I'm not sure who invented YouTube but I wouldn't be surprised at all if that person was a tad on the Spectrum. To my ASD son, you are a hero. To me, you are my nemesis.
It starts so innocently. As a parent you are desperate for ANYTHING that can hold your kid's attention longer than a nanosecond. You just want to see a happy reaction. You crave smiles from your child like an addict jonesing for their next hit. You or your partner thinks "Hey, they really get a kick out of that Empire Carpet commercial. (*sings* 800-588-2300 EMPIRE! Today.) Let me pull it up on my phone to get them to smile/not scream/distract at this moment."
And that my friends, starts you down the rabbit hole. There is no turning back. There is no gate way drug to YouTube. There's no experimenting. It's just BAM! ALL YOUTUBE! All the mofo time. At least in our experience.
I do love the fact that it brings my son a lot of joy to find clips of things that he adores. If it soothes him after a long day of school to watch the Sha Boom cruising scene from Disney's "Cars" eighty times in a row, so be it. It's giving him exactly what he needs at the moment he needs it most.
I love it for the distraction/time killing it provides when we are out in a challenging situation. Oh, they're out of fries right now and we need to wait three minutes while they cook a fresh batch? If you are an autism parent you understand exactly how 180 seconds can feel like an eternity. Here's my phone Kiddo. I look forward to wiping the chicken nugget grease off of it later.
But lately I've been hating it with the white hot passion of a thousand burning suns. Why? Because my sweet baby boy child has become an tween age jerk and gets his kicks off watching clips of other kids having meltdowns. Yep, my autistic kiddo has found clips of other autistic kiddos and is highly amused by them. It's like autism on autism crime in my opinion. Yes, this is classic 11 years old typical jerkiness. I've been around enough 11 years olds to know this is typical behavior. So, yay! Milestone met! I think. Every time I catch him watching it I make him turn it off and I am forced to repeat the same conversation of "That child is having a hard time. You know what that is like We do not watch that and giggle. It is not funny."
I have to wonder WHY would you tape and upload the worse moments of someone's life. That someone being your KID! Seriously, wtf folks who do that? That's not raising awareness. That's just making me aware you are an attention seeking asshole. That's going to be online forever, following your kid around. Oh you'll delete it? Great but I bet it's already been copied and uploaded elsewhere by someone else who gets a great kick out of the cyber traffic it drives to their site so all the folks who don't know what they are looking at can wax righteous about how all that kid needs is some discipline and a spanking and a belt and Yadda yadda yadda.
You want your kids to have friends right? We all strive for that. Can you imagine your child's school mates finding that? Or teachers, or therapists or possible employers. All the people that MIGHT have given them the chance now see them at their worst. I'm thinking that's NOT going to help in the social relationships. Nor does it help my ASD child to see it. He loves to recreate it. He scripts from it! He thinks "It made me laugh so I bet it will be a crowd pleaser." I assure you, it is not.
As you can imagine, I'm kind of glad he's back in school right now because it's distracted him from wanting to watch them. I'm hoping with a lot of prompting and redirecting on my part, we'll get past this phase and as my husband likes to say "Find an ever more annoying stim/behavior to deal with." :-)
Spoiler alert! He always does!