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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 even though the ghost hunters on this show are young (they range in age from 13 to 16), there's nothing juvenile about their chilling experiences at the reportedly haunted buildings they visit. Young and sensitive viewers may get scared by scenes of apparent ghosts moving in front of a camera, eerie voices picked up by recording equipment, and the cast's palpable fear. Older tweens and teens may find this same content thrilling, but the show will leave parents with a lot of unanswered questions about the reality of the teens' supervision on their late-night quests.
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- Kids say
What's the story?
In THE OTHERSIDERS, five young friends team up to investigate reports of paranormal activity. The teens -- who range in age from 13 to 16 -- select sites based on credible reports of ghostly encounters and, after some background research, head out for midnight investigations of their own. Using high-tech equipment like infrared cameras and voice enhancement software, the team gathers data onsite before returning to their lab to analyze it and determine the likelihood of an actual haunting.
Is it any good?
Don't be misled into thinking this show is for kids of all ages because of the youthfulness of its cast or the fact that it airs on Cartoon Network. Flashes of glowing figures and creepy recordings of disembodied voices are no less chilling for being witnessed by older tweens and teens rather than adults. The show's content is intense, and the teens are visibly frightened by what they experience. In other words, The Othersiders isn't a show for young kids, and sensitive viewers of any age might get the creeps, too.
What's more, the show's premise is a bit disturbing, as it suggests that thee five teens -- one of whom is only 13 -- are heading off unaccompanied on these late-night ghost hunts in abandoned buildings, junkyards, and the like. And, disturbing as that idea is, the alternative -- that the show misrepresents the teens' autonomy during the investigations -- sends just as many negative messages to young viewers about the reality of shows like this one. While the team's investigations are intriguing and their conclusions will certainly make you wonder about the spiritual world, this show is best reserved for teens and adults who can handle its content.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about paranormal activity. Do you believe in ghosts? What evidence exists for and against the idea? Were you scared by any of the content of this show? What do you think the show's intent is? Families can also discuss how technology allows ghost hunters to conduct investigations. What equipment can they use to record images and sounds not heard or seen? Do you agree with the conclusions they draw from what they find?