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TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
iCarly TV Poster Image
Interactive show raises social media issues for tweens.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 150 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 622 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

The show isn't designed to be educational, per se, but young viewers will learn a bit about interacting with media.

Positive Messages

While friendship is very important on the show and the characters typically learn a lesson from any iffy behavior, not every take-away is positive. Sometimes the characters make questionable choices that would have negative consequences in real life but are played for laughs in the show. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Carly is a strong, independent female character, but the characters do dabble in some negative behavior like making fun of peers (a form of bullying) and lying for personal gain. They’ve also been known to give out personal information on the web and air their personal grievances against others on their web show (a.k.a., cyberbullying). The only authority figure is Carly's 20-something brother who’s the least responsible of the bunch.  

Violence & Scariness

Slapstick-style wrestling, slapping, electrocution, etc. never results in injury and clearly is meant for laughs.

Sexy Stuff

Hand-holding, flirting, hugging, references to boobs, and other aspects of teen relationships are mild in nature. Rarely guys refer to girls as "hot" or question the basis for relationships between "popular" kids and "geeks."


Name-calling like "loser" and "jerk" is as harsh as it gets.


The series and its sister website promote each other. Characters encourage viewers to log on to the site to send in emails and videos for consideration for the show. And there's lots of iCarly merchandise, not to mention the fact that it helps Miranda Cosgrove's music career as well. The series has spawned a handful of TV movies and specials.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this semi-interactive tween comedy integrates with its partner website (iCarly.com), and the show’s format encourages kids' interest in checking out and contributing to the site. In other words, if your computer-savvy kids are fans, this is the perfect time to reiterate your family rules about Internet use and safety. The content is mostly benign, with language limited to some name-calling ("loser" and "jerk," for example) and a simplistic view of teen relationships, but the show does raise timely points about issues like cyberbullying, since the characters sometimes use their broadcasts to rant about other people.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7, 7, 8, 11, and 14 year old Written byChrist-Lover April 24, 2011

No good role models.

I find my children watching this all the time (Except my fourteen year old) and it is not appropriate. There are terrible role models. My younger daughters are... Continue reading
Parent of a 4 and 9 year old Written byconnielove93 February 8, 2010

Grow up parents!

Grow up parents, a little sexy stuff won't hurt your kids. I've seen worse in commercials. If anything you can use it as a teaching tool so they don... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old September 21, 2009

Crude, Rude, And Too Much Attitude

Personally, as I child, I have many issues with this show. Sure, Carly is a girl who can stick up for herself. The show gets one point for that. Sam is VIOLENT... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byzoogoesrawr September 13, 2010
Even as a 16 year old, I hurt for humanity every time I watch an iCarly episode. There have been shows like this before that used the same witty and innovative... Continue reading

What's the story?

ICARLY centers on Carly Shay (Miranda Cosgove), an opinionated young teen who lives with her artsy 20-something brother, Spencer (Jerry Trainor), while their father is abroad with the military. Carly stumbles into Internet fame when a video of her and her sassy best friend, Sam (Jennette McCurdy), gossiping about their peers is accidentally posted online and accessed by thousands of fans, who demand more of the hilarity. From off-the-wall stunts to their personal musings about teen life, Carly, Sam, and their friend/producer Freddie (Nathan Kress) are never lacking inspiration for their show.

Is it any good?

iCarly gives tweens the opportunity to step outside reality and live vicariously through the colorful characters' lives. Few rules exist for Carly and her friends, due mostly to the absence of a credible authority figure, and they've achieved stardom by taking their personal views to the uncensored airwaves. In other words, theirs isn’t a lifestyle easily emulated by viewers, but the fact that the show makes it so appealing is good reason for parents to do a reality check, reminding kids of the dangers of cyberbullying in particular.

That's not to say the show is all bad, though. Much of it is laugh-out-loud funny, it boasts a colorful cast of characters (thanks to a very talented cast) and it reflects the technological nature of modern social interactions. Tweens will relate to the characters and their realistic issues with friends, family, and school, and parents will be relieved to know that there's little content that's worrisome for their kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Internet. What kinds of things can you see online? Is it good or bad to be able to access so much information and content? How does the Web affect your relationship with other people?

  • What are some of the dangers associated with Internet use? Has anyone you know ever been bullied or otherwise mistreated online? How? What did they do?

  • Remind your kids that they should never say anything online that they wouldn't say to someone's face, and make sure tweens understand your rules for using the Internet, especially regarding uploading videos and providing personal information to any website. For more on Internet safety, click here.

TV details

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