Netflix’s popular series Outer Banks features characters who are predominantly teenagers, so you might be thinking it’s the kind of show you could let your tween or teen watch. Or that you could watch with them, even. The quotable show, though, is actually quite dark at times. The first season, starring Chase Stokes, Madelyn Cline, Madison Bailey, Rudy Pankow, and Jonathan Daviss, features teens searching for a treasure, which sounds innocent — but they’re also being targeted by another group of teens who view them as beneath them. It’s a classic case of the Kooks (the rich kids) versus the Pogues (the not-so-rich kids). Plus, they’re searching for someone missing, presumed to be dead. Season 2 picks up after that and features much of the same adventurous chasing and even more violence and intensity. And because we’re talking about hormonal teens, there is some romance to be had. So, yeah, there’s a lot more to this “teen” show than meets the eye. Want help navigating it? You need an Outer Banks parents guide.
Because here’s the deal: Outer Banks is pretty enjoyable for us parents. It has humor, it has young love, and it has mystery. It’s a fun watch! And since Netflix announced a third season is forthcoming, your kids — especially if you have tweens or teens — will probably hound you about watching it at some point, if they haven’t already. But is it appropriate for kids? Ultimately, that comes down to who your kids are and what you feel comfortable with them watching. Your house may have different rules than my house, and your children might be mature enough to handle adult themes in shows.
Generally speaking, though, we can fill you in on details that might help inform your decision, like Outer Banks‘ age rating and what (if any) types of moments you might want to fast forward past.
Outer Banks Parents Guide
Is Outer Banks appropriate for kids?
Somewhere on the hype machine that is the internet, you’ve probably seen Outer Banks compared to a classic from your childhood: The Goonies. But The Goonies has a PG rating. The Motion Picture Association defines a PG rating as follows: “Some material may not be suitable for children. Parents urged to give ‘parental guidance.’ May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.” Outer Banks, on the other hand, is rated TV-MA. What does that mean, exactly? Outer Banks probably isn’t the best show for children to watch. Specifically, this show is rated for mature adults due to potentially “crude indecent language, explicit sexual activity, or graphic violence.”
The content in Outer Banks isn’t sexually explicit in nature — yes, there are some kissing and romantic scenes — but it does have some language that you may not want your children hearing. OK, it has a lot of strong language. If you’re an F-bomb kind of mom (my people), you may not bat an eye. But fully expect to hear everything from “f*ck” to “sh*t” and more, along with some sexually suggestive language. Plus, the show is intense and features risky behavior (think teenage drinking, drugs, skirting the law) and some violence. Let’s remember that it centers on someone believed to have been murdered and then further violence toward, well, a lot of people.
With all that said, you know your children better than anyone, and some mature preteens may be able to handle the show just fine. (One of our editors and her tween daughter watch the show together, and she just fast forwards through the dicier parts.) The two main things you’re watching out for here are language and violence, so if you have children who understand not to repeat foul language and that what’s happening on screen is fictional, they may enjoy the show. But if you have children who scare easily or who don’t do well with high-intensity shows, this may be one to skip.
Is Outer Banks appropriate for teenagers?
Again, though Outer Banks is rated for mature adults, teenagers may be fine with this one. The rating is due to violence, intensity, and language more than for sexual content. There is also significant drug usage and guns used, which can be troublesome for some teens. One way to be sure whether or not your child will be comfortable watching the show is to watch it through first by yourself to give you an idea of what to expect. Jot down a few notes so that you know what happens and when.
This gives you a couple of options on how to handle it: You can fast forward through anything you don’t want your teen to watch, or you can be prepared for any questions they may have about the content. The show contains interesting examinations of socioeconomic justice, sexual agency, domestic violence, and more, meaning there are plenty of conversation starters if your teen wants to talk.
Outer Banks thus far is only two seasons, so you should be able to get through it pretty quickly to check out if it’s something your teen or tween could watch (and you may even enjoy yourself along the way). And while this show does feature a lot of action and adventure, it’s something we think older teens could probably handle watching, especially if you’re at the ready for any difficult topics along the way.
Are there examples of inappropriate scenes in Outer Banks?
Here are a few examples of scenes parents may want to fast forward past if they watch this with their kids.
- There is a heavy make-out scene with petting between a teen couple. They stop before things escalate to sex or anything further.
- Sex is mentioned, and one character makes many sexual jokes.
- The boys usually walk around shirtless, and some scenes show the girls in bikinis.
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