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06th Sep 2021

Expert says Cocomelon acts “as a drug” to kids’ brains

Laura Grainger

“The stronger the drug, the stronger the hit.”

When one woman shared a video of her toddler godson trying to run away from home as a result of Cocomelon being turned off, the comments were filled with parents saying the show is like some type of drug for kids.

According to one expert, that might actually be the case, as she’s claiming that it “acts as a drug, as a stimulant” to the brains of children.

Child development specialist Jerrica Sannes shared an Instagram story highlight in which she claims the show is hyper-stimulating for their developing brains, ultimately impacting their ability to play without such stimulation.

“Cocomelon is so hyper-stimulating that it actually acts as a drug, as a stimulant,” she says. “The brain gets a hit of dopamine from screen-time and it seems that the stronger the ‘drug,’ aka the level of stimulation a show delivers, the stronger the ‘hit.’

“This leads to 1) the children experiencing symptoms of addiction and withdrawal, obviously leaving them completely dysregulated, and 2) a general discomfort in the speed of everyday life.”

Dysregulation refers to a poor ability to register emotions, manage emotional responses and keep them within a socially acceptable range of reactions.

“The more they watch the show, the more the brain begins to expect this kind of stimulation,” Jerrica continues. “This makes it impossible for them to play creatively and without entertainment.”

Jerrica claims the show could cause even neurotypical children to display the type of dysregulation, inattention or behavioural issues more common in neurodivergent children, such as those with autism or ADHD.

“If your child meltdowns endlessly once a show is turned off OR until that show is turned on – that isn’t love, that’s addiction. If your child turns into a zombie while watching a show, that isn’t ‘rest,’ that’s overstimulation.”

The specialist added that as researchers are still unsure of the longterm effects of stimulating shows like Cocomelon, the best parents can do is “carefully observe our children’s behaviour to decide if we like how a show is affecting their brain.”