In the realm of Black Mirror, an anthology series dissecting the darker side of technology’s impact on humanity, we explore its suitability for young audiences. With standalone episodes weaving distinct narratives, each scrutinizing the consequences of technological advancements, we delve into the show’s themes and content. From the implications of parental control in “Arkangel” to the eerie future depicted in “Beyond the Sea,” we offer insights for parents weighing the appropriateness of Black Mirror for their children. Read out Black Mirror parents guide to aid yourself in making informed decisions about family viewing.
What Is Black Mirror About?
Black Mirror is an anthology series that focuses on technology and its dark effects on humanity. An anthology series is when the episodes of a TV show have independent stories and characters. Though sometimes previous episodes of Black Mirror are referenced in other episodes, implying that there is a shared universe, it’s not official and it has nothing to do with understanding the story of each episode.
Because Black Mirror is an anthology series, we’ve decided to take on some of the most popular episodes and see if they are suitable for children. We won’t spoil the plot of any of the episodes, but some themes and character features will be talked about.
San Junipero Parents Guide (S3E4)
The San Junipero episode is about two girls meeting in a bar and falling in love. As is usual with Black Mirror, the technological twist changes everything. According to IMDB’s parental guide on San Junipero, the episode is rated as TV-MA for audiences in the United States. It features the kissing of the two protagonists and sex is implied.
USS Callister Parents Guide (S4E1)
This episode happens in a Star Trek-esque universe created by an evil programmer trying to play out his fantasies. According to the episode’s IMDB parent guide, it features some strong language but not any nudity or sex scenes. It also has a scene where a character implodes in space. All in all, this episode is one the more watchable episodes of Black Mirror though it still features a character mentally torturing other characters and the on-brand bleak view of humanity.
Joan Is Awful Parents Guide (S6E1)
Have you ever thought that you’re the main character of a show? Are you scared that your data, all of your online web searches, the microphone on your phone, cameras in the house, and more are being used to track you? What if this information was fed to an AI to make a TV show out of your life? This is the existential horror in Joan Is Awful. This episode has no sex scenes or nudity, no violence or gore, and only some strong language.
Beyond the Sea Parents Guide (S6E3)
Beyond the Sea tells the story of two astronauts who have to spend a long time in space so they have artificial bodies on Earth which they can use to spend their time. But things slowly become absurd as a horrifying crime is committed against the family of one of the men. According to Beyond the Sea’s IMDB parent guide, the episode only uses one instance of strong language and doesn’t have any sex scenes. The episode features dark themes as one would expect from Black Mirror but it doesn’t include anything too violent for ages 15 and up.
Arkangel Parents Guide (S4E2)
Arkangel is about parental control going wrong which might seem ironic coming from us. It features a new technology called the Arkangel technology which a parent uses to spy on their kids and block any distressing images in real life, as in the child actually becomes partially blind. This is an example of when parental controls become spyware. In these cases, spyware and shameware disguise themselves as parental control apps. The episode should definitely not be watched with children. It features violence (a child hits their parent in the head with a table repeatedly) and implies sex scenes. But also, it can give children a negative view of parental control apps even if what apps exist today have nothing to do with the sci-fi technology shown in the episode.
Are There Any Black Mirror Episodes Appropriate for Kids?
Black Mirror is known for its bleak view of the future, technology, and what humanity will become. This usually means that the complex messages that the show provides are great for audiences that can digest them, especially with the existential horror that the show delivers very well. For young audiences, it may not be a good idea to allow them to watch Black Mirror at all. In fact, it’s quite hard to find episodes of Black Mirror that are appropriate for children. Some Black Mirror episodes have nudity and almost all of them have an age rating of TV-MA. Though some of the episodes are a great watch for adults, it’s hard to justify watching any of them as a family, especially for the episodes we didn’t mention in this blog post.
You’re probably watching Black Mirror on Netflix or another streaming service. To keep your child safe, take Netflix’s parental controls seriously. We also recommend you use a parental control app like Safes to manage your child’s screen time and block apps on their device. Safes is available on iOS and Android.