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 younger kids and even sensitive early graders may be frightened by some of the show's creepy stories of hauntings and homicides and spooky sound effects. Other than that, there's not really any specific content to object to for any age, so it's up to you to know your kids and decide whether they're ready for even the mildest ghost stories.
What's the story?
In GHOST TRACKERS, middle schoolers compete for the title of top tracker by investigating supposedly haunted places on their own, armed with the most sophisticated "ghost tracking technology." Alone (except for the previously hidden cameras) in the haunted house/lighthouse/inn, they measure changes in temperature and electromagnetic fields while some of their fellow trackers watch and rate their performances. Competition follows a standard bracket/elimination process, although wild-card trackers with high scores have the opportunity to jump back in during later rounds.
Is it any good?
Overall, the show is a pretty amusing junior twist on Survivor. The contestants are old enough to be savvy to the competition and the need to play up their paranormal experiences -- but too young to be particularly good at either. Even younger kids will be able to see through them as they fake sensing the supernatural, or, better yet, try to hide their genuine fear. With the host feeding them scary stories through their headsets while they're alone at night in a strange place, even the most confident get a little wobbly at times.
Some kids will be frightened, either by the show's atmosphere -- sound effects and spooky music accompany the host's every word -- or by the stories of the hauntings. Others will just get a pleasurable chill or two. Parents may wish for a little more discussion of the series' "scientific" ghost tracking methods (what does a change in temperature really prove, anyway?), and the competition isn't always on equal footing -- some locations just come with scarier stories than others. But overall, this is a fun family show for middle graders and up.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why the kids who participate in the show get involved. Can you tell which ones are really interested and which might just be looking for their "big break"? Families can also discuss the nature of the competition and the show's voting process. Can you tell which kids are playing for the camera, or perhaps exaggerating their experiences? Do you think there might be some reason other than ghost tracking that some contestants cast their votes?