I can't be the only parent whose children are obsessed. It's time for the BBC to make online content that we can trust—preferably, without the annoying presentersby Rob Manuel / April 8, 2018 / Leave a comment
Reading the news the other morning, I saw the headline “Younger viewers now watch Netflix more than the BBC” and reflected that my own children—aged 6, 9 and 12—never watch the BBC.
They’re all keen gamers, and the only “TV” they really care about is YouTube: endless gameplay videos; walkthroughs; tutorials. Guys just shouting whilst playing games, really.
As a 44-year-old man it’s all rather irrelevant to me. I’ve turned into my own father, going “turn that racket down” about a culture I’ve largely moved on from. Gaming for me ended when my eldest turned Mario Kart into a job that I had to do on a daily basis, attempting to unlock various trophies whilst he shouted “do better, Daddy!”
But as I handed over the gamepad to my kids, little did I know I was giving them an obsession that’s so far lasted their whole lives.
I truly believe that what was pop music to my generation—the possibility of escape from the humdrum into success for just being yourself—has translated into YouTube and video gaming for this generation.
In just one month in 2015, the top 20 children’s channels on YouTube had 5.2 billion views. Gaming channels can have tens of millions of subscribers, from PewDiePie’s 60 million to Fernanfloo’s 26 million. YouTube star Zoella is rumoured to be worth several million pounds. The same research that found younger viewers now watch more Netflix than the BBC also found that 80 per cent of children go to YouTube for “on-demand content.”
Kids want to be YouTube stars. They dream of it like children used to dream of being Kim Wilde or Adam Ant. They make up stories about the channels they’re going to invent, they tell each other about the millions of followers they’ll have.
And the subject is, of course, gaming.
I hear it all through gritted teeth and my occasional shouts of “WHAT DID HE JUST SAY? Turn that one OFF!” Because as any parent can tell you, some of the vlogger culture is toxic. PewdiePie has his Nazi jokes; there’s the guys who pump out ‘yo momma so fat’ and ‘bitch’ and ‘fag’ comments. If you’re not totally…