In various venues I am seeing questions regarding why kids don’t read as many books as they used to, or at least so it seems. In my quest to figure this out, I instituted the digital diet at Christmas and also a closer scrutiny of what my children actually were doing. In the case of my 17 year old daughter, it seemed she was spending a lot of time looking deeply at her cell phone. Usually she seemed to be watching music videos. But yesterday I snuck up on her and saw that the screen was currently displaying: Slime!
Now, lest you think that this slime was the type you find under the bridge, think again. Slime is something I have known about since my children were little, and one of my boys got a jar of toy green slime for Christmas, which next wound up on his little brother’s hair. Later, as a teacher, I learned that “making slime” can be a science project for upper elementary. To make this slime, you use glue, borax, and food color.
I noticed my daughter asking for borax a month ago. “Why?” I asked.
“To make slime.”
Sure enough, the next day I found a small bowl of blue slime covered on the counter top. I tried to look in and test it.
“Don’t!” she said. “You haven’t washed your hands! And besides it’s not very good.”
“What constitutes good slime?”
“It has to stretch and spread smoothly,” she replied.
I put this down in my mind under the category of Modern Teenagers Don’t Make Sense and forgot about it. Until I saw the slime video.
“What is this!” I demanded: it was slime-manipulating hands on video. She had combined two of her most non-productive behaviors: staring at the cell phone and wasting time on recipes designed for a brain break in a 5th grade classroom.
“Mom! Slime videos are a thing! Lots of people watch them! There are instagrammers who have over a million subscribers, all on slime videos. Now this here … ” she switched the window to a fetching picture of a pile of bright pink slime that seemed by its even, ridged appearance to have been squirted out of a pastry tube, “is butter slime. Super spreadable. ” Two hands came out of the edges of the video and began stretching the slime in all directions.
This was one of those moments when mom retreats to her room to collect her thoughts. Later in the evening, I got a call from her older brother who’s in the navy. “Your sister is watching videos of slime,” I told him. “I’m ready to retire to Bedlam.”
“Oh Mom. Those are just satisfying videos. It’s a thing now. Some are of slime, others show how to do woodworking, or just paint pouring together and mixing up. Personally I like the ones of how to make hard candy. They take you from the beginning, getting out the sugar and butter, all the way through mixing, cooking, cooling, stretching it until it’s only a half inch thick, then breaking it into bite sized pieces … ”
Conclusion: I was faced with a choice. Either accept that slime videos are perfectly normal and could be seen, in fact as “cool,” or … admit that I am “out of it, over the hill.”
It’s a hard choice and I’m going to have to get back to you on it.