Since its release in June 2019, the HBO series Euphoria has garnered significant attention for its raw and unfiltered portrayal of teen drama. Created by Sam Levinson, the show revolves around a group of high schoolers as they navigate their way through the complexities of adolescence, exploring themes such as drug addiction, toxic relationships, mental health, and sexuality. While Euphoria has been praised for its powerful storytelling and exceptional performances, it is crucial to examine its appropriateness for underage viewers. That is what we are about to do in this Euphoria parents’ guide.
What Is Euphoria About?
Euphoria follows the lives of a group of high schoolers as they navigate the complexities of adolescence, grappling with issues such as drug addiction, toxic relationships, mental health, and sexual exploration. The series primarily centers around Rue Bennett, played by Zendaya, a 17-year-old teenager, battling drug abuse and addiction. The story follows her as she forms a close bond with Jules (Hunter Schafer), a transgender girl new to town.
The series also delves into the lives of other characters, including Nate Jacobs (Jacob Elordi) and a drug dealer called Fezco (Angus Cloud), as they grapple with their own personal demons. Each episode explores the lives of different characters, showcasing their intertwined lives, struggles, and experiences in an unflinchingly honest manner.
Positive Messages and Negative Aspects
Euphoria does offer some positive messages amidst its dark and explicit content. It sheds light on the realities of drug abuse and the consequences it can have on individuals and their relationships. The series also explores themes of self-discovery, acceptance, and the importance of human connection.
However, it is crucial to acknowledge the negative aspects of Euphoria, particularly in relation to its suitability for underage audiences. The series’ portrayal of nudity, violence, strong language, sex, and drug and alcohol consumption make it inappropriate for underage audiences.
Violence and Nudity in Euphoria
Euphoria pushes boundaries with its explicit content, featuring nudity and sex. Some of Euphoria’s sexiest scenes are bound to shock even adult viewers. Euphoria’s sexual scenes are sometimes accompanied by violence. For example, there are scenes portraying rape or ones with graphic references to rape.
A very iconic scene we can point out is from the second episode of the second season, where there is a fantasy sequence that parodies “Game of Thrones.” In this sequence, Kat (played by Barbie Ferreira) is feeling bored and doubtful about her relationship with her boyfriend Ethan (played by Austin Abrams). To visualize her frustration, the show uses a humorous and fantastical scene where Ethan is depicted as being stabbed in the heart by a warrior reminiscent of those found in “Game of Thrones.” The warrior then swoops Kat off her feet (kidnaps her).
Strong Language and Drug and Alcohol Consumption
Euphoria is also filled with instances of strong language use and drug and alcohol consumption. These elements, although integral to the storytelling, make it unsuitable for young viewers.
Although Euphoria deals with teenagers’ issues, it’s not intended to be consumed by teenagers but rather by their parents. The series portrays mature themes, such as teenagers dealing with drug abuse and depression, teenagers dealing with drug abuse and depression that may be difficult to watch or comprehend for underage audiences.
Euphoria’s Age Ratings and Reviews
According to IMDb, Euphoria holds a rating of 8.3/10, indicating its popularity and critical acclaim. Rotten Tomatoes gives Euphoria an 88% approval score from critics and an 85% score from the audience, further emphasizing its appeal to the viewers.
Is Euphoria appropriate for a 12-year-old? Definitely, not, as in the United States, Euphoria is given a TV-MA age rating, indicating its appropriateness for mature audiences. In other countries, Euphoria’s age rating ranges from 15 to 18+ (as reported on IMDb’s parental guide). Common Sense Media, a platform dedicated to helping parents make informed decisions about their children’s media consumption, rates the series as appropriate for viewers aged 18 and above, citing its strong sexual content, violence, and drug use.
Our Perspective: Is It Worth It to Watch Euphoria?
While we appreciate Euphoria’s artistic merit, we are concerned about its potential impact on younger viewers. The series offers a thought-provoking exploration of the complexities of teenage life and the challenges young people face, highlighting the impact of social media and societal pressures. It captivates viewers with its compelling storytelling, nuanced characters, and thought-provoking themes. The performances, especially Zendaya’s, are exceptional, and the show highlights the importance of addressing mental health issues.
However, the explicit content can be challenging to watch, and the series may not be suitable for all audiences. From a parental point of view, we find it difficult to recommend Euphoria to younger audiences due to its explicit content and mature themes.
Scientific Findings on Children Watching Explicit Content
Studies have shown that exposure to media with violent or explicit content can have adverse effects on children’s psychological well-being and behavior. These effects include desensitization and an increased likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors.
In his research paper, Dr. Ross E. O’Hara, a behavioral scientist from the University of Missouri, argues that “movie sexual exposure may promote sexual risk-taking both by modifying sexual behavior and by accelerating the normal rise in sensation seeking during adolescence.” He explains that only 9% of sexual content found in popular movies may potentially promote safe sexual behavior. He concludes, “Adolescents who watch popular movies, therefore, are exposed to a great deal of sex, most of which is portrayed in an unrealistic and/or risk-promoting manner.”
Therefore, it is essential for parents to monitor their children’s media consumption and engage in open discussions about the content they consume. Parental control apps like Safes can assist in limiting access to unsuitable material.
The Importance of Monitoring and Parental Controls
Given the explicit content and mature themes in Euphoria, parents need to be vigilant about their children’s media consumption. Unfortunately, children can easily stumble upon harmful content in the online world. From streaming platforms to social media and messaging apps, there are many digital platforms that may contain age-inappropriate content.
Using parental control apps like Safes can help protect young viewers from exposure to inappropriate content and facilitate conversations about sensitive topics. With Safes, you can filter risky search keywords, block websites and apps that host harmful content, and much more.
If you wish to learn more about how to set parental controls on different platforms, make sure you read these pages from our website:
Final Verdict and Alternative Series Recommendations
Euphoria is undeniably a compelling and well-crafted series that caters to a mature audience. Its explicit content and mature themes deem it inappropriate for young viewers, particularly those under the suggested age rating of 17. But is Euphoria appropriate for 15-year-olds? Our answer is negative. However, if you deem your 15-year-old child to be mature enough to navigate the series, it’s your call.
As an alternative, you can recommend more age-appropriate series such as Stranger Things, One Piece and Wednesday to your child. For an even younger audience, say a 12-year-old (for whom Euphoria is definitely inappropriate), you can suggest series like Anne with an E or The Baby-Sitters Club, which offer engaging storytelling without excessive explicit content.