If you have little children, chances are that you have already come across a category of videos that seems to completely captivate your kids and keep them watching for hours and hours. Busy parents that are craving some quiet time to attend to housework are the main consumers of these types of visual tranquilizers. Unpacking chocolate eggs manufactured by the Swiss "Kinder" brand (German for "children") alone have attracted more than 20 million views, one third of which from the United States where the sale is illegal as hollow chocolate containing non eatable items is banned.
But why are our little one so captivated by a video on a device, when even the most visually stimulating toy usually does little to keep their attention for more than 10 minutes. The answer is the "suspension of disbelief", an experience we make every time we watch movies which replaces our built in desire to move around with an equal stimulation created by the camera angles.
But also the constant change of the predominant colors works for kids, and is even recognized as a contributor to development.
Dr. Kaoruko Kondo & Prof. Jeanette Steemers conclude in a study conducted by the Communication and Media Research Institute of the University of Westminster examined the understanding how children develop televisual literacy. They claim that children do not perceive television in the same way that adults do, and develop televisual skills step by step in line with their cognitive development.
According to the study, age and linguistic maturity determine how a child will respond to and engage with TV, and children experience four stages of cognitive development, which can be applied to television. An earlier phenomenon, the "Teletubbies", was cited as is a good example of a program that "attracts high levels of active attention 'with singing, dancing, pointing, imitating behaviors, speaking back to the television and generally reacting enthusiastically with great joy'", with those videos resembling many of these basic criteria.
But the biggest contributors to the staggering number if views are undoubtedly the parents. "It is no secret that parents who want some quiet time of simply desire to focus on some household chores undisturbed by their children that constantly seek engagement try many many ways to find an 'off switch', and they end up finding it in the form of our video" says Kaoru Gleissner, the founder of "Kiddo TV" which offers a large number of those videos. "People who found that our videos work keep coming back", says Gleissner whose online offering also includes an app that even eliminated the frequent problem that kids inadvertently navigate away from the videos as they touch the screen and cause unintended user interface input.