You may be wondering if Youtube is safe for your child. Read this post to see why I deleted the YouTube Kids app from my preschoolers iPad and find 11 ways to prevent and treat screen addiction.
Is your 2 year old addicted to the Ipad? It seems that the easiest age for a child to get hooked on the iPad (or tablet) is most likely between the toddler age of 2 up until the end of preschool.
What starts off as Mom giving her preschooler an iPad to play educational games on can quickly turn into a child spending hours and hours with this device. Youtube Kids can be very addicting. Screen addiction doesn’t only affect adults. Kids are now facing the consequences of tablet addiction too.
YouTube Kids Addiction in Preschoolers
We live in a busy time where we barely have time to catch our breath. The iPad can be a wonderful blessing when Mom is grocery shopping or during long car rides. I mean, how simple is it to give your child an iPad when you need a few minutes of down time? We deserve those moments too. But, we may get so distracted by our now quiet child that we fail to realize when our child’s fun + leisure playing time on an iPad turns into a full blown addiction.
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When I only had educational games on my daughters iPad I noticed that she learned A LOT. She played for a decent amount of time before getting tired of her tablet and moving on to more active fun like riding her favorite scooter.
I am a very involved mother and we do A LOT of kids activities here. My daughter plays with play dough, we do imaginary play, we do hands on learning activities and more. But even then, we still had time for iPad use.
iPad’s can be an amazing tool for kids if monitored properly.
My first child had some issues in preschool with visual perception. Using the iPad took his visual perception skills from bad to way above average. The Youtube kids app was not available at that time. He was never addicted to his iPad. The same thing went for my second child. She played wonderful educational apps, used her iPad within the suggested limits of tablet use time and tested above average in all areas. There is no doubt in my mind that playing those educational games and puzzles on her iPad was good for her. She would still play outside, read books and play with toys too.
Then my third child was given an iPad mini to use when we were traveling or when I needed a break . She would play with it for a little while and then she’d be done with it. No addiction.
Then I downloaded the Youtube Kids App.
Once I downloaded the Youtube kids app things changed drastically within a week. I noticed many behavioral changes immediately.
She became more defiant, hard headed and she started throwing tantrums in unusual ways. She also began to write on the walls and on her face. I couldn’t pin point what had caused her to change in these small ways. I noticed her coming home from school and asking for her iPad immediately. When bedtime suddenly became a struggle I realized that we had a problem. I would literally have to pry the iPad away from her hands at night while she would cry. This was my easy going kid. She was the most active of all my three kids. She rarely ever watched TV. I suspected that it was YouTube kids but since Youtube is a large company who created a “kid friendly” app… I was sure that they were censoring what was allowed to be published there, right? WRONG.
Do not trust so easily!
A very important thing to remember here is that there is NO one in the world who cares about your child as much as you do. Especially in places where people are making money by getting your child addicted to these things. You HAVE to monitor what your child is doing and what they are watching. Do not put your faith and trust into large corporations who do not have your families best interest at heart.
Why I deleted Youtube Kids
I began sitting with my 3 year old daughter while she played on her iPad. I noticed that the first app she went to was Youtube Kids. She used the search bar, pressed the voice button and said, “Bad Babies.” Ummm… that is supposed to be a kid friendly cute thing, right? NO! These videos are of kids and babies doing BAD things. They are defiant, whiny and nag until they get what they want. There were adults using Peppa Pig and Daniel Tiger figurines and creating storylines. Adults were playing with dolls and pretending that they were real babies. What message is this sending my child?! This is NOT what I want my child to be watching.
At least when my child is watching something on TV it is big and loud enough for me to hear everything that is being said. We are basically giving our children a TV to walk around with that we are not able to monitor.
Once I saw this, I removed the search bar from the app but quickly realized that there were still a few work arounds. She could still see videos that taught her to do bad things. If you don’t want your child to watch these videos while using the app you need to block these videos individually. That would take forever and it would mean that I now created MORE work for myself.
Bedtime started to become a struggle. She would refuse to give me her iPad at night and would zoom right past her normal bedtime. That mean’s she was very tired the next morning.
How I got my child off the YouTube Kids app and saved her from tablet addiction.
Since removing the search bar in parental controls didn’t help I deleted the YouTube kids app from her iPad. That was it. I also began to charge her iPad less and less. A dead iPad can’t be used, so she had to find other ways to entertain herself. I set out more imaginary play activities for her. We did more painting. Within a week I saw those bad behaviors start to fade away.
My goal here:
My goal is not to make my daughter stop using her iPad, it is to minimize the amount of time spent on her iPad. I think that iPad’s are great. There are some wonderful iPad games that work on memory skills and tablets are great for traveling. Her letter sounds are re-inforced because of some of the iPad apps she plays.
Screen Addiction Treatment
11 ways to get your child off YouTube Kids and minimize tablet time.
It takes about 21 – 66 days to form and break a habit. Use these tips to minimize tablet use during this time.
- Set the timer in the YouTube Kids app. Make sure you set clear boundaries about how much time is allowed to be spent playing on the iPad weekly.
- Delete unnecessary apps. Look at all the apps on the iPad. Delete the ones you do not want your child to be wasting their time on. I would honestly just keep the educational apps and all Toca Boca apps.
- Don’t charge the iPad – Yes you may find a bit of a struggle here but if you make a good enough excuse about how the charger isn’t working your child will understand. If you have an older child then you might have to break the charger. You may be out a few bucks but isn’t that better than tablet addiction?
- Delete the YouTube kids app from the iPad. – This one really depends on the age of your child. If you have a younger child she simply wont understand how to get it back and will just have to deal with not being able to find the app on the tablet.
- Hide the iPad. – “Sorry dear, I can’t find it. Lets do something else instead.”
- Buy your child a special toy that will replace the iPad – Choose a toy that will be used for years to come and that can hold your child’s attention for long periods of time. I make many suggestions of my favorite and long lasting toys here.
- Go outside more – Kids bodies crave activity. Let them go outside and play soccer. Let them ride their scooter or use their tricycle. I guarantee you that your child will love this more than their tablet time.
- Spend extra time with your child during the times she would normally have been using her iPad – You will be forming a better habit and it will reinforce to your child psychologically that this is a good thing. That removing tablet time gives her more time with Mom. Read more books together.
- Create activities in advance – For example quiet boxes, busy bags or sensory bins so that you can still have your much needed break time. Your child will be learning and playing independently while you sit down and have a cup of tea. I highly suggest these kiwi crate monthly subscription boxes for kids. Each box comes with around 3 activities that keep your kids busy and happy.
Print out these fingerprint art frames too.
- Set up your child’s play area at home in a way that encourages independent play.
- Create an Art area at home so that your child can have more access to independent activities.
- Bonus tip! Turn WIFI off. If there is no internet connection the Youtube Kids app wont work.
I am glad I caught this tablet addiction early before it became an even bigger problem. I am happy to say that those tips above really helped minimize iPad use in our home and really helped break my daughters addiction to the iPad.
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- Read more articles about children’s screen addiction here:Youtube is highly addictiveHow to unplug your iPad addictive child.