At what age would you let your child watch post-9pm shows like Love Island?

Once the 9pm watershed arrives, TV shows can become a bit more adult - but how old do you think a child needs to be before it's OK for them to watch shows like Love Island, I'm a Celebrity or grown-up Netflix shows like Stranger Things?


We asked over 1,4000 parents at what age they’d let their children watch post-9pm shows, and the most popular answer by a mile was over 12 (58%).


But we also know many kids around that age (and perhaps younger) may start wanting to watch shows on TV that are that bit more grown up than ones designed specifically for kids – and that you might not consider to be particularly appropriate.

Around the MFM office, we’ve thought of a fair few popular shows that children of, say, tweenager age, might want to watch that adults in charge may feel a bit dubious about – like Stranger Things on Netflix or even *gulp* Love Island on ITV.

But if your kid pestered you enough, would you let them watch these kinds of shows? More importantly: when would you let them?

What did our parents say?

1,427 parents were asked at what age they’d let their children watch post-9pm shows, and their most popular answers were:

  • Over 12 (58%)
  • Not sure  (3%)
  • 12 (10%)

When we probed further on the topic, many, many parents said they’d rather their children never let wanted to watch shows like Love Island

Love Island never – other post-9pm shows – it depends on the show,” said one parent.

Another commented: “Programmes are vetted still, so inappropriate scenes are not watched.”

What does the expert say?

When we asked Educational Psychologist Naomi Burgess for her thoughts on this topic, she told us that she thinks the TV watershed was and is a sensible idea, but, that sadly we don’t always have jurisdiction over what children watch, hear, or play.

“There is such a multiplicity of easily accessible media that it’s important to be creative in how we manage children’s exposure to those ‘unwanted’ aspects of the world,” she told MFM.

“While we will all have our own ground rules, my professional view is we need to share with our children our own parameters of what we think is right and wrong, safe and unsafe, acceptable and unacceptable.

“So, if and when, you watch programmes which are challenging, make sure you discuss them openly and frankly and remember to invite your child’s comments and views too.

“These discussions around images and sequences are where you can offer your child a secure and safe set of views; and it will also mean that they will know that they can always discuss anything with you.”

Image: Getty Images

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