It’s not just adult Muslims who are addicted to their screens. Young children have started experiencing this problem too, with equally, if not far more, devastating effects. And one of the biggest culprits behind this epidemic is the kids’ animated YouTube channel Cocomelon:
“Cocomelon is so hyperstimulating that it actually acts as a drug, as a stimulant. The brain gets a hit of dopamine from screen-time and it seems that the stronger the ‘drug’ aka the level of stimulation a show delivers, the stronger the ‘hit.’
This leads to 1) the children experiencing symptoms of addiction and withdrawal, obviously leaving them completely dysregulated, and 2) a general discomfort in the speed of everyday life. The more they watch the show, the more the brain begins to expect this kind of stimulation. This makes it impossible for them to play creatively and without entertainment.”
This was posted by Jerrica Sannes, who is a child development specialist with a masters’ degree in Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction, with over 15 years of experience in working with children.
Cocomelon features countless 3D animated nursery songs on its channel with word-salad titles specifically meant to exploit the YouTube algorithm and be recommended as much as possible. In fact, a Pew Research study found that one of the child-addictive videos on this channel was the most recommended video on YouTube at the time. And this was back in 2018!
As of right now it’s the 2nd most viewed channel on YouTube, with its videos routinely garnering millions of views from the target audience – kids. And the reason the views have reached such a height is that children click the same collection of videos over and over again all day. But what is it that they find so fascinating about them?
Picking any random video on this channel, the actual content just consists of a few rhyming lines being repeatedly sung throughout its duration. This repetitive chanting is supported by brightly colored animations and background music designed to instantly grab the attention of young unsuspecting toddlers.
Irresponsible parents wanting to spend most of their time leisurely instead of looking after their kids see channels like Cocomelon as the perfect escape. Initially, they find it to be something that is totally harmless and normal. “I’ll just show this to my child for a few minutes, maybe half an hour max,” they think to themselves. However, once they discover just how hooked their kids are on this, half an hour turns into a full hour, which then turns into multiple hours, and so on.
Just a few minutes of these videos is enough to get the annoying songs stuck in an adult’s head. Just imagine the effect of endlessly watching the exact same videos on loop on a child whose brain hasn’t even fully developed yet. What kind of an effect must this have on their cognitive capacities? Being constantly exposed to this kind of mental junk at such a young age will undoubtedly leave a long-lasting mark. Instead of perhaps something like Qur’anic recitations or nasheeds, THIS is going to be burned into their psyche for the rest of their lives.
How can a parent subject their own child to something like this? Do they not realize that they’re turning their own children into unresponsive zombies?
The sad part though, is that at some level they do realize this. And it’s at that point that these parents attempt to curb this addiction by reducing their child’s screen time. However, it ends up being too little, too late.
By then their kid is so heavily addicted to this drug that they actually display what can only be described as physical withdrawal. They begin to cry and lash out uncontrollably with a fury that one wouldn’t normally expect from an innocent toddler. And no matter what these parents try, the only solution they end up resorting to is to give in to these temper tantrums, and let their kids have their way.
Aside from the serious mental deficits these children are going to suffer from later on in their lives, they are also going to grow up thinking that being glued to a screen 24/7 is something normal. It’s something that will unfortunately become an integral necessity in their lives. They’ll graduate from nursery rhymes to YouTube in general, then movies and TV shows, then video games, then social media, and on and on, always needing to rely on an online technological fix of entertainment.
And by the time these kids grow up and realize the psychological damage that’s been done to them, they will blame none other than their own parents. “If only they’d been stricter with me, and forced me to play outside with other kids, I might’ve been normal,” they’ll think.
Imagine a household where everyone sits mere inches away from each other, yet no one communicates. The father browses news on Twitter on his phone, the mother goes through her Facebook, and the adolescents browse Instagram and Tik Tok, while the children absorb Cocomelon videos. This scenario, where a family has been divided without being divided is becoming more and more common, yet would’ve simply been a strange fiction just a decade ago.