As the title says, my 10 year old daughter watches Youtube shorts all day - and not things you can learn stuff from. She also constantly says she's tired. When I ask her to help with anything, she either does it quickly and goes back to her phone or she makes all kinds of excuses not to do it. She also doesn't put away her dishes or so after supper.

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    I think that a child should not have a smartphone at that age. Also you seem to have the misconception that a child of 10 years old can learn anything from using the smartphone by watching videos. I am not an expert on this. A german psychologist and neurobiologist hast written two books on that subject. There are some fun and educating videos of him (Prof. Dr. Dr Manfred Spitzer) on youtube. Unfortunatly not with english subtitles. Do not want to give any parenting tips, but in my opinion you should take her smartphone away, and if your daughter shows symptoms of addiction, you should talk ..
    – Cornman
    Commented Aug 14, 2023 at 20:20
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    with a professional.
    – Cornman
    Commented Aug 14, 2023 at 20:20
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    It has never been easier for parents, to set up screen time limitation (Screen Time on iOS and Family Link on Android), set a hard/soft limit for Youtube/TikTok... and you have resolved part of the problem Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 12:44
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    You need to read this and start acting responsibly as a parent, as explained by A.bakker and Pastychomper and mikem.
    – user21820
    Commented Sep 27, 2023 at 5:51
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    Though it's a couple months later, I just wanted to observe that the sense of the below answers depends on understanding that your daughter is not making a choice but being manipulated by psychological reward patterns engineered by brilliant people primarily to make advertising profit. In other words, she's caught in a trap. Hence it's not like saying "My kid bikes all day" or "My kid does nothing but read." If the below answers were applied to that kind of interest they would indeed be draconian, but this case is not like those. She isn't choosing (or is barely doing so at this point). Commented Dec 3, 2023 at 13:39

5 Answers 5


Simple, you are the parent and she is the child.

You should set boundaries and responsibilities for her.

Limit her screen time by putting away her phone/tablet/PC (she doesn't have to have it while at home). 2 hours a day is already more than enough (Or alternatively kick her off the Wi-Fi and don't give her the password until her chores are done for the day).

Don't allow her to leave the table unless she puts her dishes in the sink, reward her (with praise or maybe a small thing like a dessert) when she obeys.

I have 4 little cousins I babysit frequently. In their home their mother gives them too much freedom. They don't listen or respect her and do whatever they want, and throw tantrums when my aunt calls them on their behavior, to which she just gives up disciplining them and lets them do whatever again.

When they are at my house they are well behaved, say thanks and please, clean up after themselves and do healthy (nature hikes with me and my dog) and creative (drawing/reading/arts and crafts) activities.

As a parent (or parental figure) you are not supposed to be just their friend, but also their teacher.

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    Guidelines say 1 hour of screentime a day for this age. 1.5>12.
    – stan
    Commented Sep 29, 2023 at 17:09

These kinds of posts kill me. Seriously... you're the parent... act like one. Take away the phone. It's literally not rocket science. She can't watch youtube shorts on her phone if she doesn't have a phone to watch them on!

Doing chores and cleaning up after herself should not be optional, they should be expectations and failing to fulfill them should have consequences.

If you don't get a handle on your 10 year old now, you'll be in serious trouble when she becomes a teenager.

Your lack of parental guidance isn't just frustrating for you, it is detrimental to her future. She must learn responsibility and consequences while she's young, or the real-world is going to eat her alive. And it will be your fault. She'll ultimately pay the price, but you'll have been the one to set her on the wrong track.

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    Harshly put, especially given how little we know about the OP's circumstances, but you're not wrong. Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 9:05
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    But how do you do all that without damaging the relationship with your child?
    – Mary-Sue
    Commented Jan 4 at 20:40
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    Discipline and responsibility will build a relationship a whole lot quicker than it will destroy it. You're the parent, not a friend. You can be friends when they are an adult and self-sufficient because you raised her well. For now, be the parent. Tough love is the best love, especially in their formative years. Teach them discipline, respect, responsibility and accountability while they are young and the rebellious years will likely be less rebellious.
    – mikem
    Commented Jan 6 at 1:06
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    @Mary-Sue: I can rephrase your question to whether you'd prefer to do the right thing or be liked. It's an extreme rephrasing but one that gets at the core point: are you a parent because you're looking for affection, or are you a parent because you're doing what in your child's best interest?
    – Flater
    Commented Feb 5 at 0:12

I have a stepson of a similar age with similar tendencies. He was given a smartphone at the age of 9 by his biological father, so that he could call him on it. At first he used it to watch Youtube well into the night. The solution was to take the 'phone away at night.

Similar things happened in the daytime with the 'phone and the Playstation: given the chance he'd watch/play all day, which affected his moods and behaviour. We encouraged him to limit his screen time, but he wasn't mature enough to control it on his own. He would often say he only wanted to look something up or play for a short time, then try to stay on for hours.

The solution was enforced limits, by parental controls on the 'phone and reminding him when the time was up on the Playstation. (The PS has some parental controls but we chose not to rely on them.) He also has to do certain things to earn the time.

Each time, he grumbled and tried to sneak around the limits for a while, but ended up accepting them. The main thing is he's less tired and more interested in social and physical activities. He's also learning to ration his time in case he "needs" to use his 'phone in the evening. Interestingly, he often doesn't use all his allowed time on the 'phone, even though it's less than he used to use before we introduced the limit.


In case anyone wants a countercultural perspective on this -

I tend to disagree with the solutions that start with "you're the parent." Believe it or not, you can destroy your relationships with your kids if you choose to live like it's 1955. Conversely, you can also ruin your relationships if you take the whole child led concepts too literally.

One fun nugget to chew on - kids are extremely receptive to psychology, and can be turned away from the things that we believe are ruining their minds, if we take the time to employ tactics that are not as deceptive as they may seem. The most important thing to understand in this approach is that it absolutely and unequivocally requires you to be present, attentive, and willing to forego your own interests in order to redirect your child's.

Look at your own habits and pastimes. At 10, she is most likely able to operate on her own, and has granted you time to resume things you did before being a parent in this era. Even if we don't notice it, we all do things like that. We go from tending to everything they do, to slowly realizing they don't need us for every little thing. It can make us just as lazy as they appear when they are watching youtube all day. So to say, it is not inconceivable that this habit was picked up because we seemed too busy to do things that she actually wanted to do, so she learned to do this instead.

Every kid has interests, especially at 10. The "you're the parent" phrase works best for me in this capacity - you can make the call that you have to go somewhere, and they are used to this by now. Kids go along. Leave the house and take her with you. Not just things that cost money per say, but anything that is an excursion that weaves physical actions back into the mix with you. Joke. Point things out in the weird world around you, and develop your own delights in the things she comes up with in these conversations and queries.

Tired has nothing to do with it. We all get tired when we fester. Force activity through clever manipulation, and you can break that rut. I don't mean hands off things like trying to force them into a sports program or something. That is no better than snatching their phones and telling them they are banned from the internet. Unless it is something they are truly interested in, it may end up filed in the memory vault with all the reasons why their parents are tyrants.

But kids want to play. Unearthing the mysteries of their delights and interests can be a challenge in itself, but not asking, and not trying are positively going to ensure this youtube habit continues forever. Don't get me wrong. I am not implying that you yourself don't try. It is, however, pretty common for parents to perceive their own time as maximized and insist they cannot do what I am suggesting. So I have to call it out. That we all often take up habits and routines that we say are necessary for our own sanity without realizing that this absence of focus and attention is the very thing that converted watching a few videos while dinner is being made into the default go-to when it doesn't seem like there's anything else to do. A conclusion that may not have been reached if random adventures were ever present.

Reside the point, the psychological aspect of this is that your own involvement and perceived interests in the adventures that prevent youtube from being an option may be what is necessary to ween her back into reality. It's not always what she wants to do, but perhaps even in her being a part of things you demonstrate an interest in. If you appear happy because of her involvement, she may be more interested in being involved.

We are always observing and seeding what may be an interest vs an observation and knowing when to pounce on something that will broaden their experiences and memories beyond what such an impersonal tool like an ipad will do without specifically ruling the ipad out. We don't want to create interest via forbidding. We want to create interest within each other and ourselves by observing reactions, questioning the hows and whys of everything, and remaining open to the idea of trying something different, even something that you personally have no interest in. You may grow one you never knew you had just because you see how they delight in it.

Sometimes it takes psychology to break into this, and maintain it. But psychology doesn't have to be seen as a weapon or deceptive manipulation. Even if it sounds like trickery. In the end, using ourselves as the segue into numerous and varied interests has given us all plenty of activities to do as a family or solo that don't involve devices. And as a result, I see them using the ipad less and less by their own volition. Both have phones. Neither one of them is glued to the phone like the zombies you see in society today. But all of it came with an integration of ourselves in their interests. Almost like - the lack of confidence in knowing how to do something is what prevents anyone from doing anything. But when we do it together, that fades away and the attitude of "how hard can it be" starts to surface. That's the self guidance that was my goal as I pondered what I can do to prevent the zombie child from forming when I began my tour of parenting some 13 years ago.

Personally, I abhor traditions. We aren't stuck back in time. So while things move forward, I have to do so as well, or I risk losing touch with the new generation that I am raising. It is conventional to believe the typical rules society imparts as expectation are the baseline and generally unwavering. But I disagree. I don't know how much of tradition I adopt in my whack method of parental insanity, but I have some incredibly talented, intelligent, creative kids who are always top of their class and seem to have a decent grasp on the ethical treatment of everyone and everything around them. I have to assume that our integrations into their interests and refusal to do it the way it's always been done had something to do with that. Even if youtube and other online social interests are still present and continue to be unrestricted. We don't represent everyone, but we do serve as an example that balance is possible in the subject of addictive childhood pastimes in this era.

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    what rubbish information here. Commented Dec 14, 2023 at 11:31
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    "Force activity through clever manipulation" Are you even aware of what despicable things you're saying? Commented Feb 10 at 20:14
  • @DennisHackethal - Yes. The same kind of manipulation that raises kids in religions and teaches us to play along with an asinine system designed to keep a slave class. There's no branch of life that isn't affected by some degree of manipulation. I just choose to admit I employ it and not act like I'm part of a savior class that holds high and mighty upon my throne of benevolence. We both seem to agree on one thing - it's despicable. That's why I choose to not lie to my kids about what reality around us actually is.
    – Kai Qing
    Commented Feb 12 at 18:45
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    @DennisHackethal - No, that is a realistic way to look at the world. Feel free to call it whatever you want. If you believe manipulation is only an instrument of evil, then you have been successfully manipulated. And to a-holes like me, few things define the mistreatment of children better than religion and blind subservience to government. I have a feeling you feel otherwise. You do realize that my whole post specifies to spend time with your kid, right? If they don't want to, then find out what they are into and figure out how to do it with them. That's some real tyranny there.
    – Kai Qing
    Commented Feb 12 at 19:54
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    "If you believe manipulation is only an instrument of evil, then you have been successfully manipulated." This should be written in stone somewhere. +1 Commented Feb 14 at 8:13

Taking away the phone is just cruel. Turst me I KNOW THAT Let's break it down...

Why she's watching so much?

How to talk to her?


How to limit it?

Ch 1 - Why she's watching so much?

This is obviously because she doesn't find her real life exciting. Even if it was, She is curious about other people. DO NOT take the phone away completely!! This will make her question what she did wrong and soon, get frustrated along with angry with her life. Who knows?? She might be doing something creative or her passion is in the digital media.Taking the phone away might make her a moody teenager from early on because she feels like she can't trust you.

Ch 2 - How to talk to her?

Oh boy this is the hard one! First, try and tell her your reasoning on why. Also tell her that too much screen time is bad for her. Definitely tell her that she still will have screentime but not so much!

Ch 3 - How to limit it?

Like I said before, DO NOT take it away! Instead, give her only 1hr - 1hr and 30 min! If she doesn’t listen, don't be too harsh. Try and trick her. Get her a sport she enjoys or an art project; even have playdates with her friends or go out to the mall. A sport should be good only for 30min - 1 hour because she's still really young!

Hope this helps!! :D

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    not really. She watches them because they are addictive and low-effort. I know because I get caught spending way too much time on YouTube shorts sometimes. Once you start you can't stop. And she is a child, not an adult, so she will have an even harder time with this.
    – Esther
    Commented Aug 25, 2023 at 16:30
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    Taking her 'phone away completely would probably be unnecessary, but would not be cruel. Children don't need 'phones. Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 9:50
  • @PastychomperthanksMonica By your own logic, it isn't cruel to take away things people don't need. Apply that logic to someone taking something they think you don't need and see if you still think it isn't cruel. Property rights don't depend on others' perception of your needs. Commented Dec 3, 2023 at 5:30

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