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These 'Surprise Egg' Videos Are Making Kids Obsessed | http://nymag.com/
“It’s so mind-numbing,” C says. “She doesn’t laugh at it or talk about it, except when she’s asking to watch it. She just sits there, transfixed. Plus, there’s something about seeing your kid sitting still and watching a video of somebody playing with toys, instead of actually playing with toys themselves, that makes you feel like the victim of some awful irony of modern life.”

As I write this he has done a total of 4,426 videos and counting. With so many views — for comparison, Justin Bieber’s official channel has more than 10 billion views, while full-time YouTube celebrity PewDiePie has nearly 12 billion — it’s likely this man makes a living as a pair of gently murmuring hands that unwrap Kinder eggs. (Surprise-egg videos are all accompanied by pre-roll, and sometimes mid-video and ads.)

I wanted to know; by this point I was weirdly titillated at the idea of a real conversation with a man I’ve only heard repeat things like “Mickey Chocolate Egg” and “Fashems NumNoms” to distraction. But when I asked him for an interview, he said he wasn’t interested. I wish I could have asked him how much Kinder chocolate he has to throw away.
theinternet  youtube  forkids  contentmills 
november 2017 by kme
Something is wrong on the internet – James Bridle – Medium | https://medium.com/
As another blogger notes, one of the traditional roles of branded content is that it is a trusted source. Whether it’s Peppa Pig on children’s TV or a Disney movie, whatever one’s feelings about the industrial model of entertainment production, they are carefully produced and monitored so that kids are essentially safe watching them, and can be trusted as such. This no longer applies when brand and content are disassociated by the platform, and so known and trusted content provides a seamless gateway to unverified and potentially harmful content.

(Yes, this is the exact same process as the delamination of trusted news media on Facebook feeds and in Google results that is currently wreaking such havoc on our cognitive and political systems and I am not going to explicitly explore that relationship further here, but it is obviously deeply significant.)
This is content production in the age of algorithmic discovery — even if you’re a human, you have to end up impersonating the machine.
The second is the levels of exploitation, not of children because they are children but of children because they are powerless. Automated reward systems like YouTube algorithms necessitate exploitation in the same way that capitalism necessitates exploitation, and if you’re someone who bristles at the second half of that equation then maybe this should be what convinces you of its truth. Exploitation is encoded into the systems we are building, making it harder to see, harder to think and explain, harder to counter and defend against. Not in a future of AI overlords and robots in the factories, but right here, now, on your screen, in your living room and in your pocket.

The video at the end (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXjJdv5fj5k) is chilling, like an AI's nightmare after watching a million videos off of YouTube Kids.
youtube  contentfilter  forkids  contentmills 
november 2017 by kme
The Banned Books Your Child Should Read - The New York Times
Some banned and challenged books upset adults because they teach children that the world is a complicated and sometimes disturbing place, in which good people sometimes behave badly and evil sometimes goes unpunished. This category stretches from modern young adult “problem novels” to great classics of literature. What makes a book “disturbing” often is tied to what makes it interesting or important or worth reading.
forkids  bannedbooks  list  recommendations 
january 2017 by kme
Choose Your Own Adventure books: How The Cave of Time taught us to love interactive entertainment. [http://www.slate.com/]
But the books will never again achieve the massive impact they once had. "These books were the gateway drugs of interactive entertainment," says Swinehart. "The Infocom people and the Choose Your Own Adventure people are hybrid folks. You don't often see people combining the hacker perspective with the literary perspective. You don't see typing and programming mix together that much." David Lebling agrees, "Computers push graphics, books push reading, but there was a brief shining moment when computers pushed reading." And, inversely, during that same time, the Choose Your Own Adventure books pushed programming.
"The most important thing is to get people reading," Montgomery says. "It's not the format. It's not even the writing. It's the reading. And the reading happened because kids were put in the driver's seat. They were the mountain climber, they were the doctor, they were the deep sea explorer. They made choices, and so they read." The Choose Your Own Adventure books were part of a cultural shift that saw entertainment become more interactive. It was a moment when entertainment became, in a way, more like real life. As the introduction to each of the books states:

"Remember—you cannot go back! Think carefully before you make a move! One mistake can be your last … or it may lead to fame and fortune.

"Good luck!"
books  interactivefiction  culture  thewaythingswere  forkids  gaming 
june 2016 by kme

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