4 Things Your Kids Are Watching Instead of Saturday-Morning Cartoons

·Contributor
Stampylonghead
Stampylonghead

The Saturday-morning cartoon on broadcast-network TV is dead. And while former kids cried into their Sugar Pops, today's target audience barely noticed.

Perhaps that's because on other platforms —cable and streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu — the Saturday-morning cartoon is alive and well. And the web is filled with all kinds of other videos that kids find captivating — no TV necessary. "In my own house, [my children, ages 12 and 9] don't even ask me to turn on the television ever, let alone Saturday mornings," says Jessica Hartshorn, entertainment editor of Parents magazine.

Here's a sampling of what's keeping your kids glued to their (usually handheld) screens:

Paul Soares Jr.
Paul Soares Jr.

1. Gaming videos.

Maybe you've got a third-grader who's into the world-building game Minecraft. Or maybe you've got a middle-schooler who's into the army-building game Clash of Clans. Either way, you've probably got a kid who's way into watching expert gamers do their thing. "My 7-year-old watches a lot of Minecraft and other YouTube Let's Play videos on the iPad certainly much more than he watches TV," Matt Doyle of the children-and-technology blog Brightpips says. "I think he would watch them all day if given the chance!"

On YouTube, Stampy (aka Stampylongnose), Paul Soares Jr., and SethBling are among the most popular narrators of kid-friendly Minecraft adventures, each with millions of subscribers and, in Stampy's case, billions of views. Galadon is a top Clash of Clans strategist at Clash of Clans Attacks.

Related: TV Kids' Transformations: See How Much They've Grown Up Over the Years

2. Frozen. When Disney's Oscar-winning animated blockbuster was released in the moribund home-video platform last spring, it sold a staggering 3.2 million DVD and Blu-Ray discs in a single day. From there on out, to hear Frozen-fried moms and dads tell it (often on Twitter), it's been nonstop Anna, Elsa, and "Let It Go." "I have two little girls, ages 6 and 2," New York Post film critic Kyle Smith wrote last month, "and each of them has seen Frozen at least four times as many times as I ever saw Star Wars." The title of Smith's column? "How Disney's Frozen Ruined My Life."

Related: Kristen Bell Loves 'Frozen' Even More Than Your Kids Do

DisneyCollector (YouTube)
DisneyCollector (YouTube)

3. DisneyCollector.

The first you need to know about this YouTube channel, profiled in no less than the New York Times, is that it's just about the most popular channel in all the YouTube universe. The second thing is that it's all about unboxing, the video genre in which a brand-new product — a camera, a phone, a luxury handbag — is unveiled or unwrapped on camera. The third thing is that it's specifically all about unboxing toys — special-edition Play-Doh tubs, a Hello Kitty playset, Frozen everything. And the fourth thing is that kids, who pretty much can't afford anything that our unseen, unnamed tour guide cracks open, love it. "In talking with people, their kids actually do watch, and they're mesmerized by it," says Josh Cohen, founder of the online-video news site Tubefilter.

4. "Weird Al" Yankovic. Yes, Weird Al. The 55-year-old pop parodist, who won the Internet and the album charts this past summer with his latest release, Mandatory Fun, apparently has been the beneficiary of a silly-song craze on YouTube. Twila Dang of PopCultureParent.com says tweens are as deeply into Minecraft parody songs as they are into the game or its how-to videos. From there, things get deeper — and sillier. "When I asked my kids, they pointed out that Minecraft parodies led them to discover YouTubers like Tobuscus, who [also] specializes in parodies," Dang said in an email. "They've even reached back into the vault and discovered 'Weird Al'."

Weird Al in Amish Paradise (YouTube)
Weird Al in Amish Paradise (YouTube)