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What children are watching in 2022

What children are watching in 2022

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Authentic Indian content material for youngsters has been discovered wanting. Specialists weigh in on sensible programming, difficult imaginations and why children’ content material is just not solely mythology

Authentic Indian content material for youngsters has been discovered wanting. Specialists weigh in on sensible programming, difficult imaginations and why children’ content material is just not solely mythology

My 12-year-old daughter likes to go down the YouTube rabbit gap in pursuit of exhibits, cartoons or movies that pique her curiosity. I monitor her content material, in fact, and pull the brakes or information her each time essential. Like many households in city India, we don’t watch linear tv and we shouldn’t have a cable connection. As an alternative, we use OTT streaming providers — Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar and Amazon Prime. YouTube is a favorite too and the explosive enchantment of those platforms amongst youngsters has led to extra various and fascinating content material.

ALSO READ: Vikramaditya Motwane on India’s ‘one size fits all’ model of entertainment

This year,  Turning Red on Disney+ Hotstar is a step forward in terms of representation. The movie is about a Canadian Chinese girl who turns into a giant red panda every time she is stressed or excited. Children like my daughter see themselves in Priya Mangal, who is one of Mei’s best friends in the movie and is voiced by actor Maitreyi Ramakrishnan. The movie’s refreshing depiction of anxiety is a big step, given that mental health occupies an important place in conversations with children and teens.

A still from ‘Turning Red’

A still from ‘Turning Red’

Today, there is a bevy of shows available for children in India and a big-business battle among television channels and OTTs to grab those eyeballs. In fact, a report from the Boston Consulting Group predicts that the Indian OTT market will grow to $5 billion by 2023. As we look at the spread of video entertainment in the country today, we come across some interesting breakthroughs in programming for children. There is more representation and multicultural content, although slapstick comedy shows and mindless action fare are still popular.

ALSO READ:Konkona Sen Sharma picks three children’s movies

Life classes

In line with Leena Lele Dutta, enterprise head and EVP, Sony YAY!, children as we speak take pleasure in some authentic Indian content material and fast-paced comedies with quirky characters in exhibits equivalent to  Obocchama-kun. “Our present,  Sudha Murthy — Tales of Wit and Magic, did very effectively on Netflix, not simply due to its leisure quotient but in addition due to its underlying life classes,” she says. The teenage viewers doesn’t have as many decisions, with a lot of them watching exhibits equivalent to  Younger Sheldon, Diary of a Future President and  Household Reunion.

‘Sudha Murthy — Stories of Wit and Magic’

‘Sudha Murthy — Tales of Wit and Magic’

Certainly, even for youthful youngsters, aside from standard animated collection such as  Sinchan and  Motu Patlu, there may be little or no authentic Indian content material for youngsters, particularly complicated tales that each entertain and spark dialog. So what precisely are our kids watching and the way have their pursuits diversified over the previous couple of years?

ALSO READ: ‘Children’s content is not only mythology’: Anupama Bose

I at all times feared that the infinite suggestions loop algorithm of YouTube and Netflix would make my daughter watch the identical form of movies, however to my nice shock, she charted her personal course. She likes to look at walk-through and function play movies of a well-liked recreation known as Roblox, which just about each little one her age appears to take pleasure in. She doesn’t prohibit herself to solely these exhibits however switches to movies concerning the evolution of the musical theatre on Broadway, the historical past of the sari, and likewise YouTube exhibits on conspiracy theories and Easter eggs from films produced by Marvel and DC studios. These are movies that dive deep into the tradition of the comics, books and flicks, with many references and origin tales.



Amongst my daughter’s friends, exhibits on YouTube equivalent to  The Movie TheoristsThe Sport Theorists and  The Infographic Present are immensely standard as a result of they mix leisure and schooling. I do know many children who completely love the  Who Was? present on Netflix, which is a fun-filled comedy historical past present that has, amongst different issues, Mahatma Gandhi and Benjamin Franklin rapping about having their faces on cash.

Eclectic tastes

Youngsters’s creator and mum Niyatee Sharma believes that youngsters are cultivating eclectic tastes with regards to viewership. “My son likes to look at cooking exhibits, documentaries on journey and structure. My youngsters watch a whole lot of sci-fi films and YouTube exhibits round their particular curiosity like craft or Lego. I believe that as we speak, there may be some good content material on the market, with extra inclusive characters, a wider illustration of color and a blurring of gender stereotypes, with films like  Mulan or  Encanto.”

A still from ‘Encanto’

A nonetheless from ‘Encanto’

There may be additionally an increase in content material in regional languages, with many exhibits being dubbed in Indian languages and broadcast in rural areas. In its TV Universe Estimates 2020, BARC finds that the best development in youngsters’s content material has been in rural India and is seen broadly within the 2-14 age group.

ALSO READ: Filmmakers Vinod Kamble and Samit Kakkad on children’s content in India

New age content material

Refreshing as new-age content material perhaps, there’s a malicious facet to on-line movies. Let’s take this unsettling statistic: there are nearly 30,000 hours of newly uploaded video content material per hour on YouTube, and this makes it inconceivable to vet movies. YouTube additionally has hyperlinks to pornography in its feedback. There are additionally web sites that you would be able to entry that instantly result in unsolicited messages and pornographic pop-ups, content material that’s unsuitable for youngsters however which nonetheless finds its option to their gadgets. Additionally, habit is an actual fear and younger viewers can lose monitor of time.

Gayathri Ananth, a scholar counsellor and particular educator who works with adolescents and youngsters, believes that younger youngsters are extraordinarily impressionable and exposing them to a lot on-line content material with out parental steering or counselling might be detrimental. “In many colleges in India, media literacy is non-existent,” she says. “Dad and mom ought to share data with their youngsters and must also be educated to determine indicators and indicators of their youngsters that could be about melancholy, gender dysphoria or the destructive impression of dangerous on-line content material.”

ALSO READ: Kiran Rao on where India stands with original content for kids

One present that Keya Mehra, a 15-year-old scholar, watched lately and liked was  She-Ra and the Princesses of Energy. “It has higher illustration, not simply of characters who’re homosexual or lesbian but in addition those that are plus-sized and of color. It was by no means marketed as an LGBTQIA+  present nevertheless it was beautiful to see a present with a whole lot of variety and there was no large deal about it. It was simply part of the present and part of actuality.”

At the moment’s video leisure in India is slowly shifting in direction of providing our kids each mirrors and home windows.

The author is a contract journalist based mostly in Bengaluru.

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