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Culture & Media

What Parents Need to Know About Popular Netflix Shows for Teens

Haley Zapal  |  April 05, 2024

Netflix is still one of the most popular streaming platforms, and kids and teens especially enjoy all of its different programming options. Many shows are marketed towards young people, featuring tales of high school, first love, and the challenges of growing up. 

Despite these universal themes, not every show is squeaky clean, though — depending on your family’s values, some may definitely be a must-skip. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through some of the most popular Netflix teen shows, along with what they’re rated, what they’re about, and if there’s anything important you need to know before you let your kid watch.

All American

Rated: TV-14

Summary: Originally appearing on the CW network, All American focuses on young Spencer James, a talented football player from south Los Angeles who gets recruited to play for prestigious Beverly Hills High. Spencer and his family must adapt to his new school, a different social environment, and the pressures of high school football. The show also touches on themes of identity, race, class, family dynamics, and just how important having a serious dream can be. 

Surviving Summer

Rated: TV-PG

Summary: This teen drama is a slightly different take on the usual fish-out-of-water plot, as it showcases an American teen who falls in with a clique of competitive surfers when she’s sent to live in Australia. It’s got the usual friendship pitfalls and young love plotlines, but the incredible high-octane ocean scenes and surfing competitions make it stand out from the usual teen dramas on Netflix. 

Outer Banks

Rated: TV-MA


Outer Banks follows a tight-knit group of friends who live and work in coastal North Carolina. Led by John B, the teens embark on an adventurous treasure hunt to uncover $400 million in gold, which they believe is connected to his missing father. Along the way, they face rival groups, summer flings, and clashes with the richer kids in town, known as the Kooks. Drug use and adult themes contribute to the show’s TV-MA rating. 

Never Have I Ever 

Rated: TV-14

Summary: Created by Mindy Kaling, Never Have I Ever is a coming-of-age comedy-drama series loosely based on Kaling’s childhood. Set in the San Fernando valley of California, the show follows main character Devi, a 15-year-old Indian-American dealing with the death of her father and her struggles to fit in at school. Bonus: Many episodes are narrated by tennis legend John McEnroe.

Stranger Things

Rated: TV-14

Summary: The Netflix teen series that started them all! Stranger Things debuted in 2016, featuring the supernatural exploits of a group of kids in 1980s Hawkins, Indiana. Together with their mysterious and powerful friend Eleven, the crew battle government conspiracies and a parallel dimension called the Upside Down. The show can be scary at times, but the themes of friendship, loyalty, and perseverance make it a worth-while viewing event for families.


Rated: TV-14

Summary: Remember the Archie comics? Riverdale is a modern (and dark!) update featuring classic characters like Betty, Veronica, and Archie. The characters navigate high school, dating and friendships all while uncovering the truth behind murders, conspiracies, and sinister plots that somehow become very prevalent in their small town.

13 Reasons Why

Rated: TV-MA with a content warning for suicide

Summary: Of all the shows on this list, 13 Reasons Why is the most potentially harmful to kids. The show is told in retrospect about a girl who died by suicide and left cassette tapes recounting the reasons that led to her death and who she feels is responible.The show is incredibly intense, and it prompted Netflix to even add a content warning for suicide. There are also graphic depictions of sexual assault, bullying, and rape.

Ginny & Georgia

Rated: TV-14

Summary: Often described as The Gilmore Girls for the Gen Z set, Ginny & Georgia follows the lives of a young mother, Georgia, and her teenage daughter, Ginny. After moving to a new town in Massachusetts for a fresh start, Georgia faces the challenges of raising her daughter while concealing her troubled past. Ginny, meanwhile, navigates the complexities of high school, friendships, and first love. There’s a ton of inappropriate content in this show, including raunchy jokes, drug use, self-harm, and toxic relationships.


Rated: TV-14

Summary: Wednesday Addams, of the classic Addams Family, gets a modern revamp in this popular new spin-off show. After being expelled from a “normal” high school, Gomez and Morticia ship Wednesday off to Nevermore Academy, a school for otherworld kids. She’s a bit of an outcast, but her keen intelligence and straight-forward and dead-pan personality shine through, enabling her to solve a murder mystery at her new school. Bonus: Four episodes are directed by the master of creepy filmmaking — the one and only Tim Burton. 

Need Help With Screen Time?

Watching streaming platforms doesn’t just happen on the family TV — kids can download apps on their phones, tablets, and even watch on laptops. If you’d like to manage how often your kid can access streaming content — or block it altogether! — Bark can help. Check out the Bark app for phone & tablet blocking, and our Bark Home device for in-house devices like TVs and computers.

Bark helps families manage and protect their children’s digital lives.

mother and daughter discussing Bark Parental Controls