Are Toddlers Becoming Addicted to ‘Cocomelon’?


'Cocomelon' leads the U.S. in the most views and the most subscribers on YouTube (Image: via Cocomelon)

Cocomelon is an American YouTube channel and streaming media program acquired by the British company Moonbug Entertainment and maintained by the American company Treasure Studio. Cocomelon specializes in 3D animation videos of both traditional nursery rhymes and their own original children’s songs. However, child psychologists and parents have expressed concern over the anonymous nature of the channel and its visually intense content.

The show constantly changes scenes and includes catchy music and bright colors that dopamine affects the children. Netflix bought the show for a whopping $US3 billion deal. Over 140 million subscribers follow the Cocomelon YouTube channel.

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Child psychology experts caution parents whose children are fond of the show and think it can potentially create addiction in the young mind.
Child psychology experts caution parents whose children are fond of the show and think it can potentially create addiction in the young mind. (Image: Suphatthra China via Dreamstime)

Why ‘Cocomelon’ may be harmful to children?

At first glance, Cocomelon may not seem very different from other toddler-centric shows; there are catchy tunes, good animation, and engaging visuals. However, child psychology experts caution parents whose children are fond of the show and think it can potentially create addiction in the young mind.

Jerrica Sannes, a noted child development specialist, thinks so, and she feels Cocomelon is quite over-stimulating, which may be addicting to children. As a result, they may develop behavioral and attention disorders later.

Sannes says: “Cocomelon is so hyper-stimulating that it acts as a drug, a stimulant. The brain receives a hit of dopamine from screen time, and it seems that the stronger the ‘drug’ (aka the level of stimulation a show delivers), the stronger the ‘hit.’”

What about the proponents?

Many parents have echoed the view shared by Jerrica Sannes on social media channels like Tiktok, who feel their children have become firmly addicted to the show. However, a section of parents feels quite the opposite about the show. They think the show helps children learn and develop vocabulary better than other children. Some parents believe it has helped their children become more vocal and speak better. 

Some child psychology experts believe the show is not as bad as some parents think. For example, a psychologist named Nicole Beurkens says Cocomelon is stimulating for toddlers, but it should not be classified as overwhelming.

Alabama’s clinical psychologist Daniel Marullo says: “It’s not about certain shows over others. The general trend is that there is no benefit to the media. For example, suppose Mom wants to take a shower and needs 20 minutes, okay? Let’s be reasonable, right? But as a rule, as much as you can, you want screen time to be an interactive experience.”

Some child psychology experts believe the show is not as bad as some parents think. (Image: via Cocomelon)

Walden University’s social and behavioral science professor Rebecca G. Cowan thinks that without enough research on the show, it is not okay to call it over-stimulating. Dr. Cowan believes parents should observe the impact of such content on their children. Parents should not appear panicked or stressed if they find the child is developing an addiction. They need to show calmness and firmness in dealing with such children. They can help the child engage in activities that soothe and relax them. 

Summing it up

From a realistic viewpoint, it is near impossible for the present generation of parents to keep children away from social media, digital technologies, and apps. They want their children to be savvy in these technologies from a young age. However, setting screen time limits is tricky, and what can be adequate for one child may be too much for another.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is against setting a fixed screen time for children under two. But it is still important to draw a line somewhere so that children do not lose focus and develop an addiction to such digital stimulants.

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