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 featured teens come from very affluent, sometimes well-known families. Budgets for the parties can run anywhere from $10,000 to $500,000. It's hard to know how we're supposed to feel about these kids. Should we want to be them? Hate them because they're rich? Feel sorry for them because of their crazy parents and lack of limits? Few of the kids seem grateful for their priveleged life. The show also creates unrealistic aspirations for teen viewers.
What's the story?
Is it any good?
Everything in this show is over the top. One mom took her daughter to Paris to shop for a dress, while the dad of teen boy hired a team of sexy dancers, later claiming to have spent a total of $250,000 for the big bash. Parents who are well connected can make real impressions on their teens' classmates (Kanye West and Ciara have appeared on the show and performed at parties). Of course, it's not all glitter and glamour. One mom drinks heavily, and it's unclear if her daughter's father will even show up. Another father is majorly intense, telling his son it's "pathetic" when only five kids RSVP for his party. (Later his stepmother bribes girls to attend by giving them free clothes from her chic boutique.)
It's hard to imagine exactly what this show's point is. It can be fun to gawk at the riches -- and at the bad behavior of both the kids and parents. But there are disturbing messages throughout. Are these teens more popular now that they've given a great party? Have they already gotten the idea that women can be bought? Will they expect/demand that celebrities appear at all their social events, since their families are well connected? All in all, like many MTV products, My Super Sweet 16 is both disturbing and addictive. The message it sends to teens is a mix of "look what I have" and "don't you wish you were here?"
Talk to your kids about ...
Familes can talk about the complicated message the show is sending. Ask your kids: How does it make you feel? Would you want to trade lives with any of these teens? Do you think they're happy after their party? Does this make you want to have a party of this scale? Would you be happy/content having one within your family's means?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.