The Amazon Prime streaming service is an entertaining resource for at-home television and movies, but are you aware of the content on their many original shows?
Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos recently reported that Prime now has over 100 million subscribers. Prime not only provides that legendary free shipping, but also many of its own productions. These shows are readily available for anyone with an Amazon Prime account, including your children and teenagers. Additionally, many of these programs are becoming increasingly popular with critics and on social media, potentially exposing younger audiences to sexually explicit material.
Amazon Prime currently offers parental controls to block this sort of content from reaching our children.
This is currently done through a PIN set by parents, so account holders have control over what content can be both purchased and watched. Prime offers PIN protection on ratings categories for film, and television. Amazon uses MPAA and TV official guidelines for ratings, such as G, PG, and R, or TV-Y, TV-PG, or TV-MA as examples. Prime also categorizes their content into General, Family, Teen, and Mature to help guide parents on what is appropriate for their personal situations and families. Some Amazon products require separate control settings and must be done from the device specifically, such as the Fire TV, Fire tablets and phones, and Xbox 360 devices. To learn more about how to set your parental controls, click here.
To drive home just how important parental controls are on Amazon Prime, we looked at 6 of the top original TV shows from Prime Video on the filtering service VidAngel to see what sort of exact content is being shown. Additionally, we looked at reviews from parenting website Common Sense Media to further analyze content. Of these 6 programs, 100% were rated T-MA and had at least 1 count of sexual reference or innuendo. If that doesn’t seem too concerning, 4 of these shows had explicit sex scenes with nudity just in their pilot episodes alone.
These popular shows have been praised in the media and with critics, and are heavily advertised on Amazon Prime campaigns. Children and teens that should not be watching this material are at risk of seeing sexually explicit scenes right away, if not protected with Prime parental controls.
TRIGGER WARNING: Brief descriptions of sexually explicit activities below.
Transparent (TV-MA) is an award-winning show that has been on Prime since 2014. In its pilot episode, there are:
- 13 tags for sexual references or innuendo.
- 4 tags for sex
- 8 tags for nudity
- 13 tags for female immodesty
From the pilot episode, we can detect a pattern of explicit scenes right away. Some more specific tags include “a man has sex with a woman”, and “a topless woman is shown in bed”.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (TV-MA) is one of Amazon’s newest series, which recently swept the 2018 Emmy Awards. Looking into the pilot however, we see that there are many tags for graphic content. Some examples are “a woman makes a joke about sexual assault”, “three nude women are shown”, and “a woman is shown naked”. Again, these examples are all from the pilot episode only.
Mozart in the Jungle (TV-MA) is an original Prime program that ran for 4 seasons, depicting the lives of professional classical musicians in New York City. Looking at the pilot episode, there are:
- 9 tags for sexual references or innuendo.
- 7 tags for sex
- 2 tags for nudity
Going deeper into the types of scenes included in the above tags, several included “a teenage boy ogles a woman”, “a man and woman have sex. The woman’s breasts and buttocks are visible”.
Sneaky Pete (TV-MA) is rated by Common Sense for audiences 15 years old and up, and given 3 out of 5 stars for “overall quality and learning potential”. However, in one review, a concerned parent writes:
“This pilot episode is rated TV-14, but the series as a whole is rated TV-MA. In episode 2 there is a scene showing a woman’s bare backside and breast. I feel the TV-14 pilot was intentionally deceptive, and it obviously influenced how CommonSenseMedia rated the show”.
Red Oaks (TV-MA) is a popular Prime series rated 18+ by Common Sense. The site describes the show as a “retro comedy mixings sex, drugs, and drinking for laughs”. On the site’s parent guide, Red Oaks scores 1 out of 5 for positive messages and role models, and scores 5 out of 5 for both sex and language.
The series Patriot (TV-MA) is a highly rated original Prime series. On Common Sense, the show is rated 16 years old and up, with only a 2 out of 5 score for sex on the parent guide. However, one parent review says, “The review fails to mention that there is sexual content in the final episode. At 36:10 (in episode 10 of season 1) a character is briefly seen watching pornography. Some brief rear female nudity is seen. Later on in that same episode a character provides a distraction by walking into the police station completely naked. Full frontal male nudity is seen”. While Common Sense Media is a great place to investigate media content, many shows seem to be slipping through the cracks.
Despite the varying plots and genres, all of these popular Prime series include sexual material. Some even normalize risky sexual behaviors and all objectified women onscreen. Parents should be aware of the online and easily accessible hype that could induce young, unsuitable audiences to seek out these shows on their Amazon Prime accounts.
If you are concerned about your children seeing these shows, set up your parental control PIN today.