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.
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!
I give it a week!
My Grace is a few days older than Annie. We too have had the Charlie bit my finger and the duck song! Grace is allowed to play with my phone only if I am in the room and she knows only to watch videos I have put in the favourites folder. There is some lovely stuff , currently she loves a sweet story called some dogs do, and a gorgeous version of twinkle twinkle. BUT she knows she is only allowed to watch two videos and then the phone is off. She also loves going through my photo album and looking at all the pics and videos of her.
It is a constant battle – technology and screen time vs books and real world. My take is that she is going to be using computers all her life, so getting the rules set at an early age can only help.
Oh and she loves watching Annie’s videos lol. I show her those
I’ve also found it handy when she shows an interest in something – the other day it was her discovery that milk comes from cows, so we had a good time looking at videos of cows being milked and she was fascinated. Which hopefully will also teach her to look for information rather than just entertainment!
@Paula If your daughter currently loves cows, she will LOVE this lol, my 2 year can’t get enough. A couple of teens from a rural community near me made this video as a school project and it has gone viral.
Get the Weet Woo app. It filters YouTube videos and only shows kid friendly ones. It was a huge help for us. And yes, the duck song is the absolute worst!
I had the same issue with my daughters until Infound this website!
It is basically a portal for YouTube, but only plays kid friendly videos! Annie will love it!! They have an iPhone app as well!
Nice Tips, folks…I babysit now ant then and my phone is a treat to the kid!
I feel your pain. We ended up giving our kids our old iphones (minus the phone capability) so they wouldn’t wreck our new phones. I’m amazed at what my 3 year old can do with hers, it’s almost scary! I believe she is better at Angry Birds than I am!! We disabled the wifi on my daughter’s “phone” for the same reasons you took the phone away from Annie. There is way too much out there on You Tube that I would prefer she didn’t see. At least now I don’t worry too much about what she’s up to when she’s touching away at the screen
There is an app for both smart phones and computers called Zoodles. It locks the phone down to only kid friendly games and apps. Our eldest daughter has been using it since she was about 12 months and loves it. You can even select what characters it uses (or doesn’t) and promote certain types of learning over us (reading over videos).
Thanks for the warning about the duck song. I surrendered to curiousity and watched the Rebecca Black video “Friday” and have lived to regret it. Damn song pops into my head at the damndest times.
Omg, my 5 yr old loves the duck song! My husband actually got her watching it on his phone. And thanks to the post of your I have that song stuck in my head. Lol.
The Duck Song is very popular in my house lol – compared to the Burrito song though, the Duck Song is nothing!
Annie’s favorite video on my phone….FIVE LITTLE MONKEYS. As soon as she sees me she asks “The monkeys, please”? We then spend some time bonding with her curled up next to me watching Five Little Monkey’s …100 times! I know every word of that song. I can recite it backwards, sideways and upside down! I now greet my wife “NO MORE MONKEYS JUMPING ON THE BED”. I have got to find a new song or a way to disable the repeat icon “AND THE DOCTOR SAID”…uh oh…
Jennifer Dawn says:
My daughter, who is Annie’s age, is also obsessed with The Duck Song! LOL… I feel your pain.
My 3 1/2-year-old son usually watches firetruck or Curious George videos, but often falls down the rabbit hole and ends up watching German, Spanish and French versions of his favorite cartoons. But we had a long period of Charlie Bit My Finger as well, due to him clicking on the “most popular” tab. Also from that came his brief, ill-advised love affair with the “Bed Intruder” song. “Hide yo kids; Hide yo wife!” I’m a terrible parent.
Good luck with that! And I’m going to resist looking for The Duck Song. I have enough toddler tunes stuck in my head these days.
I can’t believe how often I see kids engrossed in their parents’ smartphones and completely dead to the world around them. You’re the first parent I’ve heard of that has even tried to keep their child off it! Full disclosure: I have neither kids nor an iphone.
Heather G says:
LOL at the Duck Song. My husband introduced our boys to that. At 8 & 6 they still love it, and the 2 sequels. Got any grapes?
Ohhh, we love the Duck Song in our house, despite how much of an earworm it is. “Got any GLUE?!” And we distract our gal with it on our phones when we trim her nails, which is a win/win for us all.
A few months ago I would have had no idea what you were talking about, but I do now. My boyfriend has some good friends who have a wonderful 3 year old boy and who over the months, came to find out I have an iphone which has youtube on it. He loves to watch train videos, but one day he asked for the “duck song”. So after I typed it in, he found it himself and played it (volume all the way up mind you!) a number of times. I have also heard since then, the duck song 2 and I believe there is a duck song 3, if I am not mistaken. We’ve also watched a color song, alphabet song and a number song many times, but the duck song is one I can’t forget.
….Put it on my….BILL.
I love The Duck Song. But I’m one of those crazy adults who doesn’t get irritated by kid songs (for the most part).
My daughter found her way to Goth Dora and it was horrific.
My husband gave over his iphone one day so he could show my kids Angry Birds, which they call mad birdies. haha.
Here’s another annoying yet funny video for Annie. Llama, Llama Duck. My kids laugh hysterically every time.
This EXACT same thing happened at my house. My 6 year old son loves to watch you tube on our ipad. He loves the annoying Duck Song, and the Charlie biting video. He also found a spoof of the Duck song…..one that used the F-word AND the N-word. Pretty much the two worst words ever. Luckily I walked in the room right as it was saying these words and grabbed it out of his hands. I don’t even think he knew why or heard the words, but now he has to okay everything he watches with us first.
Expat Mom says:
I love YouTube. Hate the Duck Song but we use YouTube for school. My 6 year old wants to learn Japanese, so we watch vocabulary videos. We watch Days of the Week (set to the Addams Family theme) and look up animals when they want to know what noise a walrus makes. In short, awesome site for learning.
My thoughts on letting kids look at stuff online is that this is their life. We were born in a time when Internet didn’t exist and most of us didn’t get into it until our teens or later, so our views are going to be different from this generation. I’ve noticed that my kids automatically know how to get around computers and phones . . .it’s like they were born with it hardwired!
I earn a living online, so now my sons are looking at ways to earn online, too. One is ready to start putting up his own video game tutorials on YouTube, the other wants to do Squidoo. I figure we need to embrace it! Within reason, of course.
Ugh! My curiosity was peaked so I watched The Duck Song with my 3 yr old. After watching 1 and 2 he came across the one where the duck gets run over by a car and THAT was the one he became obsessed with.
But if you ban her from the phone, how will she talk to Siri???