'Baby Shark' creator: Mobile devices aren't babysitters, monitor kids' online activity

‘Baby Shark’ is a global phenomenon that’s amassed more than 2.8 billion views on YouTube so far. — Picture courtesy of Pinkfong
‘Baby Shark’ is a global phenomenon that’s amassed more than 2.8 billion views on YouTube so far. — Picture courtesy of Pinkfong

PETALING JAYA, June 11 — Whether you love it or loathe it, chances are you probably know the lyrics to Baby Shark by heart.

The viral earworm created by children’s brand Pinkfong — owned by South Korean educational entertainment group SmartStudy — can be an instant pacifier for crying kids with its bright visuals, simple lyrics and fun rhythms.

While it might be tempting to use educational videos as a substitute nanny, SmartStudy co-founder and chief financial officer Ryan Lee said that parents and children can only reap the full benefits by watching them together.

Doing so helps parents to keep an eye on their child’s online activity while giving them a chance to let young ones understand the need for a balance between offline and online play.

“Mobile devices aren’t just babysitters. Parents need to have a keen interest in what content their children watch rather than just giving away mobile devices.

“A good way of forming a healthy relationship with technology starts with making small promises and communicating with your children,” Lee told Malay Mail.

He gave the example of watching two videos featuring animal songs with a child and then getting the child to move on and play crossword puzzles (i.e. an offline activity) with the names of the animals seen in the videos.

More interaction needed

Pinkfong is working to create more videos to facilitate interactive learning in children. — Picture courtesy of Pinkfong
Pinkfong is working to create more videos to facilitate interactive learning in children. — Picture courtesy of Pinkfong

Lee added that one of the greatest challenges in making educational content is a lack of interaction where children simply view the video passively without engaging in active learning.

Pinkfong hopes to overcome this by crafting content with characters that encourage children to clap along and interact with family members.

Their videos also foster lyric-to-world connections through repetitive lyrics and dance moves.

For example, Baby Shark tells the tale of a family of sharks, allowing children to relate it with their own experience of family life.

It’s no wonder toddlers have taken such a liking to the vibrant characters in Pinkfong’s videos, friendly figures which Lee says helps kids to better understand their environment.

“If you slip into the shoes of a two- to five-year-old, there are so many things in this world that don’t make any sense to you.

“As children repeatedly sing along to Baby Shark and Pinkfong’s content, they get familiar with the real-life themes embedded in the videos and it ultimately helps make connections to the world.”

A Baby Shark for every occasion

After seeing the success of ‘Baby Shark’, Pinkfong set out to create several different versions of the hit song. — Picture courtesy of Pinkfong
After seeing the success of ‘Baby Shark’, Pinkfong set out to create several different versions of the hit song. — Picture courtesy of Pinkfong

"Baby Shark Dance" is currently the 10th most viewed video on YouTube with more than 2.8 billion views.

SmartStudy co-founder and chief financial officer Ryan Lee. — Picture courtesy of Pinkfong
SmartStudy co-founder and chief financial officer Ryan Lee. — Picture courtesy of Pinkfong

Lee said that incorporating lyrics and dance moves that anyone can follow was the secret behind its widespread appeal.

“We put weight on making our content easy enough for children to follow — how easy the rhyme is to sing along to, and how natural it would be when it’s actually spoken out by children. It’s the same with choreography.

“Secondly, it needs to be fun. We strive to create content that’s not only fun for the children, but even for parents.”

There are now over 100 renditions of Baby Shark by Pinkfong, including an electronic dance music (EDM) remix, a Halloween version, and even a Baby Shark Christmas carol.

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