An Open Letter to Stampy

Meet Stampy.

Dear Stampy (aka Stampylongnose aka Stampycat),

First, let me congratulate you on your success as a Minecraft YouTube star. I suspect you’re among the first YouTubers who managed to build a following of millions by simply recording yourself playing Minecraft.

Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, I demand the return of my daughter.

I know you’ve arrived at our house when I hear your high-pitched British accent announcing yourself. Hellooo. This is Stampy and welcome to another video of Stampy’s lovely world!

An Internet search tells me you’re making a full-time living as a top-ten YouTube Star. Now that you’ve passed Katy Perry and Justin Bieber in YouTube popularity, you’ve been able to move out of your family’s basement and build a Minecraft Commentary Empire. Good for you.

Bad for me.

My daughter used to disappear into her playroom with her dollhouse, Barbies, and American Girl Dolls. On summer days, she’d go to the park. Her electronic time consisted of binge-watching “Good Luck Charlie.”

Now she’s a Stampy addict who sneaks the iPad into the bathroom and props it next to the tub for her bath. I can hear the splashing and your comments about “googlies,” which I suspect have nothing to do with Google.

For Mother’s Day, she went to a pottery studio and made me a mug. A Stampy mug. She has a Stampy shirt, which she bought with her own money. She quizzes me endlessly on Stampy trivia. She regularly submits entries to your contests, including writing and recording her vision for a Stampy theme song.

I’ve always understood and respected her call for “one more minute.” We all need a minute to pause a video and collect ourselves before heading out the door. But when she’s watching your video, she doesn’t mean one or five more minutes. She means forty.

All this has led to limits I never thought I’d need to impose on my kid, who’s biggest rule violation has been reading past bedtime.

You’re no longer allowed in our house during sick days because she was developing too many mysterious ailments. You can’t visit during dinner. You can’t show up for viola practice–she thought she could watch your videos while squeaking through “Mary had a Little Lamb.” You can’t hang out with her for hours during the weekend. You see, the only voice she should hear more often than mine is her teacher’s.

I’m supposed to be happy that you’re family friendly and that Mindcraft is creative and, wow, you’re not associated with games that involve shooting prostitutes from a racecar. You respect your young audience. Thanks for that.

Still, you’ve overstayed your welcome. You know what they say about visitors? Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.

No offense, Stampy, but you reek.

Most sincerely,

Shelley Tougas

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2 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Stampy

  1. A Human Being

    Shelley,
    I understand that you are concerned about your daughter spending too much time watching Stampy. However, as she is a human being, and especially since she is a child, she will have an obsession. Many kids have obsessions. In fact, almost every human being ever has had or still has an obsession. While some obsessions from the past include playing instruments, reading, and playing with your dolls, we now have new things for children to be obsessed with, such as iPad apps, video games, and even, oh no, YouTube videos. These might be new things, and you might think that they are less useful than reading, but like most activities, they help us learn. How do we learn from Stampy’s videos? Well, in Minecraft, there is redstone, and with redstone, you can control objects like doors, and it basically works like wiring. Stampy sometimes shows us how redstone works, and in one video, he even taught us how to use redstone in a way that is very similar to computer programming, but also much simpler and easier for kids to understand. As you may know, programming is so important for kids to know these days, and thousands of new jobs will be created for programmers in just the next few years. Stampy is teaching your little girl something in a very fun and entertaining way, something she could use in the future if she ever decides that coding is her thing. Is that not enough for you? Would you rather have her learn something not related to technology because you are sick and tired of it? Well, Stampy has something for you too. In his adventure maps, there are many puzzles that Stampy faces, and sometimes when he can’t figure them out right away, your child will, and she will learn how to solve puzzles without even knowing it. This all happens after Stampy says, “Hello, this is Stampy, and welcome to another Minecraft Let’s Play video”.
    If instead of thinking that she is wasting her time watching these videos, you believe that it’s weird that she’s obsessed with a character from YouTube, then that is an issue that is totally different. The only difference between your daughter being obsessed with Elsa and being obsessed with Stampy is that he has an endless supply of videos, and more each day (although I suppose you could say the song “Let it Go” is pretty endless). If she was more obsessed with Elsa than Stampy, I am sure she would make an Elsa mug for you, and have an Elsa T-Shirt (which she might just have anyway). The point is, being obsessed with a character from YouTube is no different than being obsessed with a character from a TV show, movie, or book. If this is your problem, then you should know that this has always been a thing, and Stampy is not to blame. If you want to blame something, blame human nature for causing us to become obsessed with famous people.
    Every child is obsessed with something, and most adults are too. I just think that the problem with you is that you are not used to having something (the internet) that allows you to see more of what you are obsessed with. It is simply a sign of our ever-changing world.

    Sincerely,
    Another Human Being Who Has Obsessions

    Reply
    1. Shelley Tougas Post author

      You’re so right. The Internet gives us access to things we love in a way we never had before. I was crazy for Star Wars – collected the toys and trading cards, read the books, joined the fan club, everything you can imagine. But I couldn’t watch the movie over and over (that came later!) because, at the time, you couldn’t rent VHS or DVDS, and you sure couldn’t stream it. If Princess Leia and Han Solo had been on YouTube, I’d have kept my iPad under the bed and watched it when I was suppose to be sleeping. I would’ve been in kid heaven! Thanks for taking time to comment!

      Reply

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