Would you let your 11 year old watch Sherlock?


I prefer teaching older kids.  The vast majority of my timetable is made up of GCSE and A level classes and that suits me just fine, but I do teach a Year 7 class twice a week.  Whilst I love their enthusiasm and innocence at this age, I find the “Miss, I’ve lost my pen” and “Miss, I’ve come to the end of my page, should I turn over?” just a tad irritating.

However, since having Little O I do find it fascinating when they talk about what they are allowed to do at this age, and what they’re not (Yes, I’m gathering tips for when O gets older).  One thing one of the lovely boys in my class told me today was that his mum wouldn’t let him watch Sherlock.  Several of the other boys seemed shocked by this, but he was completely unfazed and didn’t feel hard done to at all.

It got me thinking, is Sherlock suitable for an 11 year old boy to watch?  I stood there trying to remember the details of Sunday nights episode.  Yes, someone got killed. I can’t remember there being any sex, I can’t remember seeing anything too graphic or violent, but I can understand why as a parent you wouldn’t want you child to watch it.

At the moment we don’t have to worry about this because if it’s not CBeebies, Peppa Pig or Ben and Holly my son isn’t interested, but how do you start to judge what exactly is age appropriate?  I probably didn’t have the best role models for this as my parents never really prevented me or my brother from watching anything.  This suited me fine, but after watching something a bit too scary at a young age my brother has never been able to watch a horror film.  Never! And he’s now 36!  My mum and dad will admit they should have been stricter with what we watched but this came a bit too late to save my brother.

I know I don’t have to worry about this for a few years yet (at least, I hope its a few years off), but I find myself watching things and wondering at what age I would feel comfortable with O watching it, and I suppose it also comes down to the individual child.  Whilst one member of my Year 7 class is banned from watching Sherlock, I overheard his friend telling him that he watched “Revenge” because it’s full of sex!  I wouldn’t class myself as a prude, but this did make me feel quite uncomfortable and I quickly intervened to bring the conversation to an end.

As parents we will all have different opinions about what we think is suitable for our child to watch and at what age.  As we are just embarking on the “What’s that?” phase I know O is always going to question what is going on and, in time, question my decisions.  There is a very fine line between protecting our children and wrapping them up in cotton wool, so I can only hope I get the balance right.  My brother* is living proof that getting it wrong can have long lasting consequences.

*he can laugh about the fact he can’t watch scary films.  Good job as I’ve spent the past 30 years taking the piss out of him for it!



  1. January 7, 2014 / 8:42 pm

    My eleven year old watches Sherlock; I think it’s a brilliantly written drama and extremely entertaining to watch. There is very little violence – they see much more in an average PG rated film – but I have to admit that the episode with the nude Irene Adler did make me squirm and I had to send him out of the room!

    We talk about it afterwards, too. He wasn’t so keen on the last wedding episode (neither was I); too much faffing and not enough detecting, for his liking.

    • notafrumpymum
      January 7, 2014 / 8:48 pm

      I agree, I think I’d feel okay with an 11 year old of mine watching Sherlock, I think it’s a great programme. But there would be certain scenes that would make me feel uncomfortable.

      I love the fact you chat about it afterwards, I’m looking forward to doing that with my son.

  2. January 8, 2014 / 7:47 pm

    Really through provoking post.

    We did have a *Y11* come into our office today looking for a pen. I think he thought his “scattiness” was “endearing”. I bet someone somewhere in his life has given him that message anyway… Love the example of “Shall I turn over my page” though!

    Anyway, on programmes – my daughter’s friend has a grown up brother and he is very adamant about the fact that being allowed to watch films we would regard only as marginally scary (eg Jurassic Park) at the age of 4 was something that should not have happened to him. Hearing this definitely changed my views on protecting really young children, which had been quite liberal before.

    What older children should or shouldn’t watch is another issue again. I think if we’ve happened on something nasty together I say something like “If you don’t want to watch this because it’s too bad, that’s OK.” I imagine there’s less bravado and pressure to be “hard” and watch it because I have girls.

    Having said that, the most disturbing thing my daughter has come across was the graphic witch burning text that they studied in Y8 History. I thought that was really strong stuff and I did find it difficult to respond to her because I remember not being able to stomach history at all at that age because of the death and violence. So I guess we can’t protect them from everything.

    • notafrumpymum
      January 9, 2014 / 8:05 pm

      Half of our Year 11’s never have a pen!

      I think you’re right, we can’t protect them from everything, especially when they go to school and start having more outside influences. I know it’s going to happen, but it really worries me. Hopefully we can raise a sensible young man! x

  3. January 8, 2014 / 11:39 pm

    I think personally I would. I think it’s a bit strange that an 11 year old was told he wasn’t allowed to watch it because it’s not got language, no nudity, not particularly offensive violence, it’s not rude or crude in any way. I think there is more violence on the news than there is in Sherlock. x

  4. Colette B
    January 12, 2014 / 9:06 pm

    At the moment I’m very concious of only really letting my kids watch Cbeebies – I’ve taught children who play the most inappropriate games – I’m talking 7yr olds playing GTA and Halo . . . I spoke to this boys Mum once and she just said “Ah it’s ok, it’ s only shooting a few aliens and I play it with him!” . . . I just didn’t know what to say!

  5. February 22, 2014 / 12:01 pm

    Oddly enough only my 21 year old watches this – I tried it, but didn’t like the violence or implied violence myself!

  6. February 22, 2014 / 12:06 pm

    I can’t watch scary films either, and not from seeing one, the DVD cover alone is bad enough. So I am very protective of the kids’ viewing. But as you say, it depends on the child. X

  7. July 20, 2014 / 2:10 pm

    Good question. My youngest was 11 when it first aired and has loved the whole thing, but not as much has his older brother & sister (and me) I think some of it went a bit over his head. Now we are watching Utopia (he’s 15 now, just) and I think it is such a great series I am letting him but there are bits in this when I am thinking “am I making a terrible mistake”. We’ve had a few chats afterwards about what he’s seen/heard, but it’s not an easy call.

  8. April 20, 2017 / 5:49 am

    I watch Sherlock Holmes movies since I have memory. I already knew who he was when I went to kindergarden. And ancient movies are not A-Rated at all. I do not know what could be the problem with this show. Evidently, I was accompanied by my mon who explained complicated settings but she always told us: “You must watch these stories because they help you to become intelligent people”. Today my brothers and I are Sherlock lovers and I hope to show Cumberbatch’s Sherlock to my child when I have one. I love the male and human role he represents. Violence? Compared with the real world? I do not know other countries but in mine Sherlock’s violence is like been in Sesame Street. I do not understand either what is the problem with Irene’s naked scene (when nothing regularly banned is seen), but well, I understand it is a cultural matter. Maybe we use to be too naked in Latin America.

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