You are busy, and media companies get it; that’s why they’re here to be a parent in your absence. You may have never considered that media companies can also be bad parents. Thankfully, figuring out which conglomerate should be raising your children is pretty easy. Local Babysitter crunched some aging data to get a rough idea of how many hours of advertising children consume on average while they sit in front of the boob tube. (ed. Note: I’m not sure if that’s what they call iPads these days.) The website took the average number of commercial runtimes per hour (from the University of Michigan’s medical center) and the average number of hours per week that a kid spends watching TV (from the Nielson rating agency) and calculated that children are consuming up to 400 hours of advertising per year. 400 freaking hours!
This data is from 2010 and 2014, and things are changing fast, but it’s fair to say that the 400-hour figure gets us somewhere close to an accurate figure on all the marketing being crammed down children’s throats. The takeaway is clear: Kids spend a ridiculous amount of time hoovering up ad content while their brains are mostly on autopilot, which seems like a situation that’s probably not ideal.
So that brings us to the question of which streaming service is the best option for offloading your kid to a screen for an hour or ten. Sure, in a perfect world, everyone would have time to attend to their kids every waking second, but that seems like an unrealistic and possibly cruel expectation for most parents. Besides, parents have a lot of tvs to catch up on themselves. History has shown us that YouTube is the absolute worst idea for keeping your kid occupied because the platform has ignored its ongoing toxic content problem, and even seemingly innocuous videos have led unsuspecting views to some bizarre kid-unfriendly viewing—even in the YouTube Kids app. That leaves a few others.
Premium Hulu seems fine, assuming kids can reasonably be expected to stay within the designated children’s tab on the platform or if they were left to watch one or two series episodes, But kids are crafty. I was recently amazed by a child who was hardly old enough to tie their shoe but had somehow mastered the navigation of an iPad. For that reason, Netflix would be a better option, as it has a designated user option to limit the kinds of content kids can access while giving them plenty of options. It also has interactive shows that kids probably like, and participation is learning. Ideal for everyone, and no ads!