Homeland Security USA

Common Sense Media says

National security docu shares a little too much detail.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Lots of discussion about illegal activities, ranging from improper or false documentation to other, more serious crimes. Although racism isn't discussed, there are clear instances in which racial profiling (specifically targeting Arabs and Latinos) is part of the security precautions. Agents are both men and women and are primarily Caucasian.

Violence

Many agents carry guns. One incident shows guns being drawn on an innocent family. There are discussions of gang violence and weapon smuggling. September 11th and terrorism are mentioned frequently.

Sex

The smuggling of sex-trade workers is discussed.

Language

Words like "damn" and "hell" are audible, while occasional stronger profanity is bleeped. One detainee's obscene gesture is blurred.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Frequent discussions about drug smuggling. Illegal substances -- including marijuana, cocaine, and prescription pills -- and paraphernalia are shown. There are detailed discussions and images of the various ways these things can be smuggled across U.S. borders.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that because this reality series follows Homeland Security agents working at immigration checkpoints, border crossings, customs offices, and airports, confiscation of illegal drugs is frequently visible, and there are lots of discussions about the different ways to smuggle illegal substances and, at times, undocumented workers. Guns are frequently visible; in one incident, agents drew their guns and threatened an innocent couple in front of their children (no shots were fired). Words like "hell" are sometimes heard; occasional stronger language is bleeped. While there are no discussions of racism, some of the security precautions taken are based on racial profiling.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

HOMELAND SECURITY USA offers an inside look at the different ways the titular government department attempts to keep America safe. Each episode zeroes in on the different security measures taken by various federal organizations, including U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the Coast Guard. Cameras follow officers and agents as they attempt to stop illegal drug smuggling, intercept undocumented workers, and check for potential terrorist threats. Through it all, the Homeland Security employees offer their thoughts about their work and the impact they hope it has on America's overall safety.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The series is full of interesting and disturbing moments, with situations that range from the very serious to the rather absurd. Security incidents include everything from arresting drug smugglers and seizing kilos of illegal narcotics at the border to dealing with frustrated airline passengers at security checkpoints. Many of the featured incidents are also troubling, especially when ethnic profiling clearly factors into the security precautions and innocent people are unapologetically harassed and/or held at gunpoint (sometimes in front of small, clearly traumatized children) thanks to "glitches" the system.

While the show may offer a realistic portrayal of the day-to-day efforts to keep America safe, it offers almost too much detail about the different ways that people and contraband can be smuggled into the country -- including close-up images showing where and how various items can be hidden in order to make it across the border undetected. You also have to wonder whether the decision to share some of the ways the government is trying to keep the public safe, no matter how simplistic they may appear, is really a good idea. Bottom line? Watching this show may not make you feel safer, but it certainly has the potential to make you feel conflicted.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the media typically portrays threats to national security. How does that tie into issues like racial/ethnic stereotyping? Families can also discuss what wit would be like to work for the Department of Homeland Security. What kind of training must agents have in order to work for the department? What kind of dangers do people who work for its agencies face on the job?

TV details

Cast:Phil Crowley
Network:ABC
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of Homeland Security USA was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass