Today’s generation, whether it’s children or young adults, is obsessed with gadgets. The teenagers, especially, are hooked onto OTT platforms, often leading to a serious addiction. Around four to five years ago, you would have found youth from this age group talking to each other, playing, or doing some activity together. However, today, they are all glued to their gadgets even while sitting together. You can see this everywhere—in malls, restaurants, on buses and trains. While OTT platforms are used by teenagers worldwide, India heads the list with an average daily usage of 8 hours 29 minutes versus the global average of 6 hours 45 minutes.
There are currently about 46 providers of OTT services in India, thus making this a huge market. This has also happened because of the changing lifestyle of the Indian consumer, and the availability of fast and cheap Internet services. No wonder then that web series are replacing daily television content. Many companies have invested heavily in regional content as well. Most of the youngsters, who binge watch online streaming content, set no time limits for themselves. They can watch their favourite series on any gadget anywhere.
This is closely related to a large amount of body dissatisfaction, academic loss, career loss, depressive symptoms, and low self-esteem. Lack of physical activity leads to a sedentary lifestyle. They ignore their social lives and their schedules also go haywire. Hence, obesity is on the rise. Increase in the intake of junk food due to media advertisements, which are also shown on OTT platforms. Sleep is affected due to long hours spent binge watching. Hence the incidence of lifestyle diseases is on the rise leading to early onset high blood pressure, high lipids, type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, PCOS, anxiety, depression, OCD, body image dissatisfaction, and many more.
Loneliness sets in as they have more friends virtually than in real life. Moreover, the dialogues and songs from a web series or movie on an OTT platform stays in their mind for a long time. The content, more often than not, also contains violent and gruesome scenes, and poor language. Watching violent and vulgar scenes also increases aggression among youth. Parents have no control over this, and whenever they oppose this binge watching streak, the teens become very aggressive. Parents must gently guide their children on the adverse effects of OTT platforms. Try watching some web series together and having open communication with the kids. Spending quality time with them will ensure that your children remain bonded to you.
Dr Paula Goel is a Mumbai-based paediatrician and adolescent specialist
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- FIRST PUBLISHED06.06.2023 | 01:00 PM IST