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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 this intense series features real people describing how they survived scary, life-threatening situations -- including freak accidents, natural disasters, and violent crimes. Some of these stories are rather exploitative, with detailed accounts of stabbings, shootings, and kidnappings and references to rape. Graphic pictures of gruesome injuries are sometimes shown. Many of the stories are too violent for tweens and may be too disturbing for sensitive older viewers as well.
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What's the story?
I SURVIVED…is a docu-reality series that tells the harrowing stories of people who've faced life-threatening moments and lived to tell about them. Victims of freak accidents, natural disasters, and violent crime narrates these events in their own words, offering often-harrowing details about their will to live and how they managed to defy death.
Is it any good?
While each story is one of survival, the series' focus is more on what each person painfully endured while trying to stay alive. Some survivors offer dreadful details about the massive wounds they received as the result of a bizarre accident, while others describe what it was like to avoid succumbing to sub-zero temperatures, shark-infested waters, or poisonous gas. But the most horrific accounts are definitely those of the crime victims, who calmly but emotionally describe how they were beaten, stabbed, shot, and/or taken hostage. While they describe these frightening moments, they also talk about how their families (and, sometimes, their religious beliefs) gave them the strength to fight for their lives.
Although each of these stories is dramatic its own right, I Survived... plays up the drama with eerie music as the survivors tell their tales. It also purposely interrupts the stories at particularly climatic moments, making the show seem like a collection of well-orchestrated cliffhangers rather than a description of terrible events. As a result, the show feels rather exploitative. It also fails to offer viewers any concrete advice about how to survive if confronted with a similar situation. Some adult viewers will undoubtedly be fascinated anyway, but the content is often too violent and/or too intense for young and more sensitive viewers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about TV shows that focus on survival stories. Do shows like this one teach actual survival skills? If not, what do you think the producers' goal is? Families can also discuss how survivors cope after being a victim of violent crime. Does media coverage of these kinds of events help or hamper someone's recovery? Parents, talk to your kids about protecting themselves if facing a similar situation without frightening them. Check out CSM's Parent Tips for ideas on how to use the media to teach kids.