Many believe we’re living in the Golden Age of Television, where new hit TV shows, binge-watching series’, and great casts can make keeping up a challenge. Still, there are some TV shows that are incredibly popular with kids and pre-teens that should be on every parent’s programming radar. “Educational TV puts kids in touch with cultures from around the world in a way that’s deeply engaging. Channels like Discovery, The History Channel and especially PBS can expose kids to people and places they wouldn’t otherwise encounter in daily life,” reports Ian Kenney on Livestrong. However, “even prime time scripted programming, when age appropriate, introduces concepts that are complex and intellectually stimulating. This can help shape a child’s interest and make him more engaged in classes that deal with those specific topics.”
Here are eight TV shows that make the hotlist for kids and pre-teens, which you may not love but need to know.
1. The Bad Girls Club (Oxygen)
Though parents might be weary of some of this show’s somewhat unsettling topics, it’s a favorite among pre-teens who can’t get enough of these young women who were selected to live together because of their penchant for negative behavior—ranging from lying to physical violence.
2. The Teen Mom Franchise (MTV)
The last thing parents want their pre-teen daughters to be glorifying is teen motherhood. That said, these shows also give kids a window into the real challenges, hardships, sacrifices and issues that come with being a teen mom or dad.
3. Love & Hip Hop (VH1)
Kids today love music and they certainly love drama—which is why this show is the perfect package as far as entertainment is concerned. This is a show that dismantles “tough guy” exteriors and instead highlights the more vulnerable side of a rapper’s heart.
4. South Park (Comedy Central)
This show definitely raises eyebrows when it comes to deciding if it is appropriate for kids or not. With its racy humor, and blatantly un-PC spin on practically everything and everyone, it might not make the cut as appropriate from many parents’ point of view. The flip side is that the show is well written and witty.
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5. Sam & Cat (Nickelodeon)
In this kid fave, the naughty Sam Puckett (from iCarly) is paired with Cat Valentine (from Victorious) for a double spin-off series. One of the reasons kids love this show might be due to the fact that there are no parents anywhere in sight.
6. Adventure Time (Cartoon Network)
This progressive new cartoon is set in a post-apocalyptic land called Ooo, and stars a boy named Finn and his dog, Jake, who is also his adoptive brother Jake, as he has the power to change forms. Some parents may feel the subjects broached in this series are a bit much; for example, and Finn and his dog/brother Jake are forever fighting demons, and in one episode, Finn has split personalities and becomes a psychopath.
7. Ridiculousness (MTV)
In the tradition of Jackass, this series showcases web videos of people doing dangerous stunts that can result in painful and potentially fatal injuries. There are also strong sexual references, stereotypical comments, lots of bleeped-out profanity, and images of people smoking and drinking. You decide. Either way, viewers of all ages should be reminded that the stunts featured here should never be tried at home.
8. Uncle Grandpa (Cartoon Network)
This show is not for the faint of heart, with recurring themes such as body-related gross-out humor and issues like obesity, farting and the removal and ingestion of one’s own body parts.
Editor’s Note: This post is brought to you by HoneyMaid, and their efforts to showcase the many facets of modern American family life.