We are all spending a lot more time indoors, and with school and all other activities canceled until further notice, it is no secret that many young people are turning to screens to fill the void. While it is not ideal that so much time is being spent on screens, at a certain point it is inevitable that screen time will likely increase. So rather than constantly fighting a battle against it, set some healthy boundaries and then use this time as an opportunity to dive into some new conversations with your teens.
Talk about the shows they’re watching and sit down and watch a few with them. It’s a perfect opportunity to connect and share in the mystery of whatever they’re glued to. And, my guess is it’s most definitely a throwback show — one you’re already quite familiar with. And what better way to connect with your kids than to watch all of your favorite characters in their most iconic scenes all over again?
The hope for this blog is to open the door, just a tiny bit, for a better and deeper look into the world of your teens, specifically, a few throwback shows they are likely watching. Let’s turn back the clock a little and discuss what they’re about and what lessons they can teach us.
Friends (HBO Max):
Most parents are pretty familiar with the show Friends. But what may seem odd to parents is the devout fanbase behind the show, and the recent and massive wave of attention the show has gained. This sudden popularity has sparked due to many Gen Z-ers finding themselves relating to the celebrated 90s characters within the show.
For those who are unfamiliar with the show, it follows a group of friends who experience the trials and tribulations of life in Manhattan in an extremely comedic way. This is a great show to watch with an absent mind, and also poses an awesome opportunity to talk about certain aspects of the character’s lives with your teens. One thing that the show does really well is to explain the many facets of friendship, and at the core, communicates loyalty in a very messy but real way. Teens may be drawn to this show because they desire these same faithful friendships and loyalty within their own lives. Overall, the show teaches teens the importance of being genuine and honest with one another.
The Office (Netflix):
Some might say that The Office invented pop culture or more specifically, Michael Scott invented pop culture itself. And others may say that The Office invented its own kind of humor. But what almost everyone who has watched The Office can agree upon is that the show is mostly full of wholesome content. Even though their episodes are short, The Office is anything but ordinary and somehow manages to make you cry once in a while, laugh out loud way more than you intend to, and make you ponder life in the best way possible.
The show encourages viewers — your teens — to not sweat the small stuff and to be more understanding of people’s stories and situations. The show also hilariously teaches your teens how to evacuate buildings when there’s a fire and what bear is best, but the main takeaway is to never give up on love because in the end, that’s what we’re all called to.
Drake & Josh (Hulu):
The show, Drake & Josh follows two stepbrothers with completely opposite personalities. This show employs the most random humor, which is a huge reason why so many teens love the show. The show starts off with the two brothers constantly butting heads but eventually coming to terms with the reality that family is still family even if it doesn’t exactly line up with your normal idea of a family. It’s a great show to talk about with your teens because it really does exemplify the idea that families come in all shapes and sizes and that families are not meant to be picture perfect. In fact, the dynamic of Drake and Josh’s family is so imperfect that it makes teens feel more at ease because of how relatable some of their problems were. Drake & Josh breaks the mold of your stereotypical family and teaches teens that family comes first even if you really really really don’t want them to come first.
Similarly, to Drake & Josh, Victorious has a very specific type of humor which I can only describe as random. It follows a group of friends who go to a performing arts high school and somehow always get themselves stuck in extremely sticky and random situations. Although the majority of the show is quite unrealistic, the lessons the show provides are endless and very real. A great lesson to bring up with your teens is the lesson of consequences. In the show, the group always end up in odd circumstances that they ultimately and ironically get themselves into. This does not mean scolding your teen for not doing the dishes or taking out the trash, but rather using this show as an opportunity to talk to them about how every decision we make has a ripple effect. The show also encourages teens to truly feel comfortable with who they are and not be affected by the world’s negative commentary.
A complex show like Glee carries quite a legacy. The show is jam-packed with every life lesson and is known to bend the rules a few times. The show chronicles the life of a Glee club as they undergo the dangers of high school bullies, friendships, relationships, and our own inner critic. Every character has a different story and each character’s trials and tribulations are highlighted throughout the show. Glee emphasizes the dignity of human beings and stresses the need to be kind to everyone no matter who they are or what they’ve done. It also highlights the importance of forgiveness, accepting yourself completely and while doing so, loving yourself and loving others.
Without a doubt, there are countless shows that your teens may be watching but these are just a few shows that have been trending recently. While you can learn a lot from this blog, it is important to sit down and watch a few episodes of these shows with your teens before diving into conversations about them. It’s important to note that while most of these shows may seem different or even outright silly, they’ve caught your teen’s attention for a reason. Whether it’s because of the laugh out loud moments, the feel-good experience of a tear-jerking episode, or just a simple break from reality, these shows have impacted your teens, and it’s important to understand why so that you can grow in a deeper relationship with them. Hopefully shows like this will ultimately be the door to a faith perspective and how Christ can be placed at the center of it all.