On Children

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
On Children TV Poster Image
Black Mirror-esque show has universal themes, violence.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Family dysfunction, parental pressures, etc. lead to negative consequences. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Adults don’t always make the best decisions for the children in their society. As a result, children don’t make the best decisions for themselves. 

Violence

Episodes deal with a range of violent events, such as a teen getting hit by a car, suicide by jumping off a balcony, etc. but no blood. Corporal punishment and emotional abuse is visible. 

Sex

Teen romance is sometimes highlighted. One episode shows a Fifty Shades of Grey novel. 

Language
Consumerism

Local brands can be seen; Samsung phones visible. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol consumption sometimes shown. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know That On Children is a Black Mirror-esque Taiwanese series about tweens and teens coping with a range of social pressures and family dysfunctions. Some of the episodes are very dark, and include scenes of corporal punishment being administered, violent accidents, reveals of self-inflicted scars, and suicides. There are some teen romances, and one episode quickly shows a 50 Shades of Grey novel. Taiwanese brands are shown, and Samsung mobile phones are visible. Sometimes adults are shown drinking alcohol. 

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What's the story?

ON CHILDREN is a Taiwanese miniseries about young people coping with the sad, strange, or just plain weird consequences of living in a dysfunctional society. Each of the five installments, which include English subtitles, tells an individual story that revolves around children, and highlights some of the personal and societal pressures they deal with. From a mother using technology to access her deceased daughter’s memories to understand why she died, to a family whose course in life becomes connected to a private school peacock mascot, each story offers strong statements about parenting, education, peer pressure, and other things that kids might face every day.

Is it any good?

This creative and purposely thought-provoking series takes on a Black Mirror-esque quality as it tells stories that range from quirky to frustrating and sad. While the cultural foundations of these narratives are embedded in Taiwanese culture, many of the themes they address are universal, making the overall anthology relevant to this side of the world. 

On Children has a lot to offer, but some of the tales are decidedly better than others, and the storytelling style in each the approximately two-hour episodes sometimes feels too drawn out. Some viewers may not like the way adults, particularly parents, are portrayed here, despite the larger social context. Nonetheless, it’s an entertaining series for those who are willing to commit to it. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about some of the themes addressed here. What kinds of statements are being made about overparenting? Conforming? Peer pressure?

  • What themes or actions featured On Children contain are specific to Taiwan? How do the show’s producers ensure that Western audiences still understand what’s happening? 

TV details

For kids who love dark drama

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