I Survived...

Harrowing true stories exploit instead of inspire.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

It feels like the show is exploiting the drama of the survivors' escapes, rather than providing viewers with concrete information on how to stay alive in a similar situation. There are occasional references to spirituality and Christianity -- usually in relation to finding the strength and/or wisdom necessary to survive. Survivors are both male and female and from various class, racial, and ethnic backgrounds.


Survivors calmly describe the violent acts committed against them in almost excessive detail. These attacks include shootings, stabbings, and beatings and usually include accounts of blood dripping or spurting out of wounds. Hostages describe being held at gunpoint. Pictures are occasionally shown of some of the survivors' gruesome injuries. Sexual crimes like rape are also referenced, although the specific assaults aren't described in detail.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Survivors sometimes describe their attackers as acting drunk or high -- and some of the written descriptions accompanying the survivors' verbal accounts confirm that some of the perpetrators were indeed high on illegal substances, including crack cocaine, when committing the crimes.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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.

TV details

Cast:Sally Howell
Network:Biography Channel
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG

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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.

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Teen, 16 years old Written bybrandi253 October 13, 2010
age 13+
this show is really sad sometimes but its so good. :D
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old September 19, 2010
age 14+

don't know

sad,very sad some said they had faith or lots of hope
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Teen, 14 years old Written bydr duck April 3, 2011
age 14+

Scary show is 100% not for kids.

This show has no reenactments. Which may seem a bit safer. No. This show is extreme. There is also barely any censor (S--t gets uncensored and f--k they change to uck.)
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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