Why I’ve banned my toddler from Masha and the Bear

Before having a child, I always thought I’d only let my child watch CBeebies, with a limited amount of screen time per week. Whilst she’s not watching TV all the time, my daughter does watch more than the pre-parent me thought she would. I think most of us are the same, it’s a way of helping us to get all the things we need to get done completed. However, are we paying close enough attention to what they watch? One programme she likes, Masha and the Bear, has recently been banned by me as I believe it has been having a negative effect on her.

Why is Masha and the Bear so popular?

If you’re not familiar with Masha and the Bear, I’ll give you a quick run-through. Loosely based on Russian folklore of the same name, this animated series was first launched in Russia 10 years ago. It follows the story of a mischievous 6 year old girl who lives in the woods and an ex-circus bear who is a kind of father figure. It is he who keeps her from disaster.

Available on Netflix, it has been translated into 25 languages and broadcast in over 100 countries! Impressively, one episode is even the 5th most viewed video on YouTube. It is only beaten by 4 music videos and is even ahead of Gangnam Style.

But why is it so popular? The characters are visually appealing for children, particularly Masha with her large eyes and expressive face. Her mischievous attitude makes her very likeable to children. Each 6-7 minute programme is full of action, which holds their attention well. The characters all have their own personalities and interact in various ways and each story has a meaning.

Masha and the Bear
Credit: Animaccord

So what’s the problem?

Masha’s Behaviour

Masha and the Bear might seem harmless, but there are a number of reasons I don’t like it. Firstly, I know that a lot of children’s programmes don’t necessarily have good role models (I’m looking at you, Peppa Pig). However, I find Masha more annoying than most. She is hyperactive and loves to play all the time. This is often to the detriment of the animals in the woods who she forces to play with her. Poor Bear is always getting pranks pulled on him by Masha, too. She is rude, selfish and spoiled. If you delve into Google, you’ll find parents saying how they believe watching Masha and the Bear has made them behave more hyperactive and even violently!


I also have a problem with how some things are portrayed. The breaking point for me was the episode where Masha has a wobbly tooth. She first notices it when she’s brushing her teeth. I don’t recall seeing people try to pull out teeth with string on English children’s programmes. To me, it just seems like a really bad idea. However, that’s part of the storyline on Masha and the bear. It continues on to her sitting in a medical chair in the creepy abandoned old ambulance on the hill with the wolves working on her. The whole thing comes across quite scary, as do some storylines in other episodes. Throughout the ordeal, Masha is shown to be upset and in pain. This really upset my little girl, who said “Oh no!” and started crying. For a good week or two afterwards, she’d clasp her hands over her mouth and cry in terror whenever we tried to brush her teeth as she was convinced it was going to hurt and make her teeth fall out! It took so much work and patience to get to the point where she’d allow us to get a toothbrush anywhere near her again.

Ball pool soft play at Dinotropolis, Bluewater

The ban

Our ban

Banning Masha and the Bear has gone okay so far, as we just tell our daughter that it’s not available anymore. However, it is still present on her Netflix page, annoyingly. I wish you could hide things on there. I think she is becoming used to us saying no and choosing alternative programmes that we find much more suitable.

If we ever let her watch it again, we’ll be a lot more choosy about what episodes we’ll let her see.

Other Countries

Interestingly, there has been talk of it being banned in some European countries. Not for the reasons I’ve mentioned, but because of possible Soviet propaganda, including a hat that Masha occasionally wears.

Edit: I revisited Masha and the Bear in October 2021 in this blog post.

What do you think of Masha and the Bear? Are there any programmes you don’t like your child watching? Let’s discuss in the comments below!

19 thoughts on “Why I’ve banned my toddler from Masha and the Bear”

  1. Although I don’t have children of my own I can completely understand why you’ve banned your little one from watching this show! The wobbly tooth scene sounds really scary for children to watch and bless your daughter for getting so upset over it! The same sort of thing happened to my cousin when we were little. She had a video about the dentist to try and help children not be scared of it, but it did nothing but frighten her, due to similar reasons to this TV show!

    It just doesn’t sound ideal for small children to be watching, older children might understand it better but even so it just doesn’t sound like a good show all around!

  2. Oh no, that’s so sad! So many children have anxiety about the dentist, I don’t want mine to be scared if I can help it 🙁

  3. I’d not seen the tooth episode. EEk! T here is actually a lot of scary episodes in some childrens video series, which is why I too stick to CBeebies. I do think that they have a bit more of a handle on what little ones can process at their age. #ThatFridayLinky

  4. They definitely do! Fortunately, she’s a big Hey Duggee fan and we’ve been watching a lot more of that instead.

  5. I’m so so glad I’ve found this post. My son whimpers and cries when it comes on. He has had full on tantrums and meltdowns too while he has been watching it. I’ve tried banning the channels on you tube but it keeps coming up. We have bought him an amazon fire kindle and downloaded stuff that we have vetted instead and there is no problem. I kept trying find anyone else that had a negative reaction to that programme. It’s so strange

  6. I agree that it’s a terrible show. A quick note, though: the Soviet Union is long gone, and was gone long before the first episode. No one is concerned over “Soviet propaganda.” Racist russophobia at it’s most ugly…

  7. If people are afraid for their children to watch this show then they need to have control over the channels.
    I think it is a great show and very funny. We let our grandchildren watch it all the time. We as adults love it and laugh.
    It’s stupid to think that a tooth is going to make people feel like that.
    Maybe it would be better to put your kids on video games so they can learn how to shoot and kill.

  8. Oh come on! You are too sensitive, growing up in your perfect Western world. As a Balkan girl, I’ve had at least 5 of my wobbly teeth pulled out with a string. It’s a “poor country” mentality and everyone from Eastern Europe and the Balkans will get it and laugh. I certainly won’t do it to my daughter now, but I’m telling you from experience that the process is not painful at all because the tooth is already wobbly. And she did not broke her tooth while brushing her teeth, she broke it while eating candy. Why isn’t your little one afraid of eating candy then?

  9. First of all, regarding the racist part, there is no such thing as the “Russian” race.
    And “russophobia” is a made-up thing coined by Russian propagandists and Kremlin bots.

  10. Okay, this started off pretty reasonable then got ridiculous with the last sentence. The popularity of this show shows that lots of people do find it funny. However, I did find myself having to start changing the channel when it was on as my then 2 year old was often becoming quite hyperactive and naughty after watching it (unlike other shows). You say it’s stupid that a tooth is going to make people feel like that – but do you have the mind of a 2 year old? No. But it did make her feel like that and her feelings are completely valid. The problems with tooth brushing it caused was the nail in the coffin for us.
    In reference to the last sentence, why on earth would anyone put a 2 year old (or even an older child) on a shooting/killing video game? Age restrictions are there for a reason and for the most part, parents will understand the maturity of their child.

  11. Hmm, fair enough! I can neither confirm nor deny whether the accounts I saw writing this stuff online were propagandists or bots.

  12. Okay, firstly you’re deluded if you think I’ve grown up in a “perfect Western world”. Secondly, I did have a tooth pulled with string – and it was painful! Thirdly, fears aren’t always logical. Even less so when the child in question is a 2 year old! I can’t answer why she wasn’t afraid of eating candy. However, she’d never eaten candy at that point, so perhaps that’s why her fears weren’t applied to that. Somehow she linked the tooth brushing part to Masha’s tooth falling out. No matter how times I tried to explain in different ways, she couldn’t understand that the tooth falling out wasn’t due to the tooth brushing. That’s part of the problem with 2 year olds, it’s difficult to reason with them and you can’t always make them understand things. We had several problems with her and this show, hence why we started changing the channel when it came on and not letting her watch it.

  13. As another Balkan girl, I can confirm Sanja’s comments. Pulling your wobbly baby teeth out with a string is a quite common « grandma remedy » in Eastern Europe and I don’t know a kid who hasn’t tried it at least once (even I, a dentist’s daughter have tried it and all my baby teeth either fell out on their own or were extracted by my dentist mother). Also, as Sanja pointed out , Masha cracks her tooth because she eats too much candy. In the final scene she brushes her teeth in order to avoid having her other teeth crack or get cavities which is a really good lessons for the kids (brush your teeth or else they’ll rot and crack because of too much sugar). And while I understand that a two year-old’s brain might make some illogical connections, I feel the author of this blog is unduly blaming the show for some of the issues her daughter had after. My son has been watching Masha and the Bear since he was two years old and we never had any problems. In fact, we watch it together and he always asks questions and we have discussions about Masha’s behaviour. In any case, each parent has the right to do what they thinks is best for their child and if for some that means banning the show, so be it.

  14. I’m a new mommy to a gorgeous baby girl who’ll be turning 2 this month, and I’ve let her watch a couple of episodes of Masha and the Bear; so far I didn’t like it, more specifically because of the main character (Masha). I’ve found her to be completely annoying, rude and selfish, and not at all cute. My daughter has been acting out during and after watching this show on Treehouse. So after reading this blog and finding other parents who didn’t this show either, I’ll be deleting the show on our pvr and banning my little girl from ever watching it again.

  15. Our son (and daughter) both love/loved Masha. I agree, at times, her behavior is a bit much to handle. We really had to take time with our oldest to explain Masha’s behaviors. Fortunately, she understood. Our youngest seems to be doing the same.

    I agree some Masha episodes are “scary,” but if pay close attention, there’s always a lesson to be learned. For example, the tooth episode you mention has an entire song about Masha eating too much candy and having to go to a dentist. While my children weren’t scared of that in particular, it served as a great lesson on teaching my kids why they can’t just eat sweets.

    Furthermore, you say the animals are constantly annoyed by Masha. They are much of the time I agree, but you’re also ignoring episodes when she is gone and they miss her. Masha, though hard on them, seems to unite them most of the time. I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head now, however, I recall one episode where Bear is sitting, looking at Masha’s picture, missing her. There is another episode where Masha and Dasha (Her cousin from Moscow) return on a train to find Rosy and other animals playing with her toys. At first, the animals seem annoyed but quickly come back around to Masha.

    All in all, I think you are pushing your own narrative and simply “cherry picking” what fits your narrative and what doesn’t. It’s great for people who need reinforcement that censuring and taking things away, not explaining and taking time to talk to your child, is the right way to parent. All the things my parents took from me/censured me from, etc., are still things I love, use, listen, watch today. Best of luck, but be careful pushing “hit job” narratives that are designed not to give a fair assessment of a children’s program. That narrative pushes one sided thinking that doesn’t educate as much as it just enforces one persons opinion.

  16. Hi John! Thank you for taking the time to write this well-rounded comment! This post was written a couple of years ago now. I think at the time, my daughter was too young to understand my explanation of what was going on and how brushing her teeth wouldn’t cause her teeth to fall out, it was all the candy Masha was eating that gave her a problem. Stopping my daughter from watching it at the time was definitely the right thing for us. Having read your comment, I think it might be time for us to give Masha another go. Perhaps it was simply that my daughter wasn’t mature enough to be able to understand the messages and her behaviour escalated as a result. While this was my opinion at the time, opinions can change.

  17. I have come late to the Masha story – as a grandmother. I must admit that in the beginning I found Masha a bit irritating and bratty but my little granddaughter just loves this show so we have been watching it together. Most of the episodes do have a values lesson. For example, today we watched the one where Masha is unhappy about being small and not growing fast enough and consumes a growing potion that turns her into a giant. At the end she is grateful for returning to her size and says its good being small. I think raising children is about balance and being able to show them different things and talk about these things. I don’t think we prepare our children well if we limit their exposure to a very sanitised world &don’t discuss things that are different. Unfortunately, despite the efforts of so many, there will always be bad behaviours in the world and we need to equip our children to deal with these.

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