General Question

iLove's avatar

Is an eleven year old mature enough to watch the series Dexter?

Asked by iLove (2339points) May 12th, 2011

I just started watching the series Dexter. I am hooked. Then again, I am an adult.

I was talking to a friend about the show and he mentioned that even though he had never seen it, his eleven year old was watching it. I advised him maybe he should watch it himself to see if his son is old enough to watch it.

I am curious to see what those of you who have watched the show think about this.

and please respond only if you’ve actually seen the show

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32 Answers

KateTheGreat's avatar

It really depends on the maturity of the child. There aren’t really that many super graphic scenes, but there is some nudity and adult behavior.

WasCy's avatar

I don’t think that I am mature enough to watch that show.

optimisticpessimist's avatar

I have only seen season 1. I plan on watching more just haven’t yet. I would not let my eleven year old watch it. Yes, there is worse violence in a lot of movies, but it is more than that. It is the themes and the idea a psychopath (I may have used the wrong term) can be trained to behave like a good person. I think the idea is too complex for an 11 year old to fully grasp. I think most adults can understand this is not real or even a real possibility.

marinelife's avatar

I think it is a horrible premise, and I would never permit an impressionable 11-year-old to watch that show.

gabbypotterrr's avatar

Eh I really don’t think so :\ it gets pretty gory.
I’m 19 and it scarred me for life LOL

jrpowell's avatar

I watch it. It is actually one of my favorite shows. Not a chance in hell I would let a 11 year old watch it.

MissAusten's avatar

My husband and I are huge Dexter fans! But because of the violence, language, and sex, I would not even remotely consider it appropriate for an 11 year old. I was talking to a group of 7th graders (12–13 years old) a few weeks ago and a couple of them had seen the show. One girl said she watched it with her parents when they were getting Showtime for free as a promotion. I was pretty shocked. My daughter is 12 and has never watched anything remotely as adult as Dexter.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I think it depends entirely on the maturity of the child. I don’t think any child should be watching something a parent doesn’t know about, especially if it’s that violent. I don’t think all 11-year-olds can be lumped into the same category, but I think parents should definitely be closely monitoring what their kids are watching and deciding if their child can handle something like Dexter.

Edit to add: What surprises me more than that is the number of young kids who have read the fourth Twilight book. Most of the time, their parents are okay with it and have even read it themselves. That is far more scarring than Dexter, in my opinion, but I guess because it’s a book, it’s okay for kids to read.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I watched the first few shows. IMO there is no reason an 11 year old should be subjected to prostitution, murder, foul language, slashings, deceit, etc. It also casts police and all authority figures as people not to be trusted. Everyone is a hidden terrorist or pervert behind the facade.
Is that the way you want your kid to see the world?
Isn’t there at least one intelligent, educational show on during that hour? If it it truly a case of “57 channels and nothing on” turn the damn thing off and talk with your kid. Do homework. Go to bed.

SuperMouse's avatar

I would not let my 11 year-old son watch Dexter. I have a 12, almost 13 year-old who is actually quite mature for his age, but there is no way in h-e-double hockey sticks I would even let him watch it.

MissAusten's avatar

@worriedguy There might be something on TV at that hour for an 11 year old to watch, but typically programs that late at night are geared towards adults. This might seem like a crazy idea, but I really think kids that age should be in bed at 9:00. That’s my daughter’s bedtime, which was only bumped up from 8:30 this past year. I totally agree about turning the TV off though.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

I would. I have seen a few episodes, and quite frankly, it’s like what @KatetheGreat said, it’s not really graphic (although I must admit that I found some parts disturbing. However, I can shake that off). I’m pretty sure that unless he/she has a severe mental illness/disorder, an 11 year old can tell the difference between reality and fantasy.
When I was 11, I’ve already seen way worse graphic movies/pornography that was more harsh than Dexter.

Carly's avatar

I would be concerned about what they’re taking away from the show. When I watched Dexter (dont have a tv now), it was very interesting to me, but I feel like it numbed some of my emotions when it came to responding to something negative like murder. There was a time I remember when I was watching the news about a homicide in Oakland, CA and I said, “eh, sucks for that dude.” My mom overheard me and she was really upset that I was so insensitive to the death of a human being. Now it bothers me when I hear other people say stuff like that.

iLove's avatar

@Carly – interesting. As an adult, it also got my mind going in weird directions, too. My ex pissed me off and I found myself thinking, “too bad I don’t have a Dexter boyfriend to frame him” LOL just kidding, but I can’t imagine how it affects the mind of a maturing young person.

jgrissett's avatar

HECK NO!!!! I love the show but the gruesome violence and sexuallity are not suitable for someone who cannot truly separate truth from fiction just yet!!!

MissAusten's avatar

@Michael_Huntington I wonder which few episodes you’ve seen. Did you see the ones that dealt with gang rape and torture? This past season had a lot of that since the story focused around one of the victims. So while some individual episodes might not have been as gory or as sexual as others, the show overall can be extremely graphic. There have been times when I’ve covered my eyes or had to look away and I’m 36 years old.

I don’t think maturing has anything to do with it, honestly. What is a mature 11 year old? A kid who already knows about violent death, rape, torture, and sex? Doesn’t get nightmares or feel disturbed when seeing those images? That would be horribly sad in a kid that age. Knows that it “isn’t real?” Kids that age might know that what they are seeing isn’t real, but that doesn’t stop their brains from being affected by it. Many studies have shown that kids who watch violent television are affected by it even if they know it’s fiction. There are many articles, studies, and probably even books on the subject:

http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/tv_affects_child.html
http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/parents/television/tv_impact_kids.cfm
http://www.abelard.org/tv/tv.php
http://allpsych.com/journal/violentmedia.html
http://www.aacap.org/page.ww?name=children+and+TV+violence&section=Facts+for+Families

It isn’t just kids who are susceptible to violent TV. It happens to all of us, where our brains are unable to separate the risks we see on TV from the risks in everyday life. Most of us parents are now convinced that the biggest risk to our children is abduction. We think it happens all the time and that the world is teeming with strangers waiting for chance to snatch our children, rape them, kill them, and dump their bodies. It does happen, of course, but it’s not such a risk that we need to overprotect our kids to the level we currently do. If adults can’t separate the facts of such a risk (and this is just one example) from the reality, how can 11 year old kids? If the entire concept of childhood has been changed in one generation because of media focus and frenzy on the few children who are taken and killed by strangers each year, what do you think violent television shows can do to a kid over the course of a few years?

LuckyGuy's avatar

@MissAusten I’m with you! Kids shouldn’t be up at that time unless they are preparing for school. I can assure you, 5 years from now when the kid is filling out college applications, it will not be his knowledge of Dexter that gets him a scholarship to the school of his choice.

If the parent is too weak to watch the show by herself then she, too, is not mature enough to watch it. Turn the damn thing off.

Jude's avatar

No, I don’t think so.

Coloma's avatar

No. I always believe in erring on the side of caution with kids.
I just watched the Dexter series last year, it is captivating but NOT for an 11 year old.

Personally I enjoy Dexters self dialogues the most. lol Very good writing!

MissAusten's avatar

@Coloma You would probably enjoy the books quite a bit too then!

mazingerz88's avatar

Seen all the episodes and enjoyed it. With regards to your question I’m going to be harsh. No sane person will allow an 11 year old to watch Dexter.

Buttonstc's avatar

I am an avid Dexter fan and I really appreciate the complexity of the premise upon which it is based.

But as a teacher who has dealt with that age group, there is no way that any child of mine would ever be watching it with my permission. There is no reason on earth that could change my mind.

If the child were to ask me why, I would tell him. If he wants to watch it when he’s 18 yrs. old, it will still be available then, just as drinking and other adult privileges will be also.

Even if I had a genius child who was the most mature I’ve ever encountered, my answer would still be the same.

This show was never designed for children and it airs late at night for that reason.

If this makes me hopelessly old-fashioned, I can live with that. As someone else already stated, this show won’t help him get into college or find a rewarding career so if he can’t watch it till hes an adult, it’s not such a horrible deprivation.

Our American culture is already too desensitized to violence as it is. No need to saturate a child’s mind with more of it (and in a morally ambiguous context to add to the confusion).

I think that moral ambiguity (where we are rooting for Dexter to murder more) adds a layer of complexity that is difficult for many adults to process, let alone a child.

The episode where it became obvious that he had killed the wrong guy was one that even I found disturbing. Should I be expecting a child to be able to process that?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Dexter? An 11 year old? Hell no.

rock4ever's avatar

At the age of 11 a child’s mind is easily turned and manipulated. Dexter says some really… strange ( to say in the least ) things. The child might pick up on some things that Dexter says that wouldn’t be good for him. I’m 14 and when I watched it I found myself picking up on some things that were barely noticeably having a negative affect on me. Do you think you could find out why he’s watching it? It really can’t be natural for an 11 year old to be into that kind of thing, can it?

Narl's avatar

No way!

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

I agree I would generally not think of Dexter as suitable for an 11 year old, for all the reasons already stated here. It’s definitely very adult in nature. As an 11 year old I was also very mature for my age, but I don’t think my parents would have let me watch that show.

Are you sure your friend meant that Dexter, and not Dexter’s Laboratory, the cartoon?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t know. I’d have to get an idea of the kid. But yes I would let them watch it.

Roby's avatar

I am 63 years old and I wont let myself watch that crap.

phoebusg's avatar

I’m divided, but I’ll side with the maturity crowd. Even if you think your child is mature, make sure to debrief them before and after the show. Have a discussion about ethics (is it ok to kill another?). Make sure you’re on the right page.

The scenes are very mild compared to the Dexter series of books. The show has been on purpose toned down. I still remember some of the scenes described in the books, those are truly gory and horrific.

But really, Dexter is like any other monster story, if debriefed properly. I see more horrible things in “fairy tales”.

ac1209's avatar

I’m 13 myself. I love the show, and I think I’m pretty mature for my age especially compared to my friends. My mom won’t let me watch it though.. any idea how to change her mind?

ac1209's avatar

She’s letting me watch now, but I can only watch one episode a week… I think I can live with that.

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