9-1-1 parents guide: This jaw-dropper might have your kids calling an emergency hotline

9-1-1 is a great series, but it does get a little too jaw-dropping for the younger kids in the house.
9-1-1: L-R: Aisha Hinds, Ryan Guzman and Oliver Stark in the “Pay it Forward” season finale episode of 9-1-1 airing Monday, May 15 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2022 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Jack Zeman/ FOX.
9-1-1: L-R: Aisha Hinds, Ryan Guzman and Oliver Stark in the “Pay it Forward” season finale episode of 9-1-1 airing Monday, May 15 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2022 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Jack Zeman/ FOX. /

9-1-1 is one of those network shows that you’ll want to watch as episodes air live. This means sometimes watching with the kids around, but is it suitable for them?

The series follows the 118, a firehouse in Los Angeles that answers various emergency calls. We also get to see the police work through Angela Bassett’s Athena Grant and there is a chance to see the work of the 9-1-1 dispatchers to give us a full look at the world of emergency crews.

Of course, that means some dangerous situations. In fact, there are some crazy and intense moments, with some big calls each season that leave you wondering if everyone will make it out alive. This could end up a little too jaw-dropping at times for the kids.

9-1-1 parents guide: Explaining the TV-14 age rating

The series is fictional. There are a few calls that seem a little too “out there” to ever happen, but then truth is stranger than fiction. That being said, there are some calls that could happen, and they could be too much for your kids.

Sex & nudity: This is a network series, which originally started on Fox and then moved to ABC. It doesn’t have a lot of sex and nudity. In fact, it barely has any. There are times when the sex is implied, and there can be times when naked buttocks are on show, but this show is pretty tame because networks know who could be watching.

There is one episode where a naked woman is standing on a bridge. We don't see the nudity as there are signs strategically placed and the firefighters are able to cover her up eventually.

Violence & gore: This is where some of the more frightening scenes can be seen, and it’s why the series has a TV-14 rating. 9-1-1 involves a lot of emergency calls. One of the first emergency calls is to a theme park where a rollercoaster is stuck upside down with someone hanging on for dear life. Think about what Final Destination did to us Millennials and now think of what that will do to Gen Alpha and Gen Z. There can also be some bloody scenes. After all, there are emergency responders treating gunshot wounds, workplace accidents, and burn victims. Nothing is too graphic, but the injuries can look extremely real, especially when there are hands caught in meat grinders!

There are also some very real events, such as a huge tsunami that hits Los Angeles, which can be scary to watch but isn’t too graphic in terms of the injuries shown. Each season has a bigger major event than the last, with some relatively frightening scenes for younger children. There will be a lot of questions about how they would survive if it happened in real life.

At the same time, there are some WTF moments. There are calls that just seem so crazy that they couldn't possibly happen. This can be fun for older teens as they discuss just how something could happen and how the first responders are going to deal with that. Don't worry; the characters often comment about how crazy some of the calls are.

Language: This series has no harsh language at all. You’re getting the likes of “hell” and “damn,” and that’s about it. The worst has been “son of a b***h,” but that phrase and similar ones are used seldomly, knowing the ears of small children could be listening in.

Alcohol & drugs: There is some consumption of alcohol as the characters relax at home or in a bar. Some of the calls do involve characters who are drunk or high, but we don’t see any use of drugs in the series. The focus is on the emergencies afterward rather than on the actual drug taking.

It’s worth noting that one of the main characters is an alcoholic who breaks sobriety in the first season. We see him drunk and with his fellow firefighters helping him. He drinks to hide his past guilt and trauma, but he does get help for that. There is also an instance of a character attempting suicide. We don’t see her taking anything to kill herself, but we do see the aftermath.

Overall verdict: Who is 9-1-1 appropriate for?

This is a series that works for teenagers. The TV-14 rating is appropriate, and it’s a great series to introduce teens to the first responder genre. I wouldn’t have this on around younger children, though, especially those who get scared easily. While not overly graphic, there are moments that could make them scared of real events happening to them—and you don’t want them scared of the beach or of rollercoasters!

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