When I was little, Saturday morning was probably my favorite day of the week. As soon as I got up, I would turn on the television for those Saturday morning cartoons! I watched each episode and hoped that my mom would not want me to do anything until at least 11:30 when they started to dwindle down. For the most part, I remember her allowing us to watch quite a few shows, but occasionally our enjoyment was cut short by a picnic, an outing, an errand or the dreaded “cleaning day”.
I have no idea if there are cartoons on TV on Saturday mornings anymore. I think my kids have that same anticipatory feeling of Saturday, but oddly for a different reason…YouTube! On the rare occasion that we do not have a sport event to get to, I can find them each on a different electronic watching a favorite YouTube channel. I don’t enjoy this experience, but it’s apart of their life the way Saturday cartoons were apart of mine.
My middle child is our tech-guy and he was the start of the YouTube Saturdays. While I do accept this change, I find it so bizarre. They are watching people, participate in life instead of actively participating themselves. I have caught glimpses of these videos…a child explaining and playing with his new toy. A family boarding a plane and then going to Disney. A teen playing an X-box game that I know for sure we own. A group of 20-ish young men doing absolutely stupid stunts. To me, this would have been like watching someone play with a toy that I so desperately wanted and they won’t share.
My 8-year-old has a new catch phrase – “follow me”, and sometimes he includes a little pause followed by “YouTube, Instagram, Facebook.” I recently found a self-made video of him on my phone. In the video, he is walking around our house recording from a selfie stick and literally just talking about his day, toys, trophies and shoes. He ends the video with a peace sign to the camera and then says, “Follow me. (Dramatic pause) Instagram. Facebook. YouTube.”
This technology obsession is ironically similar to the plot of one of my favorite books, Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. In this classic novel, television is the most important past time, and reading is considered a crime. The main character’s wife spends her days with her television “family”. This novel could easily be rewritten and appropriately depict today’s change from television to social media. My middle child knows more about the characters from his YouTube channels then he does about his own family and friends.
As much as country living has given my kids the opportunity explore the woods, play in creeks, drive small farm equipment and learn (I hope) a little more responsibility, I can’t stop the fact that they were born into this technology age. I’m thinking that maybe a camping trip with no electronics would be quite comical! I should video the trip and post it on YouTube!