...And What The Heck is a Blind Bag?
If you have children, know children, or even just see children, of virtually any age, you know they are engrossed in their “devices” - phones and/or tablets.
I pride myself on trying to keep up with all the new toys kids are playing with and the latest music teens are listening to, but with the explosion of social media, this becomes a really huge task. As a mom with kids in their twenties, I sometimes feel like I’m a step behind the trends that appeal to younger children.
I was surprised to find out that the newest craze that has captured younger children is happening on YouTube Kids’s - watching other children un-box or unwrap toys. Yes, that’s right. Kids watching kids unwrap and un-box toys.
It sounded a little crazy to me, so I GOOGLED IT. A long list of videos appeared. Still not precisely sure what that this was all about I watched several videos. Kids are videotaped unwrapping mostly small toys in bags. The child is unsure which toy in a particular series of toys is in the small bag. The common thread seems to be the excitement of not knowing what exactly will be revealed in the small bags or the larger toys. Not a terrible thing, right? Every kid loves to get a small toy and the excitement of not knowing which toy is in the bag certainly adds to the fun.
I went to my source for all information for people under the age of 10 – my niece Jessica. She told me not only does her daughter love, love, love watching BLIND BAG videos – her daughter begs for her to buy Blind Bags. You can purchase “Blind Bags” at toy stores, but who goes to toy stores anymore? You just order them online from Amazon Prime now.
But wait. What is going on here? This mindless and apparently not so innocent mind numbing video watching of other kids opening tiny toys called Blind Bags is just an example of how we are turning over our parenting to the Internet.
So what’s a child psychotherapist to do?
I searched for a Blind Bag video to watch on You Tube Kids.
After watching 7 minutes and 38 seconds of a young girl named Sophia monotonously describe her experience as she opened 18 blind bags, I thought this is a very sad phenomena. I continued to search You Tube Kids Blind Bags and found there are hundreds of such videos. Literally, the video consists of a young person sitting down at a table or on the floor, with several little bags in front of them. The video is a recording of the child describing their experience as they open the bag and find out what is in it.
This encourages nothing positive, instead, it induces:
Additionally, watching these videos just adds to wasted time that a young child could spend exploring their world with all of their senses, not just sitting idly while other children experience something.
Do you really want your youngster sitting still, endlessly waiting You Tube videos?
I am fundamentally frightened about what is happening to our children’s mental and physical well being. I work with child and adolescent psychiatrists as well as educational consultants. I asked their opinion regarding this mind-numbing activity – and all are in agreement – it can be extremely detrimental to a child’s developing brain. This activity lacks social interaction and does nothing to deepen a child’s capacity to develop empathy and sympathy – all necessary for functioning in the real world.
Sure, it’s tempting to let YouTube occupy your kids. They’re quiet, you think they are “safe”, they aren’t bothering you after a long day. Plus, all their friends watch these videos. What’s a parent to do?
A parent can, and must, say no!
I urge you to pay attention to what your kid is watching and playing on their devices. Watch some of the videos first. Decide what is appropriate for them. Use parental controls and monitor often.
Use self-control and imagination – don’t give your kid the device every time you want them to be quiet or listen to you. Keep a plastic bag full of books, crayons, and fidget toys handy so when they get bored they use their hands, their brains and develop their imaginations. Day dreaming is an awesome activity, encourage them to do it often.
This information may not bring you any closer to understanding the appeal of watching someone open a Kinder Surprise Egg, but it is my hope that it makes you hesitate the next time your little one asks to watch YOU TUBE Kids video of Blind Bags.
You have permission – you don’t have to give them everything they want.
-Nancy Kislin, LCSW & MFT