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 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
For kids who love Barbie
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.