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 AMAZE features short animated videos that explore topics related to sexuality, puberty, emotional health, and other matters prominent in the teen years. The content is graphic but not explicit (drawings show naked men and women with sketched breasts and genitalia), and actual intercourse isn't usually shown (though rabbits do the deed in one segment). Topics include masturbation, homosexuality, gender identity, contraception, and the emotional factors of being intimate with someone. Other videos focus on different common woes like bullying, online safety, and body image. While the frank content might not be every family's style, the overall message is one of self-empowerment, safety, and responsibility, often with emphasis on confiding in a trusted adult when questions arise. Please note: Our reviewers watch between one and two hours of content to determine the general appropriateness of each YouTube channel. Some channels contain more variety within their content than others; we do our best to capture the channel's overall subject and tone to help parents make the best choice for their family. We recommend parent co-viewing of YouTube content for kids under 13.
What's the story?
AMAZE is a YouTube channel featuring videos from Amaze, an organization that creates animated educational videos about puberty and sexual education. Topics of videos include giving and getting consent, getting your period, and knowing if you're ready for sex, as well as contraception and protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Others focus on general emotional health and personal safety during puberty and the teen years, exploring internet dangers, peer relationships, and nonconforming gender identity. The videos range in length from two to five minutes and use a variety of animation styles to illustrate what's being taught.
Is it any good?
These engaging teaching tools are great to have in your repertoire when the time comes for "the talk" with your kids and tweens. They present a wealth of information in visually and intellectually clever ways, serving as great ice breakers if broaching these sensitive subjects is a particular challenge for you or uncomfortable for your kids. The content is sound, the illustrations insightful without being overly graphic, and the topics compartmentalized in a way that makes it easy to pick and choose what your kids are ready for.
Besides the basic nuts-and-bolts sex ed and some quality videos that explore emotional topics like body image, bullying, and predatory online behavior, many of AMAZE's videos either touch on or discuss in depth issues that are less black and white, including contraceptive use, teen sex, consent, and gender identity. With social constructs changing every day, the videos address these changes as well; in some cases it's simple word choice (e.g., referring to "a person with a uterus" rather than "a woman" in a piece about birth control). The bottom line? These videos can be excellent learning tools, but parents may want to pre-screen to ensure that the videos' messages match the way they want their kids to learn about sexuality.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why it is important to have all the facts when it comes to sexuality. Do your kids find it difficult to discuss this subject with you? Do these videos help normalize the subject? How might not understanding how things work put you at risk when it comes to making important decisions about sex?
Teens: Do you know peers who are sexually active? Do you notice pressure to take relationships to the next level? How does what you see on TV and in movies influence what you believe to be "normal" behavior in this regard? What character traits do you look for in someone you like?
How do the other issues raised in these videos (emotional health, bullying, etc.) relate to sexuality and your identity? Do you define yourself or your friends by romantic relationships or lack thereof? How does social media make it more difficult to have a private life or relationship?
Themes & Topics
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