A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Control Z is a Mexican teen mystery drama that features a range of relevant social themes, ranging from bullying to problematic attitudes about mental health, prejudices against the LGBTQ+ community, and others. There’s lots of edgy content, including strong sexual innuendo, simulated sex acts, partial nudity, and images of genitals. There's also crude references, and plenty of cursing in Spanish and English, including "f--k" and hateful slurs. Teen drinking and smoking is visible, too.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
CONTROL Z is a Mexican teen drama that follows teen sleuths trying to capture a hacker. Sofia (Ana Valeria Becerril) is a junior at El Colegio Nacional in Mexico City, where she is considered an outsider by her classmates due to a stint in a mental health facility after the death of her father. But Sofía isn’t afraid to stand up to bullies like Gerry (Patricio Gallardo), who loves to torment the shy Luis (Luis Curiel). But to her surprise, Sofía unexpectedly bonds with Javier (Michael Ronda), the son of the country’s biggest soccer star, after being assigned to partner with him in class. Making things more complicated is that Raul (Yankel Stevan) is interested in her, too.
Navigating high school is complicated enough. But when a hacker calling him/herself "@—allyoursecrets..." breaks into the school computer system and reveals classmate Isabela’s (Zión Moreno) secrets during a school video presentation, the observant Sofía, with the help of Javier and others, searches for the person(s) responsible. Everybody is a suspect, and everyone, it seems, is also a victim, making it difficult to know who to trust.
Is it any good?
This edgy series (which is subtitled in English) offers its share of teen drama and revealing moments as Sofía attempts to shut down a hacker whose extortion plot is wreaking havoc in their school. The vibe feels similar to U.S.-produced shows like Gossip Girl, thanks to the good looking cast and multiple love interests. But it’s the continual efforts to strong-arm people that drives most events. And adding to the tension, the majority of the adults in the school seem incompetent when it comes to supporting students or making good choices for themselves.
Like most teen shows of this type, the antics featured here can be a little over the top. Nonetheless, Control Z associates many of the cast’s secrets with relevant social issues that cross national and cultural boundaries, including stigmas associated with mental health, continued prejudices against the LGBTQ+ community, and the pervasiveness of bullying. It also reminds us how we create our own vulnerabilities by relying on cell phones and social media to help us make sense of the world. Overall, it’s a series that is entertaining, addictive, and has mass global appeal.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the messages Control Z sends about bullying. Why do the adults seem more concerned about the digital harassment taking place throughout school than the physical assaults and other bullying behaviors happening in real time? Why do people make these distinctions?
Is the hacking the main source of conflict in the series? How is this behavior used to address different social themes?
Does this show make any statements about the importance of empathy and respect? How do these qualities work to keep a social unit functioning? How do they benefit a community?
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