We are getting pounded by digital blitzkriegs every day. Media and entertainment are all around us. Thankfully so is education and information. As adults, we are attuned to sift the wheat from the chaff; but our kids aren’t, however precocious they might be.
So, how do you decide which movies are family-friendly and which should be dealt with parental censorship? Perhaps, you check the reviews, watch it beforehand, or just go by your judgment.
These are good filters, but they aren’t sufficient when reviews (in many instances) are biased. Movie reviews and ratings help but they are also pushed with commercial considerations.
These four movie and media rating websites can help you become responsible parents by helping you with family friendly movie reviews.
This is an independent non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that tries to communicate trustworthy information for digital consumers. The site’s tools and forum tries to match content with age appropriateness. Using the rating scale available for movies (also, games, TV shows, apps, books, websites etc.) on the website, you can decide what’s watchable for kids or for the entire family. The site uses established child development principles from some of the nation’s leading authorities to determine what content is right for which ages. The indicators used as can be seen in the screenshot below:
The site has a few other handy tools like a minimum age rating bar if you have multiple kids; star-ratings for the general quality of the movie; reviews by age; and a very informative newsletter.
Here’s another site that addresses parent’s concerns about sex, violence, language and drug use in movies by reviewing the latest films and home movies. The site grades a movie on violence, sexual content, language, and alcohol/drug use. An objective overall grade is also tagged to the movie. Each grade is further explained. What also helps are the conversations that happen around the movie. The ratings are applicable for US and Canadian audiences. Here’s a review snapshot for Captain America:
The site also has a section called – Get The Big Picture which discusses parental issues using articles and blog posts.
The non-profit organization supports family friendly viewing by placing movies under the lens and rating them on criteria of – Sex, Language, Violence, Drug and alcohol use, Nudity, and Other. The organization says that it promotes movie reviews based on traditional Judeo-Christian values. Each movie that satisfies the guidelines gets the Dove seal of approval. Movies also get tagged with a descriptive line like Dove “Family-Approved” – Suitable for any age. Reading through the reviews, I found most of them to be on the button. Just a few were strict. For instance, here’s a positive review on ‘The Tree of Life’.
Rating movies based on age appropriateness is just one of the sections on this blog. Beliefnet is more on spirituality and good living. Latest movies are reviewed by ‘Movie Mom’, Nell Minow who tells you which movie is right for you and your family in a friendly casual tone. There are a few more interesting categories on this blog like – For Your Netflix Queue Archives, Great Movie Moments Archives, Neglected gem, After the kids go to bed, Movie Mom’s Top Picks for Families, and more.
With the help of these four movie review and rating websites, you don’t have to sit through a movie with a finger on the remote. You can snuggle up and enjoy a family movie without a discomforting thought. What’s your take on the movie ratings published by these web services? Do you agree?
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