(Small) Children’s Videos During a Pandemic: YouTube – Part 1

Over the next few weeks as families find themselves largely isolated, without the usual support systems, and parents balancing work and child care more video will be watched by children than is the norm. I’ve compiled a list of some of the shows my son enjoys the most from YouTube. Hopefully you’ll find some shows on this list that your child will enjoy too.

Avoiding Dangerous Content

YouTube can be a great resource for entertainment and learning but there is also the danger of exposure (especially for our children) to inappropriate content. I personally haven’t encountered this situation but have heard about it frequently enough from others that before I share some specific recommendations I’d like to also share a few principles that have helped me avoid this sort of content with our son:

  • Origin – Look for videos that are coming from a trusted source. This could be the original content manufacturer or a third party that has shown consistency in delivering quality and authentic videos over an extended period of time.
  • Age – Look for videos that have been on YouTube for some period of time. The longer the content has been on YouTube the less likely it is to have dangerous content – as it remaining online indicates others probably haven’t reported it as dangerous.
  • Views – Look for videos with a high number of views. This indicates that many people have watched the video and that there hasn’t been a determination by the viewers that the content is dangerous.

None of these methods is foolproof but using these three in combination has helped me keep our son clear of disturbing materials.

Mighty Machines

Our son absolutely loves this show. Each episode is about “mighty machines” in a specific context – whether that is collecting garbage, building a road, or on a farm. Its real video of these machines at work with the individual machines being voiced by a few actors to provide a consistent and informative narrative. The episodes are usually 30-40 mins in length. Some of his favorite episodes include:

We’ve watched a number of these videos on Multi Otomoto’s channel. Another source is the Building Machines channel.

Blippi

Another perennial favorite is Blippi. The show features a man dressed cartoonishly, using a high pitched voice, and oftentimes acting quite silly. This is a show parents both love and hate. It can be entertaining and informative but also a bit insanity inducing (for parents).

The episodes tend to be between 10-20 minutes long.

Here are a few of our favorite episodes:

Gecko’s Garage

A gecko interacts with various machines in his garage, performing fixing and painting the machines – mainly trucks. There are a huge number of these videos, they vary in length. The show is a little more subdued than some of the others so whether a child wants to watch the show often depends on their mood. You can watch the show on the official YouTube channel.

What Shows Does Your Child Enjoy?

I’d love to hear what shows/videos your child enjoys on YouTube! Let me also know if this is useful and we can have a Part 2 with a few more favorite channels. 🙂

(Small) Children’s Video During a Pandemic: Disney+

As everyone hunkers down for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and some of our central institutions (such as schools) shutter their doors many parents are going to find themselves with massive numbers of anticipated hours of child care…and during these times, when social distancing becomes the norm, having some quality video entertainment won’t hurt.

Disney+ is one service that provides quality entertainment for children (and adults) and is reasonably priced ($7/mo.).

Since Disney+ is a relatively new service we don’t have extensive experience with their catalog and our little one. What shows and/or movies do you like on Disney+? Are there ones you steer clear of that you had watched as a child or adult but now think may not be the best for your child? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Winnie the Pooh

Our mainstay here is The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (4 seasons, 23 mins. per episode, 1988-1991).1Note that some episodes may be frightening for small children (S1:E1 Pooh Oughta Be in Pictures and S1:E9 Babysitter Blues for example).

The Heffalump movie is another perennial favorite.

Movies

There are a number of different children’s movies available. I’m always a fan of Pixar’s films and numerous options such as Toy Story (1-4), Ratatouille, The Incredibles, Brave, Inside Out, Cars (1-3), Finding Nemo/Finding Dory.

There is also a large catalog of Disney films. From classics like Bambi, The Jungle Book, Cinderella, and Pinocchio4Snow White, The Litter Mermaid, Aladdin, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, 101 Dalmations, Robin Hood, and so on. to more recent popular hits like Tangled, Frozen, etc.

How To Easily Save 30,000 Lives Each Year

Google Lexus Driverless Car

I’ve been talking about self-driving cars for years, even posted about it on this site. I can’t wait for cars to drive themselves, for personal and selfish reasons, but there are several really good reasons for cars to drive themselves.

Eliminate 35,900 Deaths Annually

In 2009 according to the US Census 35,900+ individuals died in motor vehicle accidents.

1Check out Wikipedia for a record of deaths across many years and up to 2013.

Such deaths could almost be eliminated by using self-driving cars with their vastly superior capacity for safety over human driven cars.

Eliminate 10.8 Million Accidents Annually

In addition to all those who die are all those who are maimed in accidents and all those whose vehicles are damaged. According to the same US Census there were 10.8 million motor vehicle accidents in 2009.

Reduce Drunk Driving

There were 1.4 million DUI related arrests in 2010 according to the Department of Transportation.

How about bringing these numbers down? I mean way down.

Freeing Up Police, Fire, EMT

This not only reduces the deaths and injuries outlined above but also reduces the burden on our public safety officers (police, fire, emt) drastically freeing them up to focus on other areas of crime.

Reducing Government Expenditures

This would also reduce in a reduction in prison populations as DUI drivers would no longer be populating cells. The Legislative Analyst’s Office of California calculates the cost of incarcerating an individual for one year at $47,102 in 2008-2009. Or take the lower figure offered by the Federal Register of $26,163 in 2011.

Have More Time For Family, Community, Yourself!

How much time do you spend driving each day? How much time does that add up to each year? Lets go with a fairly conservative estimate of 1 hr. per day.2I’m linking to a page that suggests 101 minutes as an average driving time. This would equal 365 hrs. per year…that totals up to two weeks of our lives every year.

What would you have energy to do if you weren’t spending all that energy driving? What could you accomplish during your commute if you didn’t have to focus on driving?

Reduce Infrastructure Costs, Improve Roads

Want to see the roads better maintained? The driverless car could be the solution. We create roads to handle more than average traffic so that there won’t be as many traffic jams. Imagine if that four lane road could be two or three lanes instead. Driverless cars would allow this to occur as they would drastically reduce congestion and thus eliminate the need in many cases for expansion projects. This money could be redirected to existing infrastructure maintenance – eliminating those potholes and fixing those collapsing bridges.

Reduce Pollution by 90%

Okay, okay, so that is a bit of a stretch. There are articles talking about this 90% reduction, but the devil is in the details. Still, driverless cars could significantly reduce pollution by reducing stop-and-go traffic, reducing the number of vehicles utilized by a single family, and generally optimizing performance.

Increase Mobility for Elderly, Handicapped

When we held services after dark we lost a good portion of our church congregation. Why? Because many of our elderly couldn’t see well after dark and so would remain home.

How many elderly individuals are isolated due to an inability to drive? How many handicapped individuals are dependent on others for transportation? With driverless cars these individuals could be free to travel again!

And I Haven’t Even Mentioned…

And we’ve barely scratched the surface of the benefits of driverless cars. What about:

  • Reductions in insurance premiums.
  • Increased life of automotive parts due to gentler usage.
  • Decreased parking congestion due to fewer cars.
  • Decreased stress among humans due to driving.

Easily Save?

In my article title I claimed this was a way to easily save many lives…but is it really so easy? The answer is yes. There are already driverless cars out there, it is a matter of moving ahead in a more determined manner to get these vehicles into the hands of consumers and to revamp them into models that everyone can and wants to use.

Final Thoughts

I’m really excited about driverless cars and I hope you will be too. Yes, it is kind of scary to think about computers driving our cars – but, really, the computer will be much more capable than we are of maintaining awareness and responding quickly. Yes, there will be some bugs and bad things may happen – but my guess is that we’ll see at least a 90% decrease in accidents once driverless cars become the norm.

Image Credit: “Google’s Lexus RX 450h Self-Driving Car” by Driving_Google_Self-Driving_Car.jpg: Steve Jurvetson derivative work: Mariordo – This file was derived from  Driving Google Self-Driving Car.jpg: . Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons.