A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show's nature encourages lying, manipulation, deception, and selfishness -- not exactly glowing messages. And producers sometimes encourage conflict in the way they structure the teams -- dividing them by races or age groups, for example. That said, tribes and alliances do work together in challenges and at camp, some contestants seem to rise above the show's essential greed, and some episodes' reward challenges celebrate world cultures.
Positive Role Models
Most contestants play by the motto "nice guys finish last." Some Survivors are sarcastic and make snide jokes and comments about each other; others have stolen from their fellow castaways, and secret alliances (and betrayals of those alliances) are common.
Violence & Scariness
Survivors frequently get mad at each other, but game rules prohibit acts of violence (though there have been some angry confrontations). Some seasons have included accidents such as someone falling in the fire or accidentally cutting themselves, but nothing too graphic. Some injuries during challenges.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some flirting. Occasional blurred/pixilated nudity when competitors bathe and/or start to lose their swimsuits during challenges. Some of the women wear very skimpy suits on a regular basis.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Strong profanity is bleeped out; words on the level of "bitch" are allowed and not uncommon.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Everything is sponsored, from challenges and rewards to "honors" given to various contestants during the commercial breaks. Brand-name cars, soft drinks, toilet paper, candy bars, and more have all served as rewards.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Survivors sometimes win rewards that involve alcohol, and sometimes they get tipsy. No underage drinking. Very occasional smoking.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this show's early success is largely responsible for the explosion of reality TV programming. While it airs in early primetime, it's not always family viewing: Survivors sometimes swear and like to "get back to nature" -- but you might too, if your clothes got as dirty as theirs. Producers will sometimes divide teams along controversial lines (race, age groups, etc.) to shake things up, and virtually every activity the Survivors take part in is backed by a corporate sponsorship. Bonds of friendship are made to be broken as the players struggle to outwit each other in order to win. No one is above back-stabbing a friend when $1,000,000 is on the line.
Is It Any Good?
It's not a stretch to call Survivor innovative and educational. The game requires contestants to learn and employ wilderness skills and work together, and each season takes place in a different part of the world, with the history and culture of the region incorporated into the show. Challenges test not only Survivors' physical strength but also their knowledge of local traditions and their ability to solve puzzles and problems. Terrific wildlife footage gives viewers a close-up look at exotic insects, snakes, spiders, sharks, tigers, alligators, etc., depending on the location.
As it has progressed, the series has wisely spent less time focusing on the Survivors' day-to-day ailments and more time emphasizing their social interaction and competitive ability -- which always makes for more compelling reality TV. Fans of the series will find plenty to enjoy in each installment, although some parents won't appreciate the fact that lying and backstabbing are so prevalent.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.