This Is Why Those YouTube Toy Videos Are So Addictive to Kids

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Sometimes I’m pretty sure I hear the CookieSwirlC giggle in my nightmares. My kids, like so many other kids, LOVE YouTube toy videos. I do not understand, but the channels and videos they watch are safe, geared toward kids their age, and I suppose relatively entertaining. So I don’t question it much. But what is it about those videos that makes them so damn appealing to kids?

Image: Giphy

YouTube toy videos range from the mildly annoying (Ryan ToysReview) to the downright awful (seriously, CookieSwirlC’s voice, I cannot).

They’re videos of toys being opened. That’s it! Just random people, sometimes just hands, opening toys with zest and vigor and SO MUCH EXCITEMENT FOR THIS BLIND BAG AHHHHHH!

I asked my 7-year-old once what made her love them so much. And really, it just boiled down to being able to see new toys! Watching the boxes be opened was, as it turns out, incredibly exciting for her. My kids have plenty of toys, but I don’t rush out and buy the newest everything as soon as it comes out. So I suppose, by watching these videos, they got to live vicariously through these unboxing people.

And therein, says psychologist and media expert Erik Fisher, lies the appeal.

“They’re stimulating, entertaining, engaging, and allow kids to experience different things vicariously”, says Fisher. “The videos also tend to be short, meaning kids can move from video to video and often click to the next before one is even finished.” We all know that kids have very short attention spans. So these short, engaging, colorful videos hold it for a minute or two, and then before the kids can get bored, it’s over the the next video has already begun.

I’m personally pretty OK with my kids watching this sort of YouTube content.

So much of what’s on these platforms is garbage, so a kid opening some toys and being stoked about it is fine to me. But, as always, it’s up to us to monitor our kid’s online habits, and make sure we know what they’re watching. And if your kid starts fiending for a blind bag or opens junk mail with the flourish of a YouTube toy reviewer, it might by time to cut back a bit.

(Image: YouTube/CookieSwirlC)