The Internet has caused a significant shift in the global television industry. With the arrival of faster and more affordable internet services in the form of mobile data, as well as the widespread availability of wireless broadband, there has been a significant increase in the number of individuals exploring various OTT choices and the amount of time they spend watching online content.
The rise of over-the-top (OTT) platforms has had a significant impact on young minds. According to research, an Indian youngster spends roughly eight and a half hours per day viewing streaming media material, which is significantly greater than the world average of six hours and forty-five minutes. The availability of an unprecedented range of content, offers young people access to a wealth of diverse media, often without parental supervision or guidance. This is a growing concern among parents and educators alike.
The younger generation, namely those aged 18 to 30, is the primary target audience for most OTT web series and other streaming content. OTT companies encourage the ‘binge-watch’ paradigm, in which users end up watching multiple seasons of a single TV show in one sitting. Shows are now particularly designed for binge-watchers. Working on this strategy allows these platforms to attract youngsters who are seeking entertainment on their laptops or smartphones.
OTT platforms are streaming services such as Netflix, Hoichoi, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. that offer access to a wide selection of movies, TV shows, and other content. This can have both positive and negative effects on the behavior and attitudes of young viewers as it exposes them to a lot of content which is not appropriate for their age. It also affects their social life as they spend more time on their devices instead of interacting with people.
Let us now explore some of the ways that OTT platforms impact young minds.
INCREASED ACCESS TO EDUCATIONAL CONTENT
The increase in accessibility of educational content is one of the main advantages of OTT platforms for young minds. OTT platforms offer a variety of instructional content to students, including documentaries, shows about education, and interactive games. This may keep learners interested while also enhancing their knowledge and comprehension of a subject.
One of the biggest benefits of OTT education is that as it is not physically dependent on the classroom, users may access it whenever and wherever they choose. When using an OTT platform for learning, a student can access previous information, pause a lecture, and take quick notes all at once. As students explore and absorb material more practically, educational OTTs also aid to increase memory retention and interaction. BYJU’S is an example of an OTT platform for education.
Additionally, OTT platforms provide young people with access to a variety of information. They may utilize this knowledge to educate themselves and improve their critical thinking abilities. They might become better educated citizens as a result and make wiser judgments.
FOSTERS CREATIVITY & SOCIAL SKILLS
OTT platforms also provide a platform for young minds to express their creativity. With OTT platforms, they can create content such as videos, animations, and more. This can help them develop their creative skills and explore different types of media. OTT platforms also provide a platform for independent young content creators to reach a larger audience. This can help them to monetize their content and increase their earnings. Overall, OTT platforms are an important part of the entertainment industry as they provide an avenue for creative expression, monetization, and reach. They can help young minds to enhance their creativity and help independent content developers to reach a larger audience.
OTT platforms also provide an opportunity for young people to interact with their peers and learn how to express their thoughts and ideas in an appropriate manner. This can help them develop their social skills and become more confident in their interactions. Additionally, these platforms can be used to help young people learn about different topics, such as current events, and gain knowledge about the world around them.
EXPOSURE TO INAPPROPRIATE CONTENT
One of the main issues with OTT platforms is that they can provide easy access to inappropriate content, such as violence, sexually explicit material, and other topics that may not be suitable for young viewers. Additionally, there is potential for young viewers to become addicted to certain shows or to develop a false sense of reality from what they are seeing on the screen.
While OTT platforms do have parental controls and disclaimers, these controls may not be enough to protect young people from content that is not meant for them. Young viewers are hence routinely exposed to adult themes like violence, use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs along with abusive or foul language, with other potentially damaging content.
INCREASE IN SEDENTARY LIFE STYLE
Another concern with OTT platforms is the amount of time young viewers are spending consuming content from these services. Studies have shown that young people are spending an increasing amount of time on OTT platforms, which can lead to decreased academic performance, socialization, and physical activity. A typical day in the life of a young person should include activities such as playing outdoor games, socializing with friends, exercising, and focusing on academics. All of these activities, however, get superseded by OTT media and web shows. Youngsters now tend to have have less time for personal connection as they are hooked on the online ‘binge’ content. Increased screen time can also lead to poor sleep habits, which can invariantly have a negative impact on academic performance, physical health, and mental well-being.
ADVERSE EFFECT ON MENTAL WELL-BEING
Too much time spent viewing content on OTT platforms might result in mental disorders like despair, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Such viewing habits can make young people feel lonely and disconnected from their surroundings. They may be unable to focus on work, studies, or other activities that call for concentration.
The mental well-being of youngsters can also be significantly impacted by the media they consume. They may become more aggressive and experience negativity if they view violent or unnerving content. Furthermore, excessively sexualized or content that encourages unhealthy lifestyles can cause body image problems and unreasonable expectations in young viewers.
RISK OF CYBER-BULLYING
OTT platforms can also be a source of cyber-bullying and other online dangers. With so many users and content available, it can be difficult to monitor what young viewers are exposed to. These dangers can include cyber-stalking, exposure to inappropriate content, online predators, and other online threats. OTT platforms, like any other online platform, offer an anonymous space for people to interact with one another. This can be a breeding ground for cyber-bullying and other online dangers, as people can hide behind anonymity and spread hate and toxicity. In addition, OTT platforms often have lax moderation policies, which makes it easier for trolls to post offensive and harmful content or even steal identities.
OTT platforms can also lead to a false sense of security and privacy, as many young people fail to understand the implications of their online activities. They may not be aware of the potential risks and consequences of sharing personal information online.
To ensure safety and security, it is important to create policies and regulations to govern the usage of these platforms, such as age restrictions, user authentication, user profiles, and monitoring of user interactions. Additionally, users should be encouraged to report any suspicious activities or content to the platform’s moderators.
The rise of over-the-top (OTT) platforms has allowed young people to have instant access to a variety of content, including films, television shows, and music. This in turn has allowed them to become more exposed to different cultures, stories, and perspectives. OTT platforms have also created a more interactive viewing experience, with the ability to comment, share, and even create content. This has allowed young people to become more engaged in the media they consume and become more active in their communities.
Yes, there is concern that OTT platforms can expose young minds to inappropriate content, such as violence, nudity, and profanity, which may be unsuitable for their age. Additionally, these platforms may encourage more time spent in front of screens, which can lead to a range of potential negative impacts, such as obesity, sleep deprivation, and decreased social interaction. To help protect children, parents should be aware of the content and features available on OTT platforms and discuss appropriate usage with their children. Additionally, many OTT platforms have parental controls available to help limit access to inappropriate content.
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