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Is This Movie Really Family Friendly?

How do you determine what is safe for your child to view? With the barrage of movies, television and video games at their fingertips this summer, it's important to evaluate what we allow to pour into our children's minds. Ratings help, but they don't get at the heart of the issue. These four questions will. Don't evaluate media in your home with out them!“Mom!  Dad!  Can I see this movie?  I really want to!”

Sometimes it’s hard to know how to respond to that question.  What if the movie is PG or PG-13?  Or what if your child wants to play a video game which has an E rating but includes violence?

When you are deciding what kind of content is appropriate for your child to watch, there are general guidelines that every family can use.  Here are four questions you can ask to decide whether or not it is wise for your child to view a particular movie, program or video game:

What factual data is my child learning from this program?  If there is factual data, is it correct?  You want your child’s mind to be filled with truth.  If the program communicates a distorted vision of reality instead of how life works in the real world, you don’t want your child watching.  You want your child to be exposed to things that are real and not a distortion of reality.

What kind of character traits is this program seeking to build in my child?  Is the main character someone I want my child to copy?  If the humor comes from cutting others down, being rude, or showing disrespect to authority, that’s a red light.  Positive programs will teach your child to care for others, work hard, resolve conflict, or overcome obstacles.

How does this program treat family members?  Television sitcoms often degrade men and fathers by making them lazy, fat, or stupid.  What messages are your child hearing about men, women, marriage and parents?  How is the family represented?

Is this program consistent with our family values?  A child is running into all sorts of values during his or her early years.  You can’t control what your child sees outside of the home at school or other places, but you can control what they are exposed to during screen time at home.  What is viewed on screens should be in keeping with your family values, or it should be off limits.

By asking these four questions, you can filter out poor media choices.  Seek to find positive movies and video games that will add – not detract – from a great summer with your kids.


Arlene Pellicane

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  1. Good topic,and perhaps even more important for the parents, themselves.

    As adults, we give ourselves a pass on censorship…we think we can handle it. But the effect of a really good movie can be insidious. Gals, ask yourselves this…after seeing an action movie with a strong and attractive hero who swears, does your husband have more trouble controlling his language for awhile? I rest my case.

    We need to set the examples, not to give the kids an object lesson, but simply to live by the example of what we will and will not accept in our lives.

  2. There is little entertainment that meets the criteria you’ve written. I don’t disagree with the questions you’ve asked and I understand the goal of teaching our kids God-centered values. Might you consider that part of the teaching our children as we walk, as we talk, as we live life is acknowledging the difference between Christ-centered lives and secular lives? My 9 yr.old and I talk constantly and consistently about the way men are portrayed as buffoons, the way teens and young people her age are portrayed as having little interest on anything but the opposite sex and the prospect of sex, about how intimacy is overlooked

    1. My finger hit the post button. Unintentional and regrettable.
      My point is we are in this world. I want my kid to recognize the folly of not following Christ. I think we underestimate our children’s ability to discern entertainment from reality. We are well able to watch entertainment without having it affect our speech and thoughts. A lot of “family” entertainment is poorly written, especially that which is aimed at a Christian audience. Granted, the last few years I’ve been more impressed with Christian entertainment that actually entertains instead of panders or paints an equally distorted view of the life of Christians as soft and bland. Life is messy for all of us and we all like a few moments to be distracted by a show or a movie. Isn’t that the point of entertainment : to entertain us? I don’t look for Disney or ABC Family to teach me or my kid values or world views. I’m not advocating for either of these sources because neither promotes the type of entertainment I enjoy watching all that much.
      I’m perlexed, though, by what genre of sitcom or movies meets the fact – check besides documentaries.
      I appreciate being able to discuss this, though, because we all want to sit and enjoy movies and TV with our families.

  3. Why is anybody who calls themselves Christian even having children nowadays? We are living in the end times. Jesus did say “Woe unto to those who are with child in the last days!” Here we are being assaulted with influences that are not godly! How can one properly raise a child, in this world? Lets’ not forget the cost of doing such has gone up! I’m more concerned about saving my soul then passing on some ridiculous family name. I believe what Jesus said when he said “Seek first the kingdom of God”

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