As a single mother of three unique children, aged ten, seventeen and twenty-one, I watch YouTube daily. There are channels that I watch alone and channels I watch with either one of the children, each of which has their own taste.
Who Watches Felix and Sean?
You may think that PewDiePie and JackSepticEye are channels I watch due to the children’s choices, however, I’m teased by them for being outdated and following old channels, when there’s new up and coming YouTubers that are more contemporary.
They all have huge respect for PewDiePie and JackSepticEye, along with Markiplier and Cinnamon Toast Ken (while writing this I’ve noticed that Word doesn’t try to correct the spelling of PewDiePie or Markiplier but does for Jack /Sean somehow – come on Word, catch up, he’s a Hollywood movie star!) but have moved on to other YouTubers as they’ve grown up, as I’m sure is the case for many teens and young adults.
Is YouTube a Good Babysitter?
My youngest, ten, will watch with me, and loves them. It made me think about the older two, how YouTube acted as a kind if babysitter almost, how it helped to shape them growing up. I did used to monitor their viewing, but I wasn’t fastidious about it. If I noticed something in their history I found concerning, we’d chat, have a digital detox for a while, and then channels were unsubscribed from, and we’d go forward with more suitable viewing.
A Bit of Backstory
My older two are gamers, my seventeen-year-old daughter has Minecraft tournaments (also CSGO) every Saturday, while my eldest, twenty one, plays Warhammer, DnD, Skyrim, a multitude of horror games, Fallout, Borderlands and more. My youngest is a furry, she’s ten, it’s forgivable. (In all seriousness, for the most part, the fandom is wholesome).
This is probably because I’ve never stopped gaming, I’ve never stopped loving my own fandoms, from Studio Ghibli to Silent Hill, Rachet and Clank to Labyrinth and everything in-between. We’ve gamed together, a lot, and the four of us are the biggest nerds that love nothing better than a PS4, some great anime, a roaring log fire, Boba tea and sushi on a rare day off.
Anyhow, I digress. The point is, I’ve always been a relaxed parent, I’ve bever worried about violence in video games, or swearing on YouTube. None of my children swear and they’ve never inflicted violence in real life. I don’t believe that one causes the other.
What to Watch on YouTube Now
Watching PewDiePie and JackSepticEye last night, (I’m currently revisiting all PewDiePie’s jubilee episodes, and Sean’s three scary games series), I thought about how these two were a huge part of my older two’s lives. I considered how, when I was navigating us through a very violent marriage and divorce with a sociopath (where we had to go into hiding) these two were being the only stable male role models for my children. In a perfect world, they would have had a non-toxic, stable, genuine, loving father, but they didn’t, and so, these two inadvertently provided guidance on morals and life lessons without even realising it.
TL:DR The Question Answered
I asked the question that I don’t deserve to ask, as I should have been that person 100% and shouldn’t be passing the responsibility to YouTube, are PewDiePie and JackSepticEye good role models?
If you have children watching these channels, you’re probably asking the same.
The short answer is YES. The long answer is YES YES YES!
Shaping the Moral Compass
Without going into detail, I had quite a toxic upbringing. Until I had therapy, and relearned many life lessons, my morals were warped, my view on life distorted. Therapy taught me a lot and thankfully I got it early so I could bring up my children with a great moral compass and to be kind, generous, thoughtful and considerate members of society.
I’ve realised, through watching these two, that this is exactly what they are. They have incredible moral compasses. They are completely genuine. They know right from wrong. They can spot toxic behaviour from miles away. They know when someone is taking the piss. They know when someone is gaslighting, manipulating, lying (it took me decades to figure that out) and they know when to trust, how to trust and what behaviour to accept.
They have taught my children everything my therapist taught me. Being on the fringes of their lives they have provided a stable, genuine influence that’s fun, sometimes serious, but caring, compassionate, real. I will forever be grateful to them both.
PewDiePie has endured his controversies, if you’re worried about these, don’t be. Comments and actions have been taken totally out of context. Anyone so popular will attract jealousy and hate. It’s unavoidable. However, he’s dealt with it all with humility, openness, and honesty. He’s never hidden from it, he’s faced it head on and if he has made a mistake, he’s owned it. This is an incredibly valuable lesson to teach any child or adult.
His relationship with Marzia is inspirational and his love of Edgar and Maya is heart-warming. As you know, I have two pugs identical to these, Willy and Fanny, and his love/annoyance relationship with Edgar does make me laugh as Willy drives me up the wall.
Sean too, has the most loving relationship with Evelyn (I’ve probably spelled that wrong and I daren’t check on YouTube as I’ll end up in a rabbit hole and never finish this article, that’s ADHD for you), if you’re looking for new channels, please do check hers, it’s so wholesome and she doesn’t use Sean to grow it either, it’s all her own work, while his adoration of his adopted son BB, the most beautiful cat, is heart-warming.
Neither are fathers yet, maybe they never will be, but they’ve provided stability and guidance to the next generation, to millions of children, some of which are now adults, and this alone makes me very excited about the new generation.
A Message to Felix and Sean
If they do ever read this, Felix, I hope the move to Japan comes soon, we’re also looking into this. I just adore the way society works in Japan, how everyone respects each other and sees the community as a whole. The food is great too along with the technology, well, everything. I can’t decide whether to go rural or not.
Sean, I’m so sorry about your dad. I lost mine when I was 23 and it still affects me to this day. Your uploads on mental health have opened so many conversations, even in your darkest times you inspired others to find the help they needed, thank you.
If either of you would like to answer Sunday Woman’s 10 probing questions or would like to collab with a very tiny channel BigFatFarm, please do get in touch.
Wishing you continued success and happiness.