Can children watch Stranger Things?

The popular horror series on Netflix stars children and young people, but that does not necessarily make it suitable for young viewers.

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With four seasons on Netflix, Stranger Things has got great popularity. Chances are high that your child has caught a clip or two on TikTok or YouTube or heard friends talking about the TV series.

As with the Harry Potter movies, Stranger Things may appeal to young viewers, partly because the main actors are children who mature in line with the series’ four seasons released so far. Actress and main character Millie Bobby Brown, for example, was 12 years old when the first season was filmed (pictured above).

What is Stranger Things about?

A little boy disappears in the American small town of Hawkins. It eventually turns out that he is trapped in an underworld filled with monsters and other dangers. A group of childhood friends and a handful of adults must therefore work together to get him back again.

One of the heroes, the mysterious girl named Eleven – possesses supernatural abilities and a motley past. At the same time, she is the group of friends’ strongest weapon in the face of evil. Throughout the four seasons, we follow the group’s downs and ups while encountering an escalating evil.

What is the Age limit?

Netflix has a different system for setting age limits on movies and series than what we have in Norway for cinemas and Norwegian streaming services. Stranger Things is labeled 16+ Years and Violence on Netflix. It has categorized this age limit under ‘adults.’

The question is whether kids can watch Stranger Things even if they are not big enough. It is the same dilemma parents face with the Harry Potter movies. The very last Harry Potter film has been given a recommended age limit of twelve years.

In that sense, one might consider it an indication that the impressions in Stranger Things are stronger and more intense with the 16-year age limit.

What can children react to?

All children are different and handle impressions differently. Some may have a high tolerance limit; others may be more easily frightened.

Those who have seen some horror films and series before may not react or be frightened. Others, on the other hand, may think about the content long after and get scared. Potentially have nightmares or walk around being anxious.

So here is an assessment parents have to make themselves. If you are unsure, it may be worthwhile to watch an episode or two before introducing the series to the children.

Reading through this list taken from parents’ guide on IMDB about Stranger Things may help you get an overview of what content may emerge:

  • A man is eaten by a group of monsters. You can see blood spurting from the neck and stomach. The monsters feed on the dead body for a few seconds.
  • A man is stung by scissors, and blood spurts out.
  • Individuals die when their bodies melt, and the gore and blood from these bodies form into a monster.
  • Several children are lifted to the air and murdered as the bones in their bodies break and are pulled in all directions.
  • In season 4 of the series, a monster bites off the heads of prisoners in a prison.

There are also references to and use of cannabis, smoking, alcohol, and drugs in the series, also among young people. In addition, it is pointed out that the series consistently has scary scenes. Several also point out that the show’s first two seasons are milder in terms of content compared to seasons 3 and 4. Season 4 in particular will have strong impressions.

But isn’t there anything positive about Stranger Things?

The TV series has received good reviews from film critics and a huge 8.7/10 rating from over a million user reviews. Excitement, friendship, exclusion, emotional moments, and good actors are some of the elements highlighted.

There are a lot of positives about Stranger Things. But whether children should be allowed to watch Stranger Things depends on maturity and tolerance for impressions such as violence and scenes that can be scary. It is a good idea to take into account the age recommendation, which is set quite high in this context.

All photos: Netflix

(Translated and shortened from Norwegian by Ratan Samadder)