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Big Brother

TV review by
Lucy Maher, Common Sense Media
Big Brother TV Poster Image
Voyeuristic reality TV is iffy for teens.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 30 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Show themes include the creation of alliances, betrayals, and other typical reality show topics.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The contestants use devious methods to expel their opponents.


In some of the tasks, contestants end up with bruises and sore muscles. In one season, a contestant allegedly threatened another with a knife.


Some skimpy outfits; heavy, frequent flirting between the contestants. Some relationships have gone far past the flirting stage, all the way to sex (including oral sex and group sessions); while there's no graphic action or nudity in the primetime broadcasts, it's clear what's going on, and unedited versions are available on cable's Big Brother After Dark.


Words include "crap," "ass," "bitch," "slut," etc.


Product placement and sponsorships are frequent. Celebrities have come by the house to promote themselves/their projects.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking. Occasional excessive drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the contestants on this voyeuristic reality show are 14 adults who live together in a house. Their close proximity leads to various iffy situations, including excessive drinking and hooking up. What's more, the contestants manipulate each other (lying, flirting, etc.) to get a leg up on their opponents.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byM&M1995 July 28, 2014

Competitive reality series with iffy messages and controversial contestants.

Common Sense Media is off the mark with their rating. Big Brother is appropriate for tweens and up, and I only say this because most children under 12 I believe... Continue reading
Parent of a 7, 7, and 9 year old Written bymckmommy September 3, 2009

OK for kids

Yes BB has alot of things wrong w/it as far as concerns go like the arguing some not so good language drinking and skimpy outfits and flirting but hey they see... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 20, 2011


I am 12 years old and my parents and I watch this all the time. I started watching when I was about 5. Recommended for ages 9 and up because there is smoking an... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bylaurendouglass July 31, 2015

my favorite show!

This show is absolutely fantastic! For some reason, my parents think it's really innapropriate but it's not. There's some language, of course, bu... Continue reading

What's the story?

In CBS' BIG BROTHER, 14 contestants live under the same roof and vie for the chance to be the last resident remaining -- and to win $500,000. Under the watchful gaze of hidden cameras in every room, the contestants spend three months sequestered in their souped-up quarters (often tricked out with products placed by advertisers) completing challenges and scheming to evict the other competitors in a bid to be the last one standing. In the first season, viewers voted housemates out, but that approach was abandoned for a more traditional one starting in Season 2, when the contestants started evicting each other directly. The host is The Early Show's somewhat wooden Julie Chen.

Is it any good?

Big Brother entertains viewers with its scandalous situations -- Jacuzzi hook-ups, threats, etc. -- confessionals in the video diary room and, of course, the contestants' shameless cunning and guile. But while reality show addicts (and anyone who likes a good voyeuristic thrill) will want to tune in, ultimately Big Brother -- which features contestants frolicking in bikinis and canned personality conflicts -- fails to live up to its more intelligent reality-show peers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about healthy competition. Why is it important to be a good sport? How can you handle an opponent who doesn't play fair? Which of the contestants on this show play fair, and which don't? Is it OK to play dirty with so much at stake? Why or why not?

TV details

  • Premiere date: July 5, 2000
  • Cast: Julie Chen
  • Network: CBS
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: NR
  • Available on: DVD, Streaming

For kids who love reality TV

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