Y is for YouTube and Yammering

One of the places that I see the biggest generational divide between me and my kids is when they load something up on YouTube. Now this isn’t going to be one of those ‘back in my day’ posts, nor is it going to be a ‘kids today!’ posts, but there’s an intriguing difference in what they consider interesting to watch and what I consider interesting to watch.

For starters, I don’t generally like taking information in via video, I prefer to read, or if necessary, to just listen, to any information I want to take in. My sons, however, love to watch videos of things. Left to their own devices, they would consume a steady diet of people playing videogames and commenting on the gameplay.

This makes no sense to me. I already find videogames to be a strange way to spend your time* but to remove yourself even further and watch people play games – and to have them yap and yammer at you while they do it? That’s enough to drive me right to the edge.

Sometimes when I am trying to work at the kitchen table, the kids will want to sit in the living room and watch some of these videos and I find it nearly impossible to concentrate. I find the commentator-style chatter works itself deeply into my brain and shakes up my thought patterns.** I don’t find the same thing if they are watching a TV show or a movie because that isn’t constant chatter, that’s a conversation (and one that has nothing to do with me) and I can tune that out. Also the conversation includes breaks and music and all kinds of other breaks in the sound but the monologue of the video commentators? Not so much.***

I feel lucky that I am not one of those people who is uncomfortable with their kids enjoying something that they themselves don’t enjoy. I’m fine with the fact that my kids are different than me and I’m happy to give them room for their own tastes, even if those tastes drive me batty.

What I can’t deal with, though, is the fact that the commentator style of speaking is leaking out into the real world. The boys have several friends who commentate the world around them instead of having conversations. They riff on what their friends say, they comment on everyone around them, and they talk about their own lives in a kind of presentation-style rather than in a sharing-with-friends-style. It is not a dialogue, it’s a monologue and it is really bizarre to witness. It feels alienating, in a way.

Again, this isn’t me complaining about ‘kids today’, it isn’t age-related per se, it’s just something that I find odd and I wonder where the whole thing came from. I wonder if perhaps a certain critical mass of us have gotten out of the habit of conversation and this is what has stepped into the space that’s remaining. Of course, there’s the chance that this style has always existed and I just didn’t encounter it until now or that the YouTube yammering has made me more sensitive to something that wouldn’t have bothered me before.

I don’t have any kind of solution and I’m not even sure that one is needed. It could be that the issue is me or that I’m just not into this style of speaking.  And, mostly, I’m just observing this odd quirk in the space between my sons’ view of the world and mine.****

Do you find the same thing with YouTube videos? What about with Talk Radio? Is there a style of presenter that drives you batty?

*I’m not anti-game, I’m just not drawn to them in any way. My husband and sons, and most of my friends, are big gamers but aside from Rock Band, I have never been pulled in. I have tried to play Minecraft a couple of times because the boys like it so much but there is way too much going on at once and the controller confounds me, so I didn’t get very far. The boys gave me points for trying though. 🙂
**For the record, I usually dig out my headphones to counter this. I don’t want to deny the boys the chance to watch something they love so much.
***I also find talk radio to be a bit like this as well. That, however, is easier to avoid.
****Note: When we pointed out to our oldest son that one of his friends has this style of speaking, it was like a light had come on. ‘Oh, THAT’S why he gets on my nerves after a while.’