Man Becomes Weepy Mess Over Totlol

    June 17, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Okay, okay, okay. So, not too long ago I was too macho and manly and calloused by the societal impositions of masculinity to ever admit to, or even have the stomach for, watching or looking at or thinking about anything involving kittens, bunnies, daisies or hugs for no reason. That elevated LOLCats to a kind of cuteness torture.

In short, if it meant saying or hearing "awwwwwwwwww," I was out. Somebody grab me a beer and make sure to properly appreciate my new flat screen on your way to the fridge. Yeah, that’s HD programming. Hear those bullets whizzing by your head? Yeah, that’s surround sound, too.

And then something happened. A something that began as a multi-angled, swarm-like hormonal assault on my general ability to be correct about anything, which then swelled into a fog half composed of persistent nagging worry and half new appreciation of, even new participation in, things that make you go "awwwwwwww." My wife. She’s pregnant.

Now my world is pink. And there are lots of girly things in it. Lots of soft, cushy, moody, pastel so-cute-so-sweet-so-omg-those-are-expensive things. In 15 weeks or less, this new syndrome presumably will worsen in every way it can worsen, all my mannish qualities slipping into a quicksandy pile of gushy emotional tactility, complete with looking at sunsets and dewdrops with new, encompassing appreciation.

Don’t let Jason’s new softiness fool you. Mess with his baby girl and see what happens to you.

The point is: I think soon I’ll be pretty worried and protective of a child and will be eventually very concerned with what her little eyes (no, she’ll have big eyes like me and her mother) will be able to access on the Internet. Let’s face it, if I let her, there’s a good chance she’ll know how to work a mouse before she knows how to walk*.

Stefanie Olsen’s headline, though it wouldn’t have been able to do so a year ago, caught my attention today: Totlol: YouTube for 6-month-olds. First of all, my wife hasn’t told me when we can let her watch TV or online video, but 6 months seems too young, especially after hearing all that about how Baby Einstein videos actually make your baby dumber because they miss out on that valuable, educational parental interaction.

I was relieved then to know that Totlol is intended for kids up to six who have really nervous and worrisome parents (which is all of us, I think) that don’t want their little kids sniffing too much around YouTube—Olsen mentioned something about a video where Elmo kills Barney, plus I know the F-bomb is in perpetual production there.

I checked it out, curious and, strangely, happy about the prospect. But I knew I’d crossed over when I clicked on this "Animal Love" video and could think of no better, no cushier, no sweeter, no cuter, nothing more previously nauseating and now perfectly appropriate for my one-day-will-be-covered-in-happy-happy-lovey-dovey-furball-wonderment little girl than daggone animals hugging each other.

Holy cow here it comes and I can’t stop it: Awwwwwwwww.

Darn it. See, can’t even say the D word anymore.

So dig, the Totlol parent community chooses and posts the video so they’re age appropriate. From the About page:

"Most video websites use some method of content filtering to block content that is considered inappropriate for young adults. While the sites have great content for all ages, including tots and kids, they were not intended for children under the age of 13."

There was a time when I wouldn’t be seen anywhere you didn’t have to be 21 to get into. Now "great for tots" is music to my ears.

Olsen also mentions KidZui, which is run by teachers. Just like YouTube itself, neither site seems to have figured out how to make any money yet. While we’re all here (I know if you’ve read this far you must be a parent, too), any other suggestions for great little kid sites?

*Not only that, my child will no doubt be able to fix your HTML code while hacking an iPhone. Your kid doesn’t stand a chance.