Interactive show raises social media issues for tweens.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

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

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
Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Cast:Jennette McCurdy, Miranda Cosgrove, Nathan Kress
Topics:Book characters, Friendship
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of iCarly was written by

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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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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 always acting like Sam. I agree with ilovecookiez, Carly is a spoiled brat, always asking Spencer (who usually does get what she wants) what she wants. I've caught an episode where Spencer decides to actually act like a parental guardian and not let Carly go to a wrestling game. Then Carly goes on a rage, and chases Spencer around trying to attack him in some sort of way. Including bowling balls. How ridiculous. I thought Carly was fifteen or sixteen and this is how she acts? And Freddy's mom gets treated very poorly. Freddy moved out just because she was being overprotective. Now this I know will get my kids attention. Thanks, to this show, whenever I say "no" to my daughter (a 7-year-old) she acts just like Carly did in that one episode. There is no such thing as being overprotective, there are a lot of dangerous things out there. Freddy's mom is probably the only good role model that the show is promoting to be the bad guy. Another thing is that they CONSTANTLY use God's name in vein. They also talk about boobs a lot (but not as much now it's just bra). Still not age appropriate. I recommend not watching this until your twelve or thirteen unless they take role models. Also, did you notice how ungrateful they were in iDo? Goodness! Instead of being happy for getting invited to a wedding and even becoming BRIDESMAIDS (and the special man, or whatever it's called) they start whining like they have nothing good in their life and start complaining about singing or how the outfits were ugly, which, by the way, were very nice clothes, and I'm pretty sure were very expensive. I swear, if people acted like that at my wedding, I would've told them how much money I spent on this, and I would've told them to get out without a doubt. Gosh, this show makes me want to cuss a paragraph, and I never cuss! Also, those girls cyberbully. Every single time someone treats them badly (which they don't seem to notice that they're treating even WORST) they talk trash about them on their popular web show. Just let it go for crying out loud. I'm sorry this world isn't filled with rainbows and butterflies. What? Do you want Spencer to fix that too? Unbelievable! Also, 8-year-olds are not tweens. 10-12 year olds are. Sorry for the misspellings before, I type way too fast!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Parent of a 6 and 10 year old Written byhintonrae August 9, 2009

Okay for older kids, absurd for 8 yr olds

I'm very concerned about the amount of kissing, the bra waving, and boob references that occur in this show for tweens, and think that the preponderence of such is definitely sending the wrong message. Already in middle school kids are feeling very pressured to explore their sexual sides in negative ways; this just emphasizes the necessity for doing so. The idea that it's okay for 8 yr olds to start watching and getting these ideas at this age is absurd.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much consumerism
Educator and 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't ask their friends at school. I'm sure a six year old won't understand what a hobknocker is. You can just tell them not to repeat it and teach them something about bad language. Sam may be a little violent but she does stand up for herself, and in this world you can't be a pushover. Parents tend to overlook the good aspects of things, this show is funny and teaches kids about expressing themselves in various ways.I let my child watch it because I watch it with her and explain to her like this, if you do these things in the real world you will get real world consequences. :)
What other families should know
Great messages


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