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 reality series investigates alleged paranormal activity affecting children. Although the adults in the series express a real desire to help the kids, the show's eerie music and dark, shadowy scenes make it more exploitative than informative. The many conversations about ghosts, spirits, murder, and the occult may frighten young kids (and older viewers who are spooked by this sort of thing). The show includes footage of Christian rituals and prayer, often within the context of removing evil spirits. Mild language like "crap" is audible, while stronger language is fully bleeped out.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
PSYCHIC KIDS: CHILDREN OF THE PARANORMAL introduces viewers to kids who allegedly possess psychic gifts but are too young and/or afraid to understand and embrace their abilities. In each episode, three kids are brought together by medium Chip Coffey (best known for his work on Paranormal State) and Columbia University psychologist Lisa Miller to share their experiences and better comprehend what they're experiencing. During the retreat, the kids' perplexed and often frightened parents share their own thoughts and fears about what's happening. Throughout it all, the kids engage in various activities to help them hone in on their abilities while being validated by those who understand them.
Is it any good?
The series centers on the sympathetic idea that kids who demonstrate psychic abilities often struggle to find acceptance in a society that doesn't understand what they're going through. The kids featured on the show often share feelings of isolation and frustration as a result of being unable to talk about their experiences with others, which may resonate with viewers who feel different for their own reasons. Their parents, many of whom have spent years trying to find a medical explanation for their kids' behavior, also fear the social backlash that can result if their child is associated with the paranormal.
But while Coffey and Miller seem genuinely committed to helping the kids and their families cope with what they're going through, the series seems to exploit the youngsters' alleged psychic abilities for the sake of entertainment. The endless use of eerie background music and the many dark, shadowy scenes and random images seem intended to spook, rather than really educate viewers on what these kids are experiencing. Some of the conversations with the kids also appear rehearsed, and scenes are often stopped at specific points to create suspense. As a result, the kids' stories become less believable. But for teens who like this sort of thing, it makes for OK viewing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the media usually depicts the paranormal and its impact on kids. How do films like The Exorcist contribute to the way people think about spirits, ghosts, and the paranormal? Do you think shows like this one are intended to change the way that people think about paranormal activity, or is it just for entertainment? Families can also discuss how kids cope with feeling "different." How can we help stop kids from feeling isolated and/or inadequate when they're experiencing something that other peoiple don't understand (or even believe in)?