Your tween or teen wants to watch Stranger Things. I bet they’re practically begging. Aside from propelling a whole new set of young actors into Hollywood’s spotlight, the show primarily revolves around those young actors and their lives.
It can’t possibly be terrifying to a 12-year-old if it’s about a 12-year-old, right? Not necessarily. Is Stranger Things scary? Depends on who you ask. It’s up to you to decide whether your adolescent is ready to visit Hawkins, Indiana, and deal with Demogorgons, if you’re wondering if the series is appropriate for them.
After all, every individual is different. Children from the same family or friend group might have different tolerance levels for creepy things. One tween might enjoy a show that is totally inappropriate for another. My partner watches it. I do not.
Our tastes in shows are similar, but I can’t watch shows like Stranger Things without being scared crapless. This stuff traumatizes me. In spite of this, I’ll admit that I’m a giant wimp.
So, is Stranger Things scary? Is your kid ready to watch it? It is important to keep the following points in mind.
First, What’s Stranger Things About?
Stranger Things seems to have been watched by almost everyone in the universe by now. But what if you haven’t? Here’s the basic idea of the show, since we’re sure there are a few of you out there.
Hawkins is rocked to its core when a young boy mysteriously disappears in 1983. Everyone in the town is searching for answers after losing a friend, classmate, charge, or sibling. Soon, another person disappears. A new universe (The Upside Down) is discovered by the young stars – as well as their parents and the sheriff – in their quest to find their friend.
They are also confronted by a terrifying monster (the Demogorgon), and much, much more. It’s a wildly creepy and thrilling sci-fi adventure with a poignant look at teen relationships, angst, and emotions thrown in for good measure.
What’s the Stranger Things Age Rating?
Netflix Rating: TV-14
Stranger Things has been rated TV-14 by Netflix, the maker of the show. In other words, they don’t think anyone younger than 14 should watch it. It is true that not all 14-year-olds are the same. It was much more gruesome when I was 14 years old (I became a wimp later in life).
When my cousins were 14, they still covered their eyes during violent scenes in kids’ shows and wouldn’t watch Saving Private Ryan.
Parents also use Common Sense Media, which has three separate rating entities: experts, parents, and kids. Parents and kids agree that the show is appropriate for children ages 12+, according to Common Sense experts.
If you scroll down and read some of the reviews, you’ll notice that many parents have allowed their kids to watch it at much younger ages because they felt their children could handle it. A smart and brave preteen (age 10) and a preteen (age 11), both of whom are obsessed with the show, watch it every night. One of our editors and her 10-year-old daughter watch it together obsessively.
Fast-forwarding through content that feels too mature for her tween is all she does.
Is Stranger Things Scary, Then?
Gore and other unsettling elements aren’t exactly light on the show. Some monsters eat people, but there are also monsters that don’t.
Scenes with blood, violence, and, eventually, dead bodies will be present. The graphics department deserves credit for the series’ impressively horrifying visuals the Demogorgon alone (and don’t even mention the Demodogs) are the stuff nightmares are made of.
There are several scenes in which young teens are put into intense, dangerous, or even deadly situations. As a result, it makes for some emotionally intense viewing.
You should also watch out for sexual references (there are quite a few, but the sex is always implied, not explicit), profanity, and risky behavior (including smoking and drinking). While we’re on the “is it appropriate for my kid” kick, these things aren’t particularly scary.
Where Are the Stranger Things Jump Scares?
Aside from the spooky elements, Stranger Things focuses on other aspects of teen life in the 1980s. However, the Netflix series has some parts that scare the living daylights out of us, especially the jump scare scenes. We have compiled a list of jump scares your kids should be warned about.
Season 1 Episode 1
- In the early hours of the morning, a stressed and panicked man bursts through the door.
- Billy’s car is hit by an object at 00:45:44.
- 00:46:38 – Something speeds across the screen as Billy leans on the car.
- 00:01:29 — A man is grabbed by a creepy creature as the elevator door closes.
- Will sees a creature standing on the road when a sudden and loud noise goes off.
Season 1 Episode 2
- In the midst of an abandoned building, a screech is heard and Billy’s image is seen.
- 00:16:32 — Billy turns around and smacks Mrs. Wheeler in the face.
- A sudden flashback occurs as Billy touches his arm in the shower, and he screams.
So, How Do I Know if My Kid Can Handle It?
Watch Stranger Things yourself to see if your child, tween, or teen is ready to watch it. Your kids already know what they’re watching and playing. (Sorry, fellow wimps!) You know your tween’s ability to distinguish between fact and fiction.
Have you allowed them to watch any other thrillers or horror movies? Was it a good or a bad day or night? Your tween might not be ready for Stranger Things if he or she crawled into bed with you that night or if you still leave the hallway lights on for them.
You’re going to be fine if they’re already watching shows like Riverdale and Sabrina and dressing as Michael Myers for Halloween. The temperament of your child determines whether a show is too scary for them.
Although parents always worry that their children will be scarred for life if they watch, it’s unlikely that they will be. The effects of screen time on kids/teens are generally small, even when researchers find negative effects.
The site suggests that the most likely negative outcomes are “transient fears such as increased fear of the dark and strangers, difficulty sleeping, and nightmares.” Playing Fortnite or watching Stranger Things does not turn a happy, polite child into a psychopath or emotionally disturbed individual.
The film contains intense monster/slasher scares, as well as frequent death, peril, and gore. People are manipulated, possessed, and absorbed by genuinely scary monsters, and children and teens are brutally killed.
In terms of gore and other unsettling things, the show isn’t exactly light on them. People are sometimes eaten by monsters. Scenes with blood, violence, and, eventually, dead bodies will be seen.
The series grows up with slasher and body horror influences. Note: The following article contains spoilers for Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 1. Since its debut season, the Duffer Brothers’ Stranger Things has reigned supreme as the ultimate achievement in genre hybridization
There are some seriously terrifying scenes in Stranger Things, which sometimes remind viewers that the Netflix series is also a horror series.