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 the reality series Naked And Afraid features men and a women who do not know each other sharing a 21-day survivalist challenge without food, water, shelter, or clothes. Despite frequent images of bare bottoms (other private body parts are blurred), it is not sexual, and focuses on the challenges they face when trying to survive in extreme environments at a very primitive level. Animal bites and occasionally gruesome wounds are visible, and sometimes participants get sick or injured. Mild arguments and bleeped curse words are often uttered, often as a result of severe exhaustion and hunger. It's a bit intense for younger kids, but teens should be able to see past the nudity and understand the messages about communication, teamwork, and perseverance.
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What's the story?
The reality documentary series NAKED AND AFRAID features men and women who are complete strangers attempting to survive 21 days together in some of the world's most extreme natural environments without food, water, or clothes. Each episode features an experienced male and female survivalist who have been voluntarily dropped off in a remote area of the world, followed only by a small camera crew who are not to interact with them unless a medical need arises. After the duo meets and picks up a primitive map, hand-held camera, and the one object they've each chosen to bring with them on the journey, they must proceed to work together to find a place near a water source to camp and hunt and gather food. They must also find ways to keep themselves protected from the elements, as well as the wide variety of dangerous living organisms -- including lethally venomous snakes and angry howler monkeys. After 21 days of living together in the wild, they must make the difficult journey to the pick-up point. Once their experience is over, viewers are given information about whether or not their primitive survival ratings (PSRs), which were assigned to them before their adventure began, have improved as a result of their experience.
Is it any good?
From trying to stay warm in perpetually wet weather to not eating a single thing for five days due to lack of food, the survivalists push themselves as far as they ever thought they could during their primitive 21-day adventure. Significantly adding to the challenge is finding ways to communicate effectively, work together, and reconcile their personality differences in order to remain physically, mentally, and emotionally capable of making it to the end. But while this creates some tense moments, most of the show's focus is on the drama created by their natural surroundings.
Naked and Afraid sometimes feels like an odd laboratory experiment as we watch these folks develop a kind of forced relationship while losing large amounts of weight, getting sick, and reacting out of desperation thanks to becoming more hungry, hot, cold, and exhausted with each passing day. The fact that they are naked throughout the experience only underscores how vulnerable they really are in their surroundings. It's more voyeuristic than educational, but it still offers some important lessons about the kinds of things that can help you survive the wild.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about survivalists. What drives people to live in the wild or trek across remote regions of the world? Where do they get their training in order to do this? What do you think motivates the participants of this show?
Are shows like this one meant to be educational or entertaining? What can people learn from them? How realistic is it to think that people without survivalist training could survive in harsh outdoor living conditions with minimal resources?
Why do you think the producers chose to make the participants naked?
Who are some of the most famous wilderness explorers and survivalists portrayed in TV and films over the years? What special skills do they have?
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