In this day and age it can be incredibly challenging to protect children and grandchildren from inappropriate content. Between movies, music, books, video games and websites, ensuring that youngsters in your care are only exposed to age-appropriate media can seem like a never-ending task. Who has time to read or watch or listen to every single thing your child is interested in prior to allowing them access to it?
But making sure children aren’t exposed to subject matter that is too graphic, violent or otherwise inappropriate is, of course, very important. According to Dr. Michael Sonenblum, MD, FAAP, a physician at a pediatric practice in South Florida, violence, suggestive themes, and strong language in TV programs and video games can have a lasting effect on children.1 In fact, psychologists have linked childhood exposure to violence through the media to aggressive behaviors in adults.2
Fortunately there are helpful online resources available for parents and grandparents to help them make the best possible choices for the children they love.
- Common Sense Media has a library of more than 20,000 reviews of movies, books, apps, TV shows, video games, websites and music. Reviews are by age, entertainment type, learning rating, and genre so you can easily narrow your results to find what you’re looking for.
- Kids In Mind was created because parents felt the MPAA rating system on movies was too vague. The website gives you access to very detailed movie reviews, including specific information about sex and nudity, violence and gore, and profanity.
- Parent Previews states that its goal is to give parents an idea of what they’ll encounter when they take their kids to the movies. They look at a film’s violence, sexual content, profanities and substance use as well as both positive and negative themes included in the scripts.
Regardless of what you’re allowing your children to watch, it’s important to make sure that media use doesn’t cut down on the time you spend talking with and engaging young children.
When they are “plugged in,” join them and watch movies and television shows together as a family. That way if your children have any questions or concerns about what they’re watching—or if they just want to snuggle up and laugh at something silly—you’re right there with them.
The holidays are a great time cozy up under a big blanket with mugs of hot chocolate and watch holiday classics together. Visit Common Sense Media for a list of the best holiday movies for kids of all ages.
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