Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Used to Love Watching Children's TV. Hooked on YouTube, Today's Kids Are Missing Out

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Used to Love Watching Children's TV. Hooked on YouTube, Today's Kids Are Missing Out

Article excerpt

Byline: Rob Rinder

BEING a "Christian" godparent is one of the many joys in my life. As a Jew I wasn't meant to do it officially but the Church of England is incredibly accommodating these days. We agreed that as long as I could renounce the devil (I have never been a fan) and promised to be broadly encouraging of faith (I am) then I'd do just fine.

When it comes to Johnnie, my godson, I am thoroughly "Jewish mother". The boy can do no wrong. One reason Johnnie can sit and chat with adults with charm and confidence is that his parents are strict about limiting his screen time. As he isn't allowed unfettered access to the internet and his peacenik parents have banned all toy firearms, I let him play as much Minecraft as I can and supply an arsenal of foamweapons. It is vital, after all, that I earn the boy's respect.

The best aspect of having a bit-part in Johnnie's life is finding out what he and his "best friends in the whole wide world" are interested in. It keeps me informed about the post-millennial generation who have all been computer coding since birth and make me feel like a geriatric saddo.

Last week Johnnie showed me his latest "thing", which he'd apparently seen at a friend's house. I was shocked. Watching teenagers with tens of millions of followers playing computer games on YouTube is all the rage, I hear. "Don't you watch TV?" I asked. I was met with the type of look I've only seen once. It was on the face of my first driving examiner a sort of disdainful contempt. It was the "duh" to end all "duhs".

Children's television is dead. Look at any network schedule there's nothing there. Kids' TV has devolved from astronauts, animal husbandry and time capsules in the Blue Peter garden to a YouTube meta-hell of sponsored clips where children stare at other children playing games, opening presents or talking about the toys they want.

Last year Blue Peter made news when one of its broadcasts received a zero rating. …

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