A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The series is very pro-military service and offers lots of reasons for joining the army, including the need to defend the nation, having a team to work with, and having an advantage in the job market after leaving active service. It also highlights the skills that make a good soldier, as well as how the military takes care of its own.
Positive Role Models
The soldiers are respectful and are proud of what they do, and consider themselves family. Some potential recruits are talented and committed to the challenges posed to them; others are not.
Violence & Scariness
Combat and training weapons and vehicles are visible. The ability to kill the enemy is highlighted as a positive thing. Machine guns are shot at targets. Simulations include soldiers looking severely wounded. Concerns about safety are raised by family members of potential recruits.
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Words like "s--t" are bleeped.
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Products & Purchases
This is a barely disguised recruitment series for the U.S. Army. Skype is featured as a way the soldiers communicate with family members.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Starting Strong, which airs on YouTube and some Fox stations, is a recruitment tool for the U.S. Army presented as a reality series. The series highlights the many benefits that the U.S. Army offers, as well as the skills necessary for being a good soldier. Military weapons are visible (and sometimes deployed in training sessions), and strong vocab ("s--t") is bleeped. Kids with an interest in the military will be drawn to it, but some of the show's content may be too intense for younger tweens. Parents might want to make sure young viewers understand the intent of the series, since it might not be clear that the U.S. Army is producing the series.
Is It Any Good?
Starting Strong, which is produced by actor Ricky Schroder and airs on You Tube, offers viewers a unique behind-the scenes look at what life is like as a soldier after boot camp. It underscores the kinds of traits that make a good soldier, and highlights the positive ways that joining the military has changed people's lives. It also notes how the skills developed in military service can open doors for soldiers once they return to civilian life.
It's presented as a reality show, but the series is really a thinly disguised modern-day recruitment video produced in part by the U.S. Army. Nonetheless, those who are interested in the military will find it interesting, while others may find the messages it offers about hard work, honor, teamwork, and patriotism inspiring.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.