When Heather and I got our new iPhones a year or so ago we made a hard-and-fast rule that Annie was not to ever play with them. Annie had wreaked havoc on my previous phone – texting people gibberish, deleting apps, and taking hundreds of photos of her foot – and we were determined not to let history repeat itself.

To this day I’m pretty sure Annie hasn’t so much as touched Heather’s iPhone, but ‘ol Dad hasn’t proven to be quite as tough. I’m not sure when Annie first got her hands on my phone – I may have given it to her in a moment of desperation at a restaurant – but once she’d experienced the wonder of the iPhone she wanted more.

“Dada phone?” she now asks in her sweetest voice. “For Annie?” I usually say no, but sometimes…

Her favorite thing to do is watch YouTube. It’s amazing how quickly she figured out not only which icon is for YouTube, but how to click on “history” so she can watch the Elmo videos she’d viewed the day before.

If only it was just Elmo that she watched. Not long ago I was driving somewhere with a fussy Annie and I gave her my phone to entertain herself. Suddenly, instead of Elmo, I heard a little British boy say, “Charlie?! Stop that, Charlie! OW, CHARLIE! CHARLIE BIT MY FINGER!” over and over.

playing with daddy's phone
As this photo suggests, Annie’s iPhone obsession is not a new thing.

The British kid whining about Charlie is far less annoying than Annie’s other favorite video. It’s called The Duck Song, and it’s an animated ditty about a duck who keeps asking a man at a lemonade stand if he has any grapes. Sounds brilliant, doesn’t it? The worst part about the song is that it is maddeningly simplistic, yet totally ingratiating. At least once or twice a week I wake in the middle of the night with this in my head:

“And he waddled away… waddle waddle… And he waddled away… waddle waddle.”

If you’ve heard the song you know what I’m talking about, and I accept your condolences.

As much as I hate The Duck Song, it was something else that made me realize I was going to have to reinstate the Annie iPhone ban. We were again driving somewhere together the other day when I suddenly realized Annie had stopped listening to her beloved duck song and started to listen to a song that featured some not kid friendly language.

I immediately snatched away the phone and saw that, while she was watching a cartoon, it was not for children. I was confused as to how she found this video until I discovered that when The Duck Song ended YouTube suggested a number of other “similar” cartoons to watch (including this PG-13 one), and Annie had clicked on it. Might want to work on that matching software a bit more, YouTube.

So, yeah, tomorrow I officially re-enact the Annie iPhone ban. Wish me luck. The kid ain’t gonna be happy. Good thing she also loves her books!