3 Better Ways for Families to Watch TV and Movies

Is "screen time" turning into "all the time" at your house? Understanding the effects of electronics on our children can be s tricky issue, but these resources will help lighten your load and experience television and movies in a way you can feels good about!

How much time do your kids spend watching tv or movies?

Take a minute and estimate the average.

If you have little ones, it might help to know that an episode of Daniel Tiger is roughly 23 minutes long. I know in our family, it’s easy for 3 episodes to go by before I have breakfast cleared and cleaned and am ready to begin an activity with the kids. Right there is 66 minutes of screen time before we’ve really even started our day!

What about you — what number did you come up with?

Average TV viewing Stats

In 2009, the Nielsen Co. reported that kids’ TV viewing reached an 8-year high, with 2-5 year olds watching TV for more than 32 hours per week, and about 28 hours per week for 6-8 year olds. (source) That’s about 4-4.5 hours per day!

How does your family fall in that statistic? Higher? Lower? Right about average?

Alternative solutions for TV viewing

There are a thousand reasons to cut back on the time you allow your child to sit in front of a screen. (Don’t believe me? Give this article a quick scan.) But whether or not we limit our kids’ screen time, families can make better media choices. 

If you are going to allow your kids in front of the screen, be discerning about what you allow them to watch and get involved in what they’re watching.

Limiting or filtering their choices is a great first step when seeking to minimize the influence of TV shows and movies on our kids. Options are available to help limit negative exposure and teach positive messages while your family watches television.

Below are three of my favorite ways for kids and families to watch TV.

Better Choices for TV Viewing

Jelly Telly

I was recently introduced to Jelly Telly and have loved this option for my kids.

JellyTelly provides shows where God is real and His Word is true. It’s a streaming service which offers faith-based shows for kids.

As part of their mission the team at Jelly Telly declares ::  “We want JellyTelly to be a place where … the shows and movies your kids watch over and over again reflect what you believe about God, and lead your kids into a life of faith where they walk with God every day. … We encourage kids to pursue a life of faith, a relationship with God, and a redemptive mission in the world.”

Jelly Telly currently has over 90 shows and movies in their library, and our family was super excited to see shows like Character Builders, Owlegories, 3-2-1 Penguins, What’s in the Bible, the Sugar Creek Gang, Last Chance Detectives, the Jesus Storybook Bible videos, Hermie & Friends, Theo, Paws & Tales, the Torchlighters, and even Mandie!

In addition to shows and movies, Jelly Telly also offers worship music videos like Slugs and Bugs, Hillsong Kids, and Seeds Family Worship!!! These have been perfect for our chase-the-grumpies-away dance parties and our family worship times.

Jelly Telly can be accessed online or through the Jelly Telly app, available for iOS, Android, Roku, Kindle, and soon – appleTV (yaaay!).

I think Jelly Telly is best for families with young children, as there aren’t as many options for kids 10 years old and over (unless they’re watching with younger siblings), but the price is affordable and the value is significant.

In addition to the streaming options, your family will receive a weekly family devotional PDF to use for family devotions, and you can find fun games with Bible-based themes when you log in on their website.

At 4.99 a month or $49 for the year, Jelly Telly is a very reasonably priced, wholesome option for tv-watching, and a great family-friendly pick for a clutter-free Christmas or birthday gift!


If you’re looking for great movies and TV shows to share together as a family, Pureflix is a great choice for you. Pureflix goal is to be “the most trusted family-friendly video-streaming source on the web.”

Their mix of family-friendly & wholesome entertainment includes movies for all ages, kid’s animated titles, documentaries, how-to’s, hobbies, educational, health & fitness, sports, outdoors and travel plus many inspirational and devotional titles.

Unlike Jelly Telly, which really focuses on kids under ten, PureFlix is a great option for the whole family.  However, not all of PureFlix’s options are based on the Christian faith or doctrine — some are simply more wholesome options than what you’d find in modern media.

Pureflix’s catalog of movies, shows, documentaries, and other entertainment options is quite large, with over 1,000 options in their library and these can be streamed through their website, iOS or Android apps, through Roku, Chromecast, Amazon FireTV, and in 2017 on AppleTV, Playstation, and XBOX.

Pureflix is great for family movie nights and wholesome entertainment for adults or kids. It costs $7.99/month, but you can grab a free month here to test it out Grab a free month here and make sure to download their super helpful entertainment guides.


VidAngel is another type of streaming service, but it is unlike Jelly Telly and Pureflix,

VidAngel is unique in that it offers families a way to filter movies, allowing them to watch what is popular now (or has been popular over the years) without the language, sexual content or violence.

A subscription to VidAngel is free, and you purchase the rights to a movie or TV series (for $20), set your filters, and watch! Once you’re finished watching, VidAngel buys the feature back from you, resulting in only $1 (or $2 for high-definition options) spent for each selection.

Legally VidAngel is not allowed to alter the movies and shows to make the editing unnoticeable to you, but it is perfectly legal for you to choose what you want to filter, which is what VidAngel allows you to do. This, however, does cause you to miss certain dialogue or scenes (depending on your chosen settings). Filtering a kids’ animated cartoon movie would result in a different viewing experience than filtering a horror movie. (This of course leads me to stating the obvious — filtering for language or certain content does not filter worldview, point of view, or genre of film. You must still be discerning in what your family watches and talk through what you view.)

Whether or not you set high or low filters, VidAngel is an extremely low cost streaming option for your next family movie night. It’s about the cost of visiting a Redbox — without the trip there and back, of course, because you simply stream your selection through their website or through your Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, or Android TV.


How about You?

How do you filter your family’s viewing options? What’s your favorite way to watch TV together?

For the family,

Erika // erikadawson.com


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