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Invest time into your own life, not into YouTubers’

With the increasing popularity of vlogging, we're at risk of replacing our real-life relationships

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Invest time into your own life, not into YouTubers’

Anika Roy, JagWire editor-in-chief

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The parlor game—a game that, somewhere along the way, my crazy family invented or picked up. An individual has a minute to describe a person, whether they be a friend or family member, a celebrity or a fictional character, to their teammates in hopes of them guessing correctly. Because any name is fair game as long as two people in the room know it, there’s always a wild assortment. Playing on Christmas day this past year, however, a team consisting of my two younger sisters and my middle-school-aged cousin rattled off descriptions of people no one in the room had heard of, describing their lives in greater detail than we’d seen done all game. When the three were asked the relationship they had to these people, they seemed almost offended that not everyone immediately knew the source of these names: YouTube.

For me, the most alarming part of this phenomenon was that their team struggled significantly with describing and remembering information about people they’d met in real life, but the date on which vlogger Roman Atwood got his German Shepherd somehow easily came to mind. The American society as a whole, though especially the younger generation, is in grave danger of replacing relationships with one another with “relationships” with people online whom we will likely never interact with.

The YouTube usage statistics as of 2018 are unfathomable. According to Business of Apps, a whopping 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube per minute. That’s over 18,000 hours per hour and 432,000 per day. While I admit to enjoying the occasional sports highlight or throwback vine compilation, I simply can’t imagine watching even the smallest percentage of this released media daily.

This being said, there must be someone out there watching all of that, right? According to Omnicore, 5 billion videos are watched every day, with the length of the average viewing session increasing by 50 percent this year to 40 minutes. Spending time with my sisters one day, they were very excited to show me their favorite vlogger’s most recent YouTube video. Together, we watched over 27 minutes of this woman describing the decor in her home. That’s nearly half an hour I could’ve spent doing absolutely anything else more productive.

Two pressing issues that constantly concern U.S. citizens are a general lack of sleep and an increase in obesity, and YouTube could easily be a contributor to both. With more time every year being spent on this site, less time is designated for activity and/or rest. Previously, traditional television has been blamed for these problems, but Omnicore says that as times are changing, twice as many millennials are watching YouTube videos as opposed to television shows.

Simply put, excessive YouTube watching has become an epidemic in our nation. This summer, I spent hours upon hours watching my nanny kids not play video games, but rather watch videos of other people playing video games. I’ve seen my sisters watch videos of other people online going on romantic dates or fun adventures with their friends as opposed to putting forth the effort to plan some with the people in their own lives. I’ve seen friends watch videos of other people making holiday-specific baked goods as opposed to experimenting with recipes themselves. YouTube can be a convenient resource for tutorials or an incredible outlet for reminiscing, but out of self-respect, it’s incredibly important that we remember to put down the devices every day, and start living our own lives before we’re stuck only watching other people lives theirs.

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