Why I still love consuming children’s content at 19
I may be a working adult, but I still like to watch shows and read books meant for young children.
I’m a 19-year-old woman with a full-time job. I spend most of my free time reading memoirs, watching horror movies and using social media. But in my spare time, I also watch Pokèmon, read Roald Dahl books and play dress-up games.
I’m not doing this to entertain a younger sibling; I’m just a working adult who genuinely enjoys content meant for children.
Here are some reasons I indulge in books and shows not meant for my age group.
1. Reclaiming a lost childhood
I spent most of my childhood studying or reading books, and hardly ever watched children’s shows that were airing on television.
My parents would brag to their friends that I “never watched TV”, but truth be told, I just didn’t want to fight with my brother, cousins and grandparents – who were all much older than me – for the remote control. Instead, I grew up watching Chinese historical dramas and musical movies like The Phantom of the Opera.
Now, watching childhood shows is a way for me to “reclaim” my lost childhood. Instead of reminiscing when I watch childhood shows, I end up realising what I used to miss out on. I also get to learn new things about my old favourite characters.
2. Children’s books make me feel good
These children’s shows and books help to lift my spirits.
I tend to feel blue, especially after a long day at work or when I’ve finished a heavier show with a sad ending. Whenever that happens, I just want to relax with simple, feel-good content.
In children’s entertainment content, all problems are usually silly obstacles that can be solved by the end of the episode or chapter. The content is also more wholesome as it does not contain any gory scenes, tragic deaths or allusions to society.
With its nostalgic elements and light-hearted storylines, children’s content is the perfect way to cheer me up when I’m feeling worried or troubled.
3. Re-discovering things from a new point of view
While these shows and books are targeted at kids, they’re often written by adults themselves.
Often, these adult creators will leave jokes or references that are actually intended for older audiences, usually parents who have to watch these shows with their children. While those inside jokes may fly over the heads of the children, adults watching will definitely understand them.
I’m neither a parent nor a child, but understanding these references always makes me feel like I’m in some special “insider’s club”.
It’s also fun to analyse this content from an adult’s point of view.
When I read Matilda for the first time in primary school, I thought that Matilda’s parents – who treated her brother well, but would punish her for reading books – were just “typical villains”. I only realised recently that her parents were not only criminals, but also neglectful and abusive.
As I’ve studied some film theory, I also like to test my knowledge by breaking down the aspects of the film, from its overall production to sound design. Even if the movie is meant for children, being immersed in a movie and analysing it always helps me to appreciate it more.
4. Learning important life lessons
I may already be an adult, but I know I still have room for improvement.
Children’s books and shows can teach us things that we may have overlooked as a child, or things we completely forgot when we became adults.
When I started watching My Little Pony in secondary school, a few of my peers asked why I was watching “such a childish show”. While the show did feel juvenile at times, I managed to learn something I had never been taught: how to speak up for myself.
In Season One, Fluttershy – a soft-spoken pony who loves animals – was always meek and agreeable. As I was a doormat who had never learnt how to say no to someone, I strongly related to her, and she soon became my favourite character.
But in Fluttershy Leans In, when the other ponies were not able to fulfil Fluttershy’s vision for an animal sanctuary, she finally stood up for herself, earning the new nickname “Flutterbold”.
That episode taught my 15-year-old self that it was okay to stand up for myself and express my feelings when I needed to. Thanks to that “childish show”, I can confidently say that I’ve grown a backbone.
Adults tend to complicate many issues, but at the end of the day, a lot of problems could be avoided if we just implemented the things we learnt from these childhood shows – such as learning to be humble, having fun, and the importance of friendship.
It’s not immature to do things catered to young children, and you may end up learning more than you bargained for. While it’s still important to consume and discuss entertainment content meant for adults, it doesn’t have to be all that you pay attention to.
The next time that you’re feeling down or stressed, try treating yourself to an old childhood favourite show or book!