THE ADDICTIVE WORLD OF TOY UNBOXING VIDEOS GIVES KIDS THE WRONG IDEA ABOUT HOW TO HAVE FUN
Kids love playing with toys. But apparently, they love watching other kids play with them, too.
That’s the appeal behind toy “unboxing” videos, which have emerged as one of the most popular genres on YouTube. They’re pretty much exactly what they sound like: kids opening up toys and putting them to use. Of the top 10 most-watched YouTube channels in the US in 2018, two—Ryan ToysReview and FunToys Collector Disney Toys Review—are toy unboxing channels, and they have racked up a combined 38.6 billion views since launching.
But unboxing videos aren’t just for children who love toys; they span a full range of products, from fashion bloggers unpacking clothes to people opening Amazon packages and tech lovers revealing their new phones. Basically, if you can buy it, there’s an unboxing video for it.
The videos may be popular, but they’re a mystery to many: What could possibly be so enjoyable about watching someone open a box full of things you can’t have?
According to The Wall Street Journal, unboxing videos first emerged in the early 2000s on websites like Unbox.it and unboxing.com. The videos primarily featured young adults opening packages containing the latest electronics, which is why the videos were nicknamed “geek porn.”