Unboxing Videos: To watch or not watch?

Oh unboxing videos - I have a love-hate relationship with them. Six months ago our daughter would request to see one on a daily basis. I am glad to say that they are no longer in regular rotation (instead this show is now a favourite, which we are all in love with). 

Photo Credit: http://www.thismoment.com/

In case you haven't heard of them before, unboxing videos are a social media phenomenon. They are "videos of the opening, assembling and demonstration of children's toys, often by children, across social media platforms."

During the months when unboxing videos were in high demand in our house, my husband and I would often discuss the reason for their existence. We would hypothesize about the everyday lives of those making the videos. How did the families producing them make money? What was life like for the kids making them? What amount of product did these families get for free? 

I was also cognizant of the impact watching these videos had on our daughter. She progressed from wanting every toy she saw to realizing that by watching these videos she could determine which toys she really wanted to ask for (and which didn't look so great after all). I also noticed that she was picking up on the marketing tactics that were being used by the video creators, such as asking viewers to like and subscribe to their video channel. 

What I wanted to share with you is the exciting news that there are researchers who have begun to look at the impact of unboxing videos!

Here's the main dish: 

  • Researchers are beginning to look at what regulations should be in placed for this form of social media entertainment
  • Researchers are trying to determine what makes unboxing video so popular. One theory they have is that a lot of unboxing videos function as a virtual babysitter. They believe parents put on the videos in front of their kids on iPads and they just watch them on repeat.
  • Researchers are looking into the benefits of unboxing videos on peer-to-peer communication. 

What's your take? 

  • Why do your little ones like them so much? 
  • Do you use it as a "babysitter"?
  • Do you see any benefits to them? 

I look forward to reading your comments and promise to share the results of the research when it gets published!