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 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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.
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