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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Reboot: The Guardian Code is a Canadian reimagining of the '90s animated series Reboot. It centers on teens who battle an evil computer hacker in cyberspace. There's a fair amount of violence in the exchanges, especially when the teens' target is an avatar like them. Expect punching, kicking, crashes, and weapons that stun and shock -- but no lasting injuries. Aside from that, there's little other iffy content, and even without a focus on teaching in the traditional sense, the show introduces viewers to technology concepts related to computers and coding. One main character wrestles with emotions over the recent loss of a parent, and another's attempts at fitting in with her classmates touch on social struggles that may be familiar to kids and could inspire conversations about peer pressure. As far as the Guardians go, the positive character strengths that landed them the gig in the first place are constantly on display in their efforts as a team.
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What's the story?
Four tech-savvy teens team up to battle a sinister hacker and the army of viruses he unleashes in cyberspace in REBOOT: THE GUARDIAN CODE. The adventure begins when Austin (Ty Wood), Parker (Ajay Friese), Trey (Gabriel Darku), and Tamra (Sydney Scotia) are summoned to their new high school's mysterious Room 0 on their first day and suddenly find themselves transported into virtual reality, assuming the forms of the avatars they use in a popular game. With the guidance of an avatar named VERA (Hannah Vandenbygaart), these predestined Guardians of Cyberspace match wits and strength with the shadowy Sourcerer (Bob Frazer) and his cybergeneral, Megabyte (Timothy E. Brummond), for the preservation of cyberspace itself.
Is it any good?
A new breed of superheroes debuts in this series that's full of action with the unusual twist of a cyberspace setting. Gamers and budding coders will most enjoy how it blends the traditions of superheroes-and-villains stories with a new generation of visuals, using the tricks and terms that technology makes available. Reboot brings humans face to face with avatars and, through a coding accident, brings avatars into the human world when VERA arrives in the flesh in the Guardians' school and lightens the mood with her ill-fated attempts to blend in.
It's easy to root for this unlikely group of teen heroes and to make note of how their shared experiences teach them about trust, friendship, teamwork, and their respective character strengths. The opposite could be said about the lurking Sourcerer, whose motivations aren't entirely clear but whose determination to disrupt and create mayhem grows stronger the more victories the Guardians log against him. With likable central characters (including a couple of girls who hold their own among their male counterparts) and a plot that incorporates and illustrates coding concepts, Reboot: The Guardian Code will appeal to kids with an interest in these STEM subjects.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what strengths they see embodied in the characters in Reboot: The Guardian Code, both good and bad. How do the Guardians commit themselves to teamwork? How does the entire group suffer when one member of the team is down?
Why do some of the Guardians embrace their destinies quickly and easily while others are more hesitant to? Kids: Do your doubts about your abilities ever interfere with your ability to succeed? How important is a willingness to try again after you fail?
Does this series do a good job incorporating coding and computer topics in a creative way? If your kids are already into these subjects, talk about how understanding them ahead of time affected their enjoyment of the show. If these are new concepts, are they inspired to learn more about coding? What resources exist for this kind of learning?
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