Should My Child Watch ASMR? A Christian Perspective

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Are you here wondering what ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is?

or maybe you understand what it is but you want to know ….

Should my child watch ASMR YouTube videos? Are they really harmless?

As a Mom of 5 (with mostly tweens headed into the teens) I try to keep tabs on this crazy online world. One that begs their attention at every turn.

When I heard the phrase ASMR associated with slime videos, I wanted to know what it meant. As you can guess being a tween Mom, we “do” a lot of slime around here 🙂

What is it about the sight and sound of watching the slime videos that makes it so appealing?

Why are the videos so “satisfying, calming or relaxing” to watch as our own kids have said?

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Let’s look first at What ASMR is

Here’s the definition of ASMR according to Wikipedia. If you’re looking for a medical definition please check out WebMD here.

Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is a term used for an experience characterised by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine. It has been compared with auditory-tactile synesthesia. ASMR signifies the subjective experience of “low-grade euphoria” characterised by “a combination of positive feelings and a distinct static-like tingling sensation on the skin”. It is most commonly triggered by specific acoustic or visual stimuli, and less commonly by intentional attention control.Some of the common ASMR triggers include:

  • Whispering (found to be a trigger for 75% of people)
  • Hair brushing
  • Turning pages
  • Slow movements
  • Repetitive Movements
  • Light tapping noises (I don’t like noises, personally that drives me crazy 🙂 )
  • Folding towels
  • Crunchy sounds
  • Smiling

The various triggers for ASMR affect people differently.  For instance, the slime videos don’t personally give me any “tingling sensations” but I do sometimes feel relaxed if I watch a clip of them.

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ASMR is pleasing to the senses and it can be experienced by various sights, sounds, textures, or smells. 

For example, let’s think about the sound of rain.

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For me, rain or thunderstorms would be a calming thought, both the sound and the smell. For my friend, it is quite the opposite.

The sound (or smell) of rain triggers a feeling or sensation in me that produces a state of relaxation.

Often related to sleep sounds: rain, crashing waves, white noise or animal sounds can relax you and even help reduce insomnia and anxiety. And the smell of a flower can be calming and pleasurable.

Those are good things, right?

So where does ASMR shift to be a concern?

As I researched this under-researched topic more, I found a few things that sent up red flags In this Mama’s heart.

Much of the ASMR debate (even among Christians) is whether or not ASMR is sexual. 

Slime videos, nature sounds for sleep and some of the videos designed for kids, don’t appear to be sexual. I understand that.

The majority of ASMR users studied claim the use for relaxation, to help them sleep or to reduce stress.

But please Mom, do not be fooled.

There is a heavy following of ASMR that is presented more as erotica. Studies say 5% admit to specifically using ASMR for sexual stimulation. ASMR often being labeled a “head orgasm” leaves this Mom thinking otherwise. I have to argue that beautiful women whispering into the microphone could likely be a sexual trigger for many more than the 5% who have that intent. In adults (men and women) and especially in tweens or teens with raging hormones.

As believers, it does not do us any good to play the how close can I get to the fire without getting burned game“.

I’ve known this to be true in my life for some time and am passionate about teaching our kids how to guard their hearts. God is not trying to squash our fun or freedom. There is true freedom found in Christ. His design for us and His ways are BEST and hold more joy than anything else could!

What we are putting into our minds, eyes and our ears we are ultimately putting into our hearts. It all matters.

We need to teach our kids that Philippians 4:8 should be our filter.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

In this article What Is ASMR, and How Can It Benefit Your Kid’s Mental Health? they (and others) point out that real-world ASMR is happening very often in families when a mother lovingly soothes her children and it should be very beneficial for them.

According to Dr. Craig Richard, an ASMR researcher, Biopharmaceutical Sciences professor, and ASMR University founder, kids are benefiting from real-world ASMR all the time. “My mother used to put me to sleep by gently touching the inside of my forearm. I think something similar is happening all over the world as parents lovingly soothe children with soft touches, gentle whispers, and caring gazes.”

Dr. Richard believes ASMR is our brain’s heightened way of letting us know we are safe and in the presence of people who care for us. Studies have shown that being cared for in a loving way is beneficial to mental and physical development. So, real-world ASMR, whether intentional or unintentional, should be very beneficial for children.

Did you see that?

Dr Richard believes ASMR is our brain’s heightened way of letting us know we are safe and in the presence of people who care for us”

Now let’s think of that in reference to YouTube videos.

Keep in mind…. Media designed to specifically produce ASMR has hundreds of thousands of followers, millions of views and the top ASMR channels on YouTube have subscriber communities of hundreds of thousands each.

This is no small trend and it is quickly gaining popularity.

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We, friends, are created by God to be social beings, craving connection to Him and to each other in community.

To fulfil that natural desire for close, personal attention, we (and our kids) now have another option in ASMR. By watching these videos they can experience the pleasurable “connection” instead of the attention that naturally happens within the family. We have more kids using online videos of people they have never met to make them feel “safe and in the presence of people who care for them”?  Oh, my heart.

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This quotes sums it up so well

Even if ASMR is not sexual, it is… intimate. (Remember: personal attention was a trigger for 69 percent of people in the study.) Perhaps we need a cultural explanation, as well as a scientific one, to figure out ASMR’s growing popularity.

So here’s a non-peer-reviewed theory of ASMR, to accompany the scientific one: as our social and work lives are increasingly dematerialized, the people of the Internet have found a way to psyche themselves into re-experiencing the sensation of having a body via YouTube clips of people pretending to care about them. ASMR is a way to feel intimate, bodily connection with other people while you’re home alone on the Internet. Talk about a hack.

What Can You Do?

Get practical. Start with prayer, much prayer. How does God want you to handle this in your home? What will you allow and what won’t you? Get solid through prayer and God’s word on how you feel about this growing trend.

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Talk about it. Believe me, it’s possible they have heard it about. Many middle schoolers are talking about ASMR or even trying it with or without their parents knowing. Ask them if they have. But don’t be condemning. Be the safe place where they can talk about these hard things like Biblical Sexuality, Bullying, Pornography, Suicide, ASMR and Transgender issues. Be their authority on these topics SO THAT you can direct them to the ultimate authority – the Bible.

Be Active. Be involved in their lives offline and online. As they branch out be there to guide them and bring them back in as needed.

Let’s give our kids the true “close and personal attention” that they crave and that virtual ASMR can never fulfil. Let’s be connected parents who lead them to Jesus.

So now I’m curious. Are you aware of the growing ASMR trend? What are your thoughts?

Talk to you soon!

Lee

O Lord, You have pleaded the case for my soul; You have redeemed my life. Lamentations 3:56

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15 thoughts on “Should My Child Watch ASMR? A Christian Perspective”

  • Thank you very much for this…. I was looking for something that would confirm my suspicions that there was something else behind the whispering, relaxing voice…. Bless you for researching and writing.

    • Thank you Joy for your encouragement!! I pray it helps others understand as well. Thank you for reading.

  • As a person who is trying to learn more about things I don’t understand or feel 100% comfortable with, learning from those of like mind is so refreshing. I had no idea that it potentially dangerous things like this exist out in the world! These internet shenanigans should and can really only be explained to our teen and tweens by us mothers. No internet whore is going to take the place of me and God in my house!

    • Navigating tech and the online world with our kids is beyond frustrating! You’re right that there are MANY potentially dangerous things that exist and yet we also want them to grow and learn how to handle themselves and decisions online in a God-honoring way! It’s a tough time to be a parent, but our God is so faithful!! Thanks for sharing Anne!

  • Over all you can’t always be there for your kids. So when they are babies and you are their everything, use this time to lay a foundation of trust and knowledge. I talked about everything with him even as a baby. I whispered in his ear each night for the first 4 or 5 years of his life, ” You are loved so much by me and your dad. God loves you so much and has great plans for you. You will do great things through Christ with uour life” I prayed over him nightly and I was the one to bring up tough subjects so he didnt feel pressure to just go with the flow. I believe instilling confidence in him through Christ at the earliest (and continuing) stages of his life helped him immeasurably to make wise choices on his own. A self confidence built through Christ will not allow peer pressure to persuade them to do questionable things. That will help so much when they encounter new ways that can be used to control them or lead them away from Christ and you.. In my youth, i was self loathing and had no confidence and I folllwed the crowd right into sex, drugs, and even jail. I didn’t wamt that for my son. When you know you’re valuable you act accordingly. Be honest with them always and be ever present especially when they are young and you can rest easier knowing their foundation is strong and unshakeable. It took a lot of time and perseverance but I see now as an 18 year old, it was well worth all the nurturing. They will make bad choices sometimes but for the most part they are not detrimental and are recoverable.

    • Hi Georgia! Thank you so much for your transparency and sharing your wisdom! You made such wonderful points! I especially loved your tip “Be honest with them always and be ever present especially when they are young and you can rest easier knowing their foundation is strong and unshakeable.” SO true! So thankful you stopped by ❤️

  • Whoa, thanks so much for making me aware. I had no clue, but I definitely can see it now that you point it out. Such an important thing that so many of us have missed!

    • Thanks so much for reading Lisa! Yes so many of us are not aware! It was shocking to dig into. I hope and pray more eyes are opened to this growing trend. Thanks again!

  • I have never heard of this, but this makes so much sense. By God’s grace we have not found this on YouTube yet, so thank you for sharing and raising awareness!

    • Thanks for visiting Emmie! Absolutely, I’m thankful to be able to share more about it for others who aren’t aware.

  • Thanks for posting on this, I didn’t realize this was a thing or that it existed…whatever it was. But, my 13 yr old son DID mention this “thing” weeks ago that he came across on Youtube. Now I know I need to look into it.

    • Hi Tracy! Thank you so much for reading. Yes, it is amazing how many “things” there are to find out about in parenting these days, it’s so hard to keep track of! My hope is to help make Moms aware so we can pray for wisdom, research these trends and be intentional in guiding our kids in these tough areas. It’s so great that you are taking that step in looking into it more. I’m praying for you in it. Have a great week!

      • As a person always trying to learn more about things I do not understand or agree with, it is always so refreshing to hear from like-minded individuals such as yourself. These “internet fads” can and should only be exposed to our children through the knowing advice of a mother. Thanks heavens that we can keep up with them. No internet whore is taking the place of me or God in my house!

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