I did something really stupid this past December. Something I fully regret and I’m here to warn parents so they don’t make the same mistake I made. It may seem harmless and innocent, maybe even a little cute at first but it quickly turns to hate, frustration and bleeding ears (figuratively of course).  In December, I showed my 3 year old some videos on YouTube of Christmas light displays. She loved seeing the lights around the neighborhood at night so I knew she’d love watching them synched with music on the iPad. I was right, she loved them. While looking through the videos, I remembered hearing about these videos of people opening ‘surprise eggs’ that kids loved for some reason and again thought she would get a kick out of them. I searched for ‘surprise eggs’ and a million and one videos popped up. That is where I made my mistake. I opened the door to YouTube for my daughter. I showed her what kind of whacky people are out there in the world and she now happily contributes to their million dollar paychecks. Yes, a few YouTubers make millions from posting videos on YouTube.    So it started with Christmas light displays then I upped the ante to Surprise Egg videos which then exploded into complete obsession with the YouTube Kids app. Sidenote: YouTube has it’s own kids app that I highly recommend rather than using the regular app. You can customize it with what age range of content you’re okay with your child watching, can set a timer and even remove the option of the search bar for older kids. Now back to her obession. There are several YouTube channels that she is completely nuts over. They all vary with toy-related content, but they accomplish the same thing: they annoy the shit out of the parents.    The premise of the videos are to open, unbox and play with different toys on camera, like Play Doh sets or Kinder Eggs, and show all the fun that can be had if you begged your parents hard enough. Companies send the reviewers toys for free because they’re smart. They know if a channel (who gets millions of views) reviews their toys, kids will eat that shit up and get their parents to purchase it. It’s actually completely genius. They’re so happy and inviting, it’s hard not to watch. Some of them are sort of hypnotizing. They suck you right in and soon you’re on Amazon, ordering every Season of Shopkins they have available. For a few of the reviewers, you only get to see their perfectly manicured hands and nails and hear their almost soothing voice, complete with European accent. They are quite mysterious when you don’t see their faces.    Just don’t fall prey. This is a PSA to keep your child(ren) away from YouTube at all costs. Please don’t make the same mistake I did. I’m still paying for it as I’m forced to listen to my daughter whine and cry over wanting watch her ‘videos’ on the iPad on a daily basis. These videos are sort of like crack for toddlers. Just say no

– Casey