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 nigahiga is a comedy-skit and song-parody YouTube channel created by comedian Ryan Higa. Some of Higa's commentary and skits include social messages about issues such as racism and consumerism. The popular "I Dare You" series includes a dare game that he plays with other YouTubers and friends, doing things that may be dangerous ("I dare you to touch a hot iron") and some that are definitely gross ("I dare you to take your toothbrush and stick it in a toilet and then brush your teeth with it"). The dare videos begin with a written don't-try-this-at-home message ("The following video contains stupid and dangerous activities") as a disclaimer. Higa's language gets very close to profanity in some videos (saying the "b" in "bitch" and bleeping out the rest; pronouncing the restaurant name KFC "KF--k"). Higa also has a second YouTube channel called HigaTV and a book, Ryan Higa's How to Write Good."
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What's the story?
With more than 19 million subscribers, NIGAHIGA's popular YouTube videos are a mix of Ryan Higa's monologue musings from his bedroom set, song parodies, comedy skits, and series such as "I Dare You." Higa's comedy-laced commentaries include subjects from racism and book publishing to the Illuminati and censorship. His skits are often elaborate parodies (see "Musicals in Real Life") that include costumes and multiple actors. The "I Dare You" series is based on dares sent in by viewers and includes Higa's friends and other YouTubers.
Is it any good?
Ryan Higa's hilarious skits, social commentary, and song parodies on nigahiga are often incisive and thought-provoking. His rants ("niga" is the verb "to rant" in Japanese) about topics such as racism and paradox in YouTuber life have some serious insights embedded in the humor. On the flip side, some of his videos in the "I Dare You" series rely on gross dares and dangerous stunts. Many tweens and teens will love the disgust factor of watching Higa and friends lick a hotel doorknob or run full-force into a wall with an exercise ball. It's all in good fun for sure, but the weak disclaimer at the beginning of the videos isn't enough to let kids know they really should not try many of these dares at home or they could get hurt or sick. Also, sometimes there's an undertone of anger toward women in some of nigahiga's skits ("this is your F-bleeping fault," "stupid girls"), which is far from funny. But overall, Higa's smart, audacious humor is appropriate for teens and might just give them something to think about.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the "I Dare You" videos on nigahiga. Sometimes it's easy to think that something is safe if a kid (even a tween or teen) sees one of their role models doing it. Why does nigahiga include a disclaimer before these videos? Ask your tween/teen: What's your definition of a "good" dare? A "bad" dare? Tell them yours.
Watch and talk with your tween or teen about Ryan Higa's "Draw My Life" post. What lessons can you learn from his life journey?
Discuss the way Higa bleeps out swear words in his videos. Ask your tween or teen, does profanity bother you? Does it make a difference to you when profanity is bleeped, even when it's obvious what the words are? Why, or why not?