Growing Up...

TV review by
Andrea Graham, Common Sense Media
Growing Up... TV Poster Image
Conservation tales that pull your heartstrings.

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

Positive Messages

Addresses the importance of animal preservation efforts.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Conservationists demonstrate curiosity and empathy.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

Some discussion of animal breeding programs.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Growing Up... is a very family-friendly program that centers on the growth process of orphaned baby animals. Cute critters like grizzly bears and tiger cubs are raised in captivity in hopes that scientists will be able to learn more about the species (the other goal is to help promote breeding programs). Kids who watch will learn about animal reserves and how dedicated conservationists are working hard to raise awareness about the plight of endangered animals.

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What's the story?

GROWING UP... is a series of hour-long documentary specials that tell the stories of orphaned animal babies (most from an endangered species) raised by professional conservationists in reserves around the world. In each episode, viewers get an inside look at a preservation organization that rescues abandoned animals -- from grizzly bears and timber wolves to elephants and tigers -- following the triumphs and tribulations they face. Difficult questions are raised, including some about the effectiveness of the programs, the cost of maintenance, and the reality of conservation efforts. Viewers will learn a lot about the future of endangered species, as well as insightful and surprising facts about conservation programs (for example, there are more Bengal tigers in captivity than there are in the wild). Viewers will also get to learn about the breeding DNA collection programs that help keep endangered animals alive.

Is it any good?

This series does a fantastic job of examining the extinction of many animal species across the world and the attempts that have been made to preserve their legacy. There's no shortage of animal programs on TV, but Growing Up... could easily become a family favorite. It's hard not to get emotionally involved as you listen to the animal orphans' stories, watch them grow from little balls of fur into large adults, and witness the heartbreaking goodbyes when they're transferred to larger facilities and their surrogate parents have to bid them farewell. It's engaging and eye-opening -- a powerful combination.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the concept of endangered animal preservation shown on Growing Up... and how humans are both the problem and the solution.

  • How do people's environments affect other animals' habitats? How can people contribute to preservation efforts? How does other species' extinction affect humans?

  • How does Growing Up... promote curiosity and empathy? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animals

Character Strengths

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