With more under 21-year-olds signing up to popular streaming services, platforms like Netflix have released a wealth of shows young people can learn from. Shows are also becoming more diverse and inclusive, addressing important social issues such as LGTBQ+ equality, racism and politics.
Following a staggering 116% increase in interest for the search term ‘educational shows’ over the past 12 months¹, we’ve delved into the Netflix shows that young people can learn from the most:
1. Sex Education
The hit Netflix series, ‘Sex Education’, scoring an impressive 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and having 40 million viewers, addresses many social issues such as sex and health education, LGTBQ+ issues and mental health.
The series is rated an 18+ for viewers and is centred around a high school character named ‘Otis’, a highly anxious teen with a therapist for a mother. Many young people face challenges around sexual health, identity and mental health daily, ‘Sex Education’ normalises these challenges and makes them feel less alone in their struggles.
‘Hollywood’ is recommended for 15-year-olds and above, confronting social issues such as race and LGTBQ+ rights. This series is based in a post-World War II Hollywood, where a group of ambitious young actors and filmmakers will do anything to make their dreams come true.
A top review refers to the show as ‘funny, emotional and eye-catching’, giving it 4.5 stars online. ‘Hollywood’ is an important watch, as it highlights the problems actors and actresses face within the showbiz industry, even today.
3. Grand Army
‘Grand Army’ addresses countless social issues, including race, gender, immigration, sexual assault and LGBTQ+ rights. The show is rated 18+ and scores 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, having many positive reviews, often referring to it as ‘eye-opening’. ‘Grand Army’ gives young people a better understanding of how certain ethnicities are treated in the education system, and how to put a stop to it. With the recent unjust search of Child Q, this series is a must-watch.
4. Dear White People
Scoring a high 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, ‘Dear White People’ highlights key social topics such as race, cultural bias, politics and activism. The programme follows a group of students at Winchester University, a predominantly white Ivy League college.
The show is a must-watch for young people looking to understand these topics further, allowing them to navigate conversations with friends and family members who try and challenge their views.
‘Atypical’ is a heartwarming comedy series following a family with two children in high school, the main character being ‘Sam’, a teenager on the autism spectrum. The programme has four series and scores 87% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Autism is part of daily life for over 2.8 million people within the UK², with 1 in 100 people being on the spectrum³, ‘Atypical’ is a great show for those looking to understand autism more, or for those with autism, who want to see people like themselves on the big screen.
6. Breaking Boundaries, The Science Of Our Planet
Within this eye-opening documentary, David Attenborough is joined by scientist Johan Rockstrom as they both examine Earth’s biodiversity collapse and how we can avoid the crisis escalating in the future. The show is rated PG, allowing younger children to learn about the important topic of climate change. Rotten Tomatoes rates the show 58% and is labelled as a ‘must see’.
It’s crucial for young people to learn about climate change and the rapid effects it’s having on our planet, this may influence them to purchase more eco-friendly products and make positive changes in their everyday lives.
‘13th’, rated 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, is a documentary appearing in the Black Lives Matter collection on Netflix. With an age rating of 15, the show addresses social issues such as racial inequality and gives an inside look at the prison system in America. The programme gives young people a history lesson on racial injustice and the problems within the legal system, the ‘prison boom’ in America was a catalyst for greater injustice and set back any progress previously made.
8. Inside Job
During this documentary, young people can learn about the pervasive and deep-rooted Wall Street corruption that led to the global financial meltdown of 2008. The show addresses politics and economics, helping young people understand financial stability and political importance. Rotten Tomatoes rates this documentary 98% and highlights the importance of financial understanding.
With the rising cost of living, younger people will be hearing much more about the country’s economic status, so a basic understanding of finances is vital.
Rated 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, ‘Becoming’ joins former first lady Michelle Obama in a documentary looking at her life and hopes, addressing critical issues such as education, poverty, race and gender. The age rating is a PG, allowing young people to learn about these important topics.
Michelle Obama is also a great role model for young people, encouraging them to take a stand for what they believe in. Michelle Obama allows young people to have a role model, one who stands for so many amazing causes and may influence them to take a stand for what they believe in.
10. Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom
With the current ongoing war in Ukraine, this documentary is an important watch. The documentary has an age rating of 15 and follows 93 days in Ukraine in 2013 as peaceful student demonstrations became a full-fledged civil rights movement and revolution. This documentary educates on the dark history between Russia and Ukraine, helping to understand the current news of war in Ukraine.
Our conscious girls and boys are Netflix obsessed and are noticing some obvious changes in the content they’re viewing. It’s great to hear about the inclusive and diverse shows that Netflix is producing. We love getting asked questions about specific topics that wouldn’t be taught in a traditional school curriculum.
Topics including LGBTQ+ rights and history, racial discrimination, climate change and politics are crucial for young people to learn and ask questions about to ensure they have a complete understanding of the world around them. This allows them to shape educated and unbias thoughts rather than acting on stereotypes or stigmas, which are very common all over the world.
We hope to see more TV shows and documentaries being released throughout 2022 that address important social issues so that young people can see storylines that are reflective of their own day-to-day experiences.
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