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Should Parents Be Letting Their Kids Watch Criminal Minds?

"Criminal Minds" is one of the most successful broadcast television shows ever. Following the team at the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, "Criminal Minds" takes a unique approach to the crime procedural genre, focusing on the psychological motivations of the dangerous criminals they pursue. The show has entertained countless audiences during its 15-year run, constantly finding new fans thanks to syndication and streaming.

However, like any show centered around solving violent crimes, "Criminal Minds" is not for the faint of heart. Though the series' home on CBS meant it could never be as graphic as some of its cable counterparts, the realistic gruesome violence can certainly be a deterrent for some viewers. If adults can find the subject matter difficult, it may be even less suitable for younger eyes.

Should parents let their child watch "Criminal Minds?" Many concerned adults have pondered that question. But like all things parenting, there's not one straight answer.

Criminal Minds may not be suitable for young teens and children

Common Sense Media is an American nonprofit that helps parents and guardians determine what media is suitable for children, and at what age. The organization also allows parents to leave their own reviews for different shows — and there are some differing opinions when it comes to "Criminal Minds."

According to Common Sense, "Criminal Minds" is appropriate for ages 16 and older. However, some parents' reviews disagree, including one that says, "I think a mature 10-year-old could handle it but it's totally fine for a 12-year-old. There are a few bad scenes, but nowadays tweens have seen it all." Another person wrote that she even watches with her four-year-old, but asks him to leave the room during graphic crime scenes.

Some parents, though, are worried about the gratuitous violence on the show. One contributor shared he started watching it with his 16-year-old but remarked on how increasingly violent the seasons get. "With each show, additional aspects of the crime were discussed: cutting off genitalia, making victims eat their own pulled-off nails, pouring acid down throats ... I cannot believe that this show is on regular television."

Furthermore, the Motion Picture Association of America gives Criminal Minds a rating of TV-14, indicating it is not appropriate for young children. Ultimately, though, every child is different, and it's up to parents to determine what shows are suitable watches for their children.