How to know if a movie is OK for your kids

boywatchingtv“But MOM, Jenna’s allowed to watch it!” How many times have we as parents heard that one? More times than we care to count. Helping our kids understand our reasoning behind limiting their movie choices is not out of unhealthy control, but out of love. A desire to shield them from inappropriate sexual content, crude humor and terrible morals are only a few of the reasons we pay attention to what they watch. For more information on the effects of media content on our kids and what you can do about it, we suggest Guardians of Purity.

Here are a few broad guidelines by Julie Hiramine (based on her talk: “Through the Eyes of a Child”). Julie did large amounts of research on children’s brain development, and the way they interpret movies. These guidelines are based on her findings.

For Ages 2-7, look for movies that have:

  1. Straightforward plots
  2. Inspirational stories with real life characters their age
  3. Real characters that solve problems similar to their own
  4. As many imitation-worthy acts as possible

Ages 7-11, look for movies that have:

1. Characters who solve problems together

  1. Real life dilemmas
  2. Informative programming
  3. No content that might “awaken love” – especially steer away from adolescent romances

As your children grow and mature into their teen years, so will their movie choices. Here are some guidelines if you have children Ages 12-15:

  1. Before going to the theatre or buying that new movie, read the review on PluggedIn.com
  2. Teach them to use their convictions about movie content. Sometimes it’s appropriate to ask them questions such as “sweetheart, if our pastor were over would you turn on that film?” If their answer is “no”, then that’s an indicator the movie might not be ok

Set family guidelines, and have everyone stick to them! Commit to keeping your viewing choices honorable

  1. Be on guard against sexual temptation or sensuous movie content
  2. Check out a great DVD player we love called Clear Play. It does a great job of filtering out swearing, sex, violence and more. They truly do an excellent job, and it’s perfect if you know the Friday night movie just has that one scene or swear word. NOTE: if you watch a movie through Clear Play, make sure your kids know. Otherwise the tables could be turned, and your children’s church friends might be going home and saying “But dad, [insert your child’s name]’s allowed to watch that!”

CLICK HERE to find out more about ClearPlay

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