the phone. That's just part of life.
We have a dedicated public television channel where I am and the content is significantly better than YouTube: https://pbskids.org/
My kids will tell me about history and science that they pick up from those shows.
I don't think I've ever heard anything from them that I liked when it came to YouTube content.
Folks behind their content are motivated by creating good content for the kids rather than commerical interests.
People in there are actually educated about kids' development, with actual entertainers and scientists.
My 4yo got into math heavily for a while, and shows like NumberBlocks were a big part of that.
He got into drumming this last year, and there's so much great content from kids not much older than him showing how to play pretty much any song you like. That really motivated him.
Any time we have a question pop-up that is best visualized to explain, like "Where does the poop go when we flush?", or "How does the wheat for bread grow?" - we just pick up the remote, ask the question with voice, and there's usually a couple of good quality clips to choose from.
Yes, there's a ton of junk. Don't let kids mindless watching YouTube (or yourself - I'm often guilty when the insomnia kicks in). But its also a total game-changer for the breadth of on-demand quality educational content if you use it right.
Like you, I also think it's a disgrace. I had a friend who to me basically seemed like they didn't like dealing with kids, so just gave her daughter a tablet she was glued to at all times. I mean, young, I don't remember the age now but less than 2? She never made eye contact or any noise, just messing with the tablet. I can't help but think there's going to be a whole generation of socially broken kids. But, here's hoping I'm wrong.
On the other side, it's an opportunity cost to doing something else. When you start learning anything about child development it gets a bit horrifying. For example, for young kids there are a bunch of stages to learning to talk. Watching video recordings doesn't fulfill much of the development. A lot relies on trial and error of interacting with someone speaking instead of passively watching something flat (or animated) that was prerecorded. For older ages, sitting in front of an iPad means foregoing motor development or peer engagement...or just building bad habits about fitness.
Also (assuming you were born in the 80s/early 90s), the internet of our childhood is VASTLY different from what it is today... Both in good ways and bad, but mostly bad ways.
Yeah just keep blaming parents. That'll make everything better.
I realize a huge percentage of parents fail at this (some more than others), and the amount of work that must be done to make a living and the ease with which things like Youtube make handing off parenting to them doesn't help matters. But the moral responsibility still ultimately resides with the parents themselves.
It's just plain wrong.
Setting up some parent to believe that letting their kid explore YouTube Kids on their own is a good idea through your marketing and then having the vast majority of the content on the service be low quality dreck with no redeeming value is setting up parents for failure.
YouTube Kids either needs to curate a lot better (as if) or back off on their marketing claims.
Yes, but I'd argue that this matters.
I would say it is if the product is literally YouTube Kids... 
> YouTube Kids was created to give kids a more contained environment that makes it simpler and more fun for them to explore on their own, and easier for parents and caregivers to guide their journey as they discover new and exciting interests along the way.
And from TFA,
> The letter claimed that one research team, which it did not name, found only about 4% of videos had a high educational value. Much of the rest was low quality content such as toy unboxing and videos of people playing video games.
I don't see how those 2 things are incompatible with each other. Not all children's programming needs to be "highly educational". I'd say toy unboxing and videos of people playing (child friendly, hopefully) video games is totally fine. Parents just need to stop using an iPad as a babysitter and actually limit the amount of time they're watching things.
Blaming parents is pretty far off base here. The whole point of the app is to let kids use it on their own, but it's clearly not safe to do so, because they'll rapidly trigger the recommendation algorithm into some dopamine-producing engagement-optimized garbage.
You can direct your kids to only watch stuff you approve of, but as soon as the recommendations start coming up, you're put in the position of saying "no", which with toddlers often leads to disproportionate screaming fits. I'd rather save dealing with that for the times when it's actually important to say "no" rather than trying to screen out some crappy low quality toy videos.
I've deleted the YouTube app and instead given my toddler free reign with the PBS Kids app. Much higher quality content that I'm happy to support with donations to PBS and WGBH.
It's "safe" in the sense that kids won't see boobies or hear potty words on the videos. But it's unsafe in that they will be constantly inundated with marketing content that is proven to be very effective on kids.
YT Kids videos (see some examples above) are highly tuned dopamine production displays with little educational content.
There is good content on YouTube, like Cbeebies and BBC Earth, but that's not what tends to bubble up on the recommendation system.
Even trying to watch individual videos or channels that I do like doesn't work well, because my two year old sees the recommendations and starts demanding what one, and now I have to say "no" to something that shouldn't have been offered in the first place.
I've taken to saying "you can watch anything you want on PBS Kids" in response to demands for YouTube videos of various sorts.
Is there interesting stuff? Sure. But it won't be recommended to you. And that's what the service really is, a recommendation engine. If there was no algorithm, just a video host, youtube would be much better.
Now, no matter what you search: it limits you to the most popular results, you see almost no random video uploads even after using filters, plus extra results unrelated to your search that YouTube will insist you watch even if it is unrelated to your original search.
There is a lot of interesting stuff on YouTube that is recommended to me, at least when I am logged in.
When I am browsing in private mode or looking at the "trending" tab, it is less relevant to my interests (to put it gently) but it is not all terrible either.
The comment section is the worst though, and it seems like YouTube is working hard at making is as uninteresting as possible. It looks like they are somewhat successful at preventing it from being toxic, but it looks like it works by killing all form of discussion and instead put forward endlessly copy-pasted memes.
There isn't any way to turn off recommendations that I could find and it's not realistic to pre-watch every video they watch and it's not easy to come up with good criteria for what it is ok for them to watch or not watch. I guess all you can do is keep half an eye on them while they are watching things. I think we've been lucky in terms of not hitting anything too terrible.
Not sure what the solution is. There's a difference between low-quality content and unsuitable content and every parent will have different options. I'd really like to be able to add and remove particular channels to YouTube Kids and to turn off the recommendations.
The worries about commercialism turned out to be unfounded in our case. Yes - there were a few times that they wanted a toy they saw on YouTube, but they soon realized after getting their hands on them that in reality most of that stuff is crap. They pretty quickly grew out of watching/coveting toys they saw there, and in fact, I have found that they seem to be far less interested in toys than I was at their age.
I also always got the feeling that a lot of content on PBS kids was more geared at parents than children. "Little Einsteins" for example isn't a bad show, but feels a little heavy handed to me in the degree to which it moralizes and pushes things like classical music appreciation on small children. Honestly, I really don't see a lot of value in teaching a three year old the theme to Beethoven's 9th symphony vs. Baby Shark. And it never held my kids' attention like YouTube kids could.
A bigger concern for me now is just the addictiveness of the iPad/iPhone in general. They both lost interest in YouTube Kids around 4 years old, but they haven't lost interest in those devices. Our older son in particular could spend a whole day clicking mindlessly around iOS if we didn't limit him. So could I, for that matter.
There's a class of videos that seem designed to make kids' brains produce dopamine and want to watch more and more.
If you control the remote or device, then sure, fine, stick to quality content, but I wish there was a way to turn off the recommendations that show up on the big screen at the end of the video or when the app loads but before I've searched for or cast something.
still same problem as 3 years ago ( https://www.engadget.com/2018-03-23-youtube-still-plagued-di... )
There is so much weirdness anyway there (see for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFfFMZQyxB0 posted few days ago )
It's clearly possible to see nobody moderated this content
It was not this exact videos, but it was very similar and in the description it said fun for kids, kids shows pepper pig.
They were trying to show todlers horror content. It made me sick to think someone thought this was funny.
These videos are not the problem it was other people reuploading similar content edited optimising for children traffic.
Kids spend way too much time in front of tv. It is just a fact with our lifestyles. So you might as well invest some money in it as a nation and make sure it is high quality.
But even worse is that there is no way to quickly rewind or fast forward. You can only use the skip 10 seconds buttons. So if my son watches half of a show and wants to watch it again a week later, the show starts where he left off. I end up having to click the remote about 200 times to get back to the start. I upgraded to get rid of ads, which has made the experience much better, but the UI is really infuriating.
Then there are roblox and minecraft videos which they watch and then go off and play with their friends while all facetiming together. Now they want to be youtubers.
So it is not all mindless.
It would be one thing if you as a parent could say "anything from these channels is okay", but your only option is to block videos one at a time. As it is, I have no way to prevent my toddler from spending 4 hours watching random Serbian videos of toys being dipped paint.
‘YouTube for Schools’
I agree that there should be some reasonable restrictions on advertising, but deciding what is a waste of time doesn't seem like it's really in the government's authority.
Government nanny pearl-clutching over children's entertainment is a time-honored tradition. They said comic books rotted kids brains in the 50s. They said He-Man was too violent in the 80s. They said video games were training killers in the 90s. They said animated shows had too many advertisements, introduced regulations to limit how much time could be allocated to commercials for animated shows, and ultimately put the final nail in the coffin of the multi-generational tradition of Saturday Morning Cartoons.
Instead of letting parents decide what their kids can and can't watch, the government feels the need to do something about the lack of appropriately wholesome content.
My kids watch Youtube Kids. Some of it is pretty terrible - fast food directly to their brains. Some of it is great - it stretches their imagination and vocabulary and skills.
And because my kids are kids, sometimes they eat actual fast food too. And consuming virtual fast-food or real fast-food is not anyone else's problem.
The problem is that there's no money to be made from curation and high costs in doing so, therefore Google/YouTube simply does the bare minimum to avoid critique.
You can ban individual videos and even channels, but this "solution" scales poorly with near infinite videos/channels, much of it unsuitable for your parenting goals.
I agree that there is some fantastic content on the platform, but it is like a 5:1 thing between trash:quality. That's a problem.
I can get behind the idea that I'd like better tools to monitor and curate the video content being streamed to my kids. I'd even be willing to pay for it! But I am not compelled at all that government needs to do something.
Nobody is shutting the service down, dude. Maybe we find that nothing is really wrong. Maybe we challenge the company to more appropriately rate content that's marketed as educational, or do better ad filtering, so that parents can make informed decisions. Right now there are pretty clearly no requirements and lots of obviously false pedagogical claims, and parents can't afford to pre-vet all the content their kids might watch (and the marketing tells them they shouldn't have to).
I don't see what your problem is. This is a major new phenomenon facing parents, it's super weird that you think some fact-finding is nanny pearl clutching.
No. It's not. That's the whole point.
* hundreds of millions of videos
* many make fairly strong pedagogical claims
* mixed in advertising and product placement
The third one there is the most important here. This isn't comic books, because comic books largely didn't claim to be educational. Seems like a new phenomenon to me. We have truth in advertising laws for good reasons -- companies making obviously false claims about their products' educational value is one of them.
Its incredibly frustrating to filter, channels are whackamole. Also, youtube bypasses dns blocking, making it even more difficult to limit using more technical methods.
Care to elaborate more on what you mean by this ?
Our entire economy is based on unlimited consumption. People are hired to produce widgets for integration into gadgets that will be consumed. If we suddenly decide that we've had enough gadgets, what happens to the supply chain of gadget and widget producers? There can never be enough gadgets or everything comes crashing down. Not only can there never be enough, there always has to be more gadgets produced compared to the year before, or else the markets in which people have bet their futures become unglued.
There's no concept of fulfillment. There's a vast media empire in place whose sole purpose is to tell us we don't have enough, and that if we don't consume more we will be overtaken by emptiness. Even the HN front page of all places is guilty of pushing this message. Best to instill consumerist ideology in children as early as possible, so they don't start thinking that maybe they don't need the newest, slickest, shiniest gadgets. That maybe there is life and happiness outside of consumption. These are literally society destroying thoughts that must be suppressed at all cost. Western civilization depends on it.
This is what I watched when I was growing up (it came out in the late 70s, so it was already around for a while by then though): Schoolhouse Rock, Interplanet Janet .
This is really how I knew the planets growing up. "Mars is red, and Jupiter's big, and saturn shows off its riiiiings, uranus is built on a funny tilt, and neptune is its twiiin, and pluto little pluto is the furthest planet from the suuuun, whoo hoooo"
When my brother was growing up (around 2001, so I was 11 at that point), they had this song . Kind of jazzy and relaxing. It went over the planets a few times in the verses, slowly taking the time to walk the children through it, and the way Nick Jr worked back in the day, the same episode would be on 3-4 times in a row every day, so the kid could really take it in. I could recite it from my head to this day.
A couple years later (2005) you start getting songs like this , I'm glad I didn't have to rely on this for memorizing the planets? Still, it's only a minute long, I think this is when kids started to hit lower attention spans.
I was trying to see what kids have these days. Since I'm basically seeing children as early as 5-6 months given an iphone/ipad to watch youtube, I figured I'd start there.... 99% of children's programming online is really crappy garbage shovelled out for dirt cheap with usually disturbing imagery subliminally thrown in. For example, this video  (I couldn't get through all three minutes, it was too monotone, repetitive, and the mouths on still frame were buttholes)
Jumping away from YouTube (originated content), I did find a shorter video by "Netflix Jr." . It came recommended by reddit parents. Fastpaced rapping, jumping around, but not badly animated but I do wonder if children would grasp all of the concepts from it.
Trying to find the latest one that came out, was this  that wasn't hard for me to get through like the second-to-the last one (and hey it mentioned pluto lol)
Many poor videos, and just general patenting energy required.
Down thread, someone put the watch it with them email queue idea out there. Awesome! I am going to do that.
Overall, our best success is to have activities that are not screen time.
Many parents who may struggle financially, and there are way too many who do, in my view, lack time and potentially resources.
This is a growing pinch for a while now. Tepid wage growth coupled with cost and risk exposure growth mean more labor and or fewer resources, both of which come right out of parenting.
Some of it lands in the schools. The pandemic made that a mess and maybe for the better?
By that I mean a whole lot of us have had to pick up the slack and or are doing more parenting right now. (That may come at a high financial cost due to lack of work, which is not good either)
It is really hard to put costs on all this, but my general take on it all, comparing my childhood, that of my own kids and granddaughter now is:
Opportunity costs are going to be huge!
The squeeze on parenting, coupled with the general complexity of the society our future leaders and caretakers are expected to take part in, Shepard and grow to greater success, looks increasingly grim.
I came out of high school computer literate, could code, but also with a ton of other skills. Fix my car, or many things really, work with wood, metals, and in general could take most work and thrive.
My own kids got a fair amount of that, but I had to provide way more than my parents did.
Today, I see I will have to provide a lot more.
The general idea of so much greater information availability means less work educating has merit. I know what I would have done with that kind of access as a kid.
But does it mean less parenting?
Does it mean less exposure to basic skills?
From my point of view, no. It does not.
And to be clear here, my own parenting goals are to get the kids to a place where they can thrive and that means basic competence on many fronts just like I got.
It may also mean part of the education burden is curating all this stuff and to teach them what to look for and how to make use of it.
Most of us know. My kids mostly know and will ask for help sometimes. Less often as they grow in life.
In my view, emphasis on broad, basic competence is more important bow than ever. If they can relate to things, have some experience, they will seek and be able to make use of the information resource and it will seem achievable too, not foreign, or unattainable.
For now, I am making sure my younger one gets outside and is experiencing a broad set of skills. Just getting a handle on this world and the things in it.
Parents need to be able to do that, and or for the many struggling parents who may not have a base to draw on, even if they do have time, need help, and may well benefit same as their kids do.