Barbie

TV review by
Jenny Nixon, Common Sense Media
Barbie TV Poster Image
Doll-powered vids promote positivity and self-expression.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

Though a lot of the channel is pure entertainment (and a dash of consumerism), there's definitely some learning to be had:  video profiles on important female figures in history, such as Katherine Johnson; discussion of other cultures and traditions; videos encouraging kids to experiment with science, math, art under the guise of making lip balm and cupcakes.

Positive Messages

Notable focus on mental health, self-esteem, individuality, especially in the Barbie Vlogs subchannel. Animated fashion doll engages viewers in meaningful, entertaining discussions on important topics like dealing with bullies, how to process uncomfortable emotions like sadness and anger, and building your confidence by being yourself.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Yes, there's a lot of playing with dolls -- and plenty of videos where covetable new toys are unboxed -- but there are also videos highlighting real-life role models like Frida Kahlo and Amelia Earhart. Barbie herself makes a great role model and is given a surprising amount of depth and personality in her vlogs, which portray her as a multifaceted person with full range of emotions, who truly values her friends and family.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Obviously, Barbie dolls (and all the cars, dream houses, fashions, and accessories that go along with them) are hugely popular and collectible, and this channel is not without its commercial aspects -- the unboxing videos in particular. But the actual content seems geared toward entertaining kids with cartoons, live-action doll adventures, fun how-to videos, and amusing vlogs featuring Barbie trying out the latest viral video trends. Depending on how susceptible your kiddo is to product tie-ins, you may want to pre-screen.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while yes, there is commercialism at work here -- the star is Mattel's iconic fashion doll, Barbie, after all -- the famous doll's YouTube channel isn't just one long commercial for dolls and dream houses. Yes, there are plenty of videos featuring the brand's dolls and accessories acting out goofy scenarios -- and the full descriptions of the toys featured are always listed in the episode notes -- but there are also inspiring videos showing families and kids how to make things from scratch, like cardboard playhouses and novelty-shaped mini pizzas. The "Barbie's Vlog" subchannel is packed with great content as well, especially the videos focused on mental health and female role models.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjessiecolborne August 25, 2018

Surprisingly Positive

Despite the initial thought of these videos being dull and full of consumerism for Mattel products, these short videos are surprisingly positive and full of mes... Continue reading
Parent of a 14 year old Written by[email protected] August 17, 2018

What's the story?

BARBIE's channel is a real grab bag, offering a little something for everyone. Kids in search of DIY inspiration will enjoy the how-to videos showing how to make colorful craft projects and tasty snacks. The live-action videos showing actual dolls having all kinds of silly adventures will bring a chuckle, especially since you can see the human hands holding and jiggling the characters by the feet. Barbie even has her own vlog, which she uses to answer viewer questions, to try out the latest YouTube trends, and to let viewers get to know the "real" her, warts and all.

Is it any good?

Cynics may be expecting this channel to be a clever marketing tool and nothing more -- and indeed, it features a whole lotta pink and a whole lotta toys. But it's also home to some surprisingly solid content. The DIY videos are a fun diversion, and the doll videos can be unexpectedly hilarious, but it's the "Barbie's Vlog" subchannel that really stands out. In these animated shorts, viewers learn so much more about Barbie than her fave color or who she's hoping to ask her to prom (although yes, we learn those answers too). Barbie gets downright deep in her vlogs, giving advice on standing up for yourself at school and how to deal with your feelings when you're sad or angry for no apparent reason. Buddhist meditation and yoga are just two of the techniques Barbie uses to keep herself balanced -- critics may be shocked that she doesn't once reference shopping sprees or math being "hard."

The voice actress portraying Barbie in these animated shorts does an excellent job, and her affable demeanor and playful spirit make an excellent Trojan Horse for some truly important mental health messages. She also talks a lot about female role models -- her take on real-life astronaut/doctor/dancer Mae Jemison is especially fun, considering that Barbie herself has held all three of those titles over the years. It's refreshing to see the Barbie brand expand beyond blondeness and beauty, and the positivity and inclusiveness on display here is a real move in the right direction.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the various coping techniques Barbie discusses in her vlogs, such as meditation and writing in her journal when she's feeling down. What are some ways you deal with your emotions when you're sad or upset?

  • Barbie dolls have sometimes been equated with shallowness and fostering low self-esteem. In what ways does the YouTube channel seem to be working to fight that image? Do you think it is successful in its proclaimed mission of letting girls know they can "be anything"? How do these videos help support that goal?

TV details

For kids who love Barbie

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