Almost as soon as Big Boy could focus his eyes we have been letting him play with the iPad. We started out with apps that just showed pictures and sounds of different things so he could touch anywhere on the screen and get a response. We moved on to Elmo’s ABC and various other “educational” apps and he had a great time with them, they were very helpful in teaching him letters, numbers, colours and shapes. We worked with him, of course, using blocks, refrigerator magnets and things we saw out in the world but I believe that the extra exposure to learning on the iPad has really helped broaden his horizons.
That was then. I still stand by what I said but now the majority of his iPad time is spent watching YouTube. He started out always watching a young woman called Disney Collector who posts video of every Disney toy in existence! I didn’t mind him watching them because, honestly, some of the toys were pretty cool. The first time that I thought I should pay a little more attention to his viewing habits was when we sat down to play with his trains and he said, “Now, this is Thomas. As you see he is all plastic with no stickers.” He started into this great long commentary, listing all of the Thomas attributes and describing in great detail everything that the toy was capable of doing. At the time he was about 2-1/2 and had only begun to speak a recognizable form of English so it was pretty funny! Unfortunately I was the only one who had listened to Disney Collector enough to catch all of her favourite phrases coming out of the mouth of my toddler.
He still occasionally watches the toy reviews and Thomas stories that people make up and post to YouTube but lately his absolute favourite thing to watch is other people playing video games. For a while he only wanted to watch the Tangled game, so much so that I actually found a copy on the internet and ordered it for his birthday. Then he moved on to Minecraft and Mario. I read a post yesterday by The Fruitful Mama called Minecraft Overload that I absolutely had to check out, we don’t play Minecraft in this house but I’m pretty sure that I know all about the game now thanks to Stampy Cat and his friends. Stampy Cat is a British sounding fellow who posts videos of himself and his friends playing Minecraft and Disney Infinity (I’m sure there are other games too but those are the ones we watch!) I don’t really mind too much because he never uses foul language and he’s British! He also chooses to work with his friends more often than against them so I thought that might be a subtle teamwork lesson for the kids.
I am not a YouTube person, I have never gone to the website and just randomly started watching videos, I’ll watch if someone sends me a specific link to something but that’s about it. I was surprised (I really shouldn’t have been) the first time that I caught the sound of some very nasty words coming out of the iPad. Instead of making a huge deal out of it though I just went over and said, “That person is not speaking English, why don’t we find one in the proper language?” Thankfully, it worked and we switched to Stampy. Also thankfully, it’s still working but now I know to keep a closer ear out if I hear a voice other than Stampy, his friend Ballistic Squid or Zack Scott (another decent one for video game videos.)
The worst that I’ve heard around this house is, “What the…?” I waited to see what word would follow and then realized that as far as Big Boy knows, that’s the entire sentence. Not so bad in the grand scheme of things.
What makes me laugh (because if I didn’t laugh I would cry) is when I hear the different catch phrases from YouTube coming from my boys. The other day when we brought home our new Nintendo Wii U we were playing The Lego Movie Game and I hear, “Hey guys, this is Zack Scott and we’re playing The Lego Movie Game on Nintendo Wii U” I had a chuckle and then a conversation about what names are. Now when he gives his introduction at least he uses his own name instead of someone else’s.
Who knows, maybe he’ll end up having a career as an announcer, that would be cool. I’m sure that if an awesome job (like the Price Is Right guy!) is the worst that comes of him watching YouTube then we’ll end up okay. At the very least, we’ll end up owning Minecraft in the near future.