A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this podcast.
The advice is usually related to social-emotional learning. The hosts and guests model how they would react to different situations, like a friend asking them to share gossip or a crush rejecting them. Listeners are advised to go to an adult in certain situations, like when very troubling rumors are being spread. Some data and research is used to back up viewpoints, like the episode on puberty where an expert comes on to talk about body changes and brain development.
Emphasis on maintaining healthy friendships, communicating your feelings, and being empathetic. The importance of self-care and mental health is also discussed. Advice about how to be kind even if you're not interested in a person who has a crush on you, and how to handle rejection and move forward. Sometimes the hosts and guests have different opinions so the message can get confused, but it also shows how different perspectives can exists peacefully. Helps young tween and teen girls feel comfortable with their bodies and the changes that come with puberty.
Positive Role Models
The hosts and their guests model positive interactions and role-play situations like a friend asking you to divulge a secret that you are keeping for someone. We hear from young actresses about how everyone struggles with similar issues regardless what's portrayed on social media. They share how they've worked through anxiety, depression, or low self-confidence. Some experts are brought on to talk about important topics like puberty and to dispel misinformation.
The hosts are sometimes joined by guests (usually young actresses) of different ethnic backgrounds. The show does fall into some stereotypes about girls, like the assumption that all girls enjoy drama and like to gossip. Empowering for young women. One episode that discusses puberty talks about how shaving, bras and other aspects of handling puberty is often a cultural decision.
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Violence & Scariness
Discussions about mean behavior, toxic friendships, and bullying. Focus is on how to handle these situations in a positive way. There are also some surface level conversations about depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Topics include crushes, relationships and handling rejection.
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Products & Purchases
Episodes are based on and promote the American Girl Smart Girl's Guide books. There are multiple mentions of the books in each episode, with hosts frequently referring to the good advice in the books and how we're lucky that the book series is out there.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that American Girl: The Smart Girl's Podcast is an advice podcast geared toward tween and teen girls, which covers topics like friendship drama, self-confidence, crushes, and mental health. The show is hosted by actress Shay Rudolph (The Baby-Sitter's Club) and brand consultant and cultural expert Jess Weiner. It's a very positive show with messages around empathy, being a good friend, remaining true to yourself, and handling conflict. The podcast encourages open and honest communication about common topics and challenges girls and young women experience in their tween and teen years. There can occasionally be stereotypical statements about girls loving gossip and drama, but for the most part the show models empowerment and support and features diverse guests and experts. Difficult topics like mental health challenges and puberty are talked about in a relatable and digestible way. The podcast is based on the American Girl The Smart Girl's Guide books, and there are frequent references to the books and using them as a reference. The podcast itself encourages kids to listen with a trusted adult and use the show to spark important conversations.
Is It Any Good?
This is an upbeat podcast offering advice that can be helpful to tween and teen girls. American Girl: The Smart Girl's Podcast addresses subjects that the target audience will definitely have questions about, like the transition to middle school or developing a crush for the first time. The show's guests are sure to be a draw as well. There are many positive messages and tidbits contained in the episodes, like how it's okay to not have a crush, or how you can show small random acts of kindness when starting a new school.
In the episode "Drama, Rumors, and Secrets," the hosts say that girls like drama and love to gossip, which pushes an outdated stereotype. Some listeners may be put off by these generalizations, and not all girls will relate to the depiction of girlhood in this podcast. Another issue is that the podcast sometimes feels like an infomercial for the American Girl Smart Girl's Guide books. While it's understandable that the books will be mentioned, they're praised so often that it can distract a little from the conversations.
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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.
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