The teens of today faced judgment from their parents like every young generation. In my time (me being a member of the so-called Gen Z), watching TV was a vice, a cardinal sin of childhood and reading was a divine act. And I understand that the ''idiot box' can be distracting, but that is not the case if you have a balance.
Reading fiction is encouraged amongst kids until today because it introduces the child to new worlds, new cultures, and new vocabulary. And I did avail all these benefits reading a bunch of Enid Blyton and Ruskin Bond novels in my pre-teens, and a bit of Harry Potter and Shakespeare while growing up.
But at the same time, the entertainment industry has become so interactive that kids can be introduced to a new world with a new culture and language, through movies and TV shows too. While reading British classics by Dickens and Austen over months undoubtedly helped me feel more ''cultured' as a kid, but so did watching a British historical film like The King's Speech and it gave me the same feeling in just two hours! And this logic applies equally from the visual media from non-First World areas of the world.
With the generation that is even newer than me, even the television will die out. Now, Netflix and other online streaming platforms coupled with YouTube, open up children to new experiences, irrespective of where they belong. Yes, it's not just National Geographic documentaries that can help kids be educated.
A movie, a cartoon or a TV show can sometimes be more effective in helping you understand how the world is so diverse and sometimes, so same, be it the music styles, the heritage, the dressing sense of people on whom that pop culture might be based on.
Image Credits- Stranger Things (Netflix)
Obviously, with the boon comes the bane too. Because of the easy availability of all sorts of content online, kids can even get exposed to material unsuitable for their age (with violent, sexual, or downright problematic content). Still, there are developments underway to help set age filters for children, and effective parenting will play a significant role in this. YouTube already has such a screen based on your age, and Common Sense Media is a leading website through which parents can figure out the best content to recommend their kids.
Image Credits- Common Sense Media
So to put it in a nutshell, reading is a great habit to pick up but watching visual media shouldn't deserve the hate that it gets by elders when compared to reading. This format might hurt eyes when watched in excess but watch good stuff in control, and you're bound to open your mind and probably make it more creative.
Now a reader or a watcher, it’s up to you to be what you want. Here’s hoping that your parents understand that!