The bizarre new Netflix series Old Enough sees children as young as two abandoned in public to see how they fare alone in the big wide world.
The documentary is described by the streaming service as 'feel-good', 'family' viewing, though it's safe to say at first glance the notion of making children fend for themselves doesn't feel like the most joyous concept in the world.
Filmed in Japan, Old Enough sees toddlers aged between two and six challenged with tasks such as going shopping and navigating public transport by themselves – relatively easy activities for most adults, but undoubtedly much scarier when you've only been on the planet a few short years.
Though the kids often start off nervous, it seems the 'feel-good' aspect of Old Enough comes from watching them conquer the challenges without help and revel in their newfound independence.
"Old Enough" is a Japanese TV show on Netflix about little kids assigned complex solo errands and it is utterly delightful pic.twitter.com/eUm3DYoSnA— Tyler Alterman (@TylerAlterman) April 4, 2022
The show has been airing with the title Hajimete no Otsukai (My First Errand) for 30 years in Japan, indicating there's definitely some entertainment to be gleaned from watching children take on the world. That's not to say that parents should start sending their toddlers out to the shop for a pint of milk, though.
To ensure the kids featured in Old Enough don't stumble into any dangerous situations, the creators of the show conduct lengthy preparations ahead of filming. The children are chosen by a laborious selection process, according to The Guardian, while the camera crew and safety team are given hiding places en-route to ensure they always have eyes on the kids.
There is a show on Netflix called Old Enough! that I'm watching with Moo.— Agam Kcuf - UncleTifa (@agamkcuf) April 3, 2022
OMFG it is adorable.
It's a Japanese reality show where they send 2-3 year olds on errands by themselves. They are short jaunts to familiar places and it's just cute AF.
The episodes are like 15 mins. pic.twitter.com/QMlwm7QZWR
The paths taken by the children are inspected by both parents and production staff to account for any dangerous roads or 'suspicious persons', and neighbours in the area are informed of the situation so they don't panic at the sight of an unaccompanied toddler wandering the streets.
Netflix's episodes of Old Enough are less than 20 minutes long, rather than the three-hour runtime the documentary has in Japan, meaning it can provide quick snippets of entertainment for anyone looking to see how the toddlers might fare with their tasks.
It's undoubtedly an intriguing concept, and the show has received praise from viewers as well as warnings that the show will make you cry.
Excuse me please @netflix but you need to get one thousand more episodes of OLD ENOUGH, the Japanese reality show that follows toddlers when they go on errands alone.— Useful Idiot (@EmolumentsNow) April 6, 2022
IT IS THE PUREST AND GREATEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN.
"Okay the best show on netflix is a japanese reality show called “old enough” where toddlers go on errands by themselves and you go along with them and you WILL cry. you’re gonna cry when their parents cry because they’re proud of them, when they face and overcome a setback on the errand, when they complete the errand, because their raincoat is just very small, etc," one viewer wrote.
The documentary series really sounds like one that needs to be watched in order to be understood, so go and stream Old Enough on Netflix now.