Help! My Child is Addicted to Downton Abbey

Back before I went to England and did a Highclere Castle tour (where Downton Abbey is filmed), I watched it religiously with my daughter. At first, I wondered: Can kids watch Downton Abbey? When we started bingeing, my was nine year-old? How young is too young? Maybe don’t answer that. I can already feel the judgment, but hear me out.

Downton Abbey image

Can Kids Watch Downtown Abbey?

Of course kids can watch Downtown Abbey. The question ought to be, should they? It’s not as though what goes on in the early 20th century is scandalous to us (anymore), but it all depends on your family and what you’ve exposed your kids to.

What is Downton Abbey About?

First off, Downtown (as devotees call it), is an English series set on the fictional Yorkshire estate of Downton Abbey, and delves into the lives of an aristocratic family and their servants in the post Edwardian era.

It’s about social hierarchy for sure, but how it reenacts great events in history has enthralled my daughter. From the sinking of the Titanic to the First World War to the Spanish influenza outbreak, each episode produces more and more questions from my inquisitive gal.

Downton Abbey Lord Grantham imageAfter watching the program, my daughter wants to know if women were in combat in WWI and if they can be now. Where exactly is Yorkshire? And did most homes really not have electricity and telephones back then? I doubt she asks such questions at school based on what they’re studying in social studies.

One scene had the ladies walking through St. James Park – our favourite park when we lived in London, when Eve was a toddler. She was thrilled to see it on screen and is super excited to go back and retrace her steps. (Despite having a travel writer for a mother, my girl isn’t currently a huge travel fan, so this was a major victory.)

Downton Abbey filming I mean, what’s the worst thing she’s going to hear or see? Let me answer that one for you. The second to last episode in Season One Edith calls her sister Mary a slut. I know it’s there and I can skip over that scene if I choose. (Eve gets that I have parental controls.)

Then there’s one scene when Thomas, the nasty butler, necks down some Duke. I’m good with that, too. She’s seen adults kissing on Disney movies, and we have several friends who are gay. She understands our male neighbours are married to each other, so what’s the big deal in seeing them kiss?

It’s legal for same sex couples to be married. We see married couples kiss on TV all the time. Why don’t we see more gay couples kissing on TV? To me this is a good thing as it

Season Three Downton AbbeyPersonally, I think parents know their kids best and if they seriously think about the consequences before offering up such programming, it’s alright. It’s when parents are lazy and can’t be bothered to change the channel (or god forbid, turn it off), you run into trouble.

I would never have the News playing in the background, nor would I allow her to watch shows where kids talk with intonation, diss their parents, or serve up major attitude. That’s why we cancelled our cable.

We don’t have Nickelodeon YTV or any other kid specific programming (the bonus of not having cable). But we do have Netflix, which is how we discovered Downton Abbey, our new favourite program.

And I’m OK with her watching it with me. Would you be?

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8 thoughts on “Help! My Child is Addicted to Downton Abbey”

  1. Sue LeBreton

    Absolutely. Pretty tame coma red to what they hear on the playground. I think the watching together is where the opportunity for great conversations arise.

  2. Nothing wrong with Downton at all. I would let my kids watch it…only they’re boys and couldn’t care less 🙁

  3. We love Downton Abbey too! I think it’s a great family show and the perfect time for family conversation!

  4. Heather (@HomeToHeather)

    I think everyone should be addicted to Downton. It’s my favorite!

  5. I think you are completely right in your assessment. I think it can start lots of great convos about subjects that would rarely come up otherwise. We just started watching Downton and we are definitely addicted!

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