Ok, so maybe they got their fascination with screens early on….
My two younger Weasels spend a lot of time on screens. Since we cut the cable a few years ago, there’s no “regular” tv programming, so they watch YouTube or Netflix or films and tv shows we already have on DVD. What baffles me is that YouTube is the favourite. They are transfixed by videos produced by people not much older than themselves which divide into roughly two categories:
Videos about the makers : What Phil and Dan have been up to this week.
Videos about other content: What Phil and Dan have been playing/ watching/listening to this week.
This isn’t the place to argue the right of wrong of this behaviour – their time on screens is monitored as much as is possible, and they’re aware that 24/7 anything is bad for you. They’re encouraged to defend their viewing choices, and weird behaviour like “I can’t go out because they’re going to post the new Gamegrumps video this afternoon” is not greeted with sympathy.
Mrs Dim reminds me frequently that our own parents despaired of our viewing habits, thinking that “Tiswas” was a strange, anarchic waste of time. My counter is that we only had three channels growing up, and the amount of programming devoted to our age group was strictly limited. This devolves into the Four Yorkshiremen sketch in no time flat, but the point is, I think, quite valid.
What I wonder about mostly is the future of visual entertainment. I like the hi-tech shows available right now. I watch “Agents of SHIELD” and “CSI” and “Killjoys”. Are those kinds of shows going to be around in ten years time? Or will they have been replaced with lonely late-teen boys in their bedrooms, making guest appearances on each other’s channels to talk about the games they’ve watched other people playing on their YouTube channels?
But then James Moran launched the teaser for his new web series, “Mina Murray’s Journal”. It’s the story of Dracula, but told in the form of a Vlog. This might just be the thing! The content that bridges the gap between current quality programming and the YouTube attention span. James Moran is a skilled and experienced writer. He made his name with the movie “Severance” and then went on to cement his reputation with work on Doctor Who, Torchwood, Crusoe and many other shows. I’m looking forward to it, and I’ll be encouraging the Weasels to watch it too.