Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars

  • Review Date: March 25, 2010
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Literary heroine learns about privacy, bullying in TV movie.
  • Review Date: March 25, 2010
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Specific lessons in context about making good choices around media/Internet use. Kids learn the dangers of exploiting people’s weaknesses for personal gain. The movie also illustrates how peer pressure can have negative effects on moral judgment and self-esteem, interfere with true friendship.

Positive messages

The movie promotes strong messages about privacy issues, as Harriet learns that invading someone’s privacy can have far-reaching negative results. It also deals thoughtfully with issues like peer pressure and the tenuous nature of communication between kids and parents.

Positive role models

Harriet’s parents are mostly out of touch with their daughter, but her nanny is a positive role model who often acts as a moral compass when Harriet goes astray. Harriet often makes bad decisions for selfish reasons and winds up hurting other people, but she takes responsibility for her actions and tries to make things right -- learning a lesson in the process.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff

Teen girls swoon over a handsome actor and talk about him being "hot."

Language

Sporadic use of “idiot” and “shut up,” but nothing stronger.

Consumerism

Fans of the movie might be inspired to pick up the books that inspired it (but that’s not really a bad thing, is it?).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Harriet’s brand of spying often borders on voyeurism and crime, since she breaks into hotel rooms, steals, and uses electronic sound equipment and her camera phone to dig up dirt on a teen heartthrob she’s trying to defame. Though content like this is typically worrisome for kids and tweens, within the context of the movie it illustrates important points about privacy and the dangers of using the Internet (or other media) to bully or embarrass someone (since Harriet eventually learns from her mistakes). Similarly, Harriet’s troubles with peer pressure, family, and friends speak to the importance of communication and respect -- themes that young viewers will be hard-pressed to miss.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Harriet “The Spy” Welsch (Jennifer Stone) has big plans for this year’s class blog, but to get the coveted position, she has to beat out popularity queen Marion Hawthorne (Vanessa Morgan) in a month-long blog contest. Hoping to entice readers, she sets out to dig up dirt on Skander Hill (Wesley Morgan), the hunky, but self-absorbed star of her father’s new movie. As pressure mounts for her to deliver the goods, Harriet begins to bend her own moral rules as a writer, and things soon start to spiral out of control, costing her her two best friends and threatening her father’s job. Eventually Harriet must reassess her responsibilities as a writer -- and her own personal value system.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

HARRIET THE SPY: BLOG WARS gives Louise Fitzhugh’s long-loved literary character a fresh look for modern kids and tweens, and Harriet’s ensuing adventures won’t disappoint her new viewers. Even better than its sheer entertainment value is the movie’s masterful method of packing lots of positive messages about friendship, peer pressure, communication, family bonds, and privacy issues into the family-friendly plot.

While there’s no iffy content that necessarily rules it out for youngsters, the movie’s exploration of voyeurism and Internet bullying could easily be taken out of context since most of the movie shows Harriet riding a wave of popularity from her exploitation of Skander Hill. It’s only at the very end that her dishonest actions catch up with her and force her to reassess her actions, so it’s important to make sure kids and tweens grasp the dangers of this type of behavior. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can discuss privacy issues. Why is privacy such a big deal? Do celebrities have less rights to privacy than average citizens because of their star status? Why or why not? Where can you expect privacy? In what situations do you expect to forfeit privacy?

  • What does “cyberbullying” mean? How has technology changed the nature of how we relate to each other? Do tools like blogs or social networking websites make it easier to pick on people? If so, how? How does freedom of speech interfere with people’s right to privacy?

  • Tweens: What do you want to be when you grow up? What special skills or knowledge will you need to do the job? How will you hone those skills? In what ways are you practicing them now?

Movie details

DVD release date:September 28, 2010
Cast:Jennifer Stone, Vanessa Morgan, Wesley Morgan
Director:Ron Oliver
Studio:Vivendi
Genre:Family and Kids
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 5 and 8 year old Written byblissful June 14, 2010
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Selfish spoiled brat commits crimes, then gets her way in the end. WHAT??

This movie gave the wrong message to our kids. Harriet is obsessed with her level of "coolness" and she lies, cheats, steals, breaks in to buildings, and causes her father to lose his job. She is self-involved and treats everyone horribly, and in the end, everyone essentially forgives her in spite of the fact that she barely apologizes. She even ends up being rewarded with the position of "school blogger" at the end of the movie. We had to have a long talk with our kids about all of the messages in this movie, and why what Harriet did was unsafe, cruel, and very illegal, and how she should have been punished for what she did, rather than rewarded. On the bright side, it gave us a chance to have this conversation, but we didn't think we'd have to given that it was on the Disney channel. Very disappointed.
Kid, 11 years old August 15, 2010
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

stupidest of all the stupid stuff there is.

this movie is just plain out stupid.
Teen, 16 years old Written byswallowtear February 21, 2011
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

You Can Watch Something Better

Honestly, I thought this was on the wrong foot from the minute I heard the casting. I love the main actress, but I felt she had way too much perk for the character (basing only on the original movie.) While the original movie had its dark moments, I never felt disgusted by the fact that I was supposed to like and relate to these people. Especially during moments when the main family is interacting with their staff, I catch myself thinking that they're horrible people. Plus, a lot of the plot points it lifts from the original no longer make sense because of the updated age. Like Harriet losing her nanny. She's, at the lowest estimation, in 8th grade? Grow up Harriet. The plot has a few good points that I can enjoy. She doesn't fall in love with him, and they aren't interested in one another. On its own, this movie is bad. Compared to the original movie? This movie is awful.

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