You’re ready to put The Wolverine into the DVD player, then suddenly you wonder if this movie will be a problem for your 8-year-old. Well, will it?
If you’re a parent with a family who loves movies, you’ve probably realised that you need to be able to get some reliable information on those movies before you show them to the family. But navigating the various movie sites to find child-friendly titles can be a chore.
Today we’ll explore a few of the best movie review sites for kids so that you can choose the best go-to site for your family’s needs. We’ll also show you the best ways to get drip-fed some useful information about new movie releases too. Then you can line up your Netflix list and get watching!
The Common Sense Media site has a unique way of showcasing their film reviews. Latest releases are shown in a list just with a poster, quick one-sentence blurb, age rating, and star rating. If you click through, you get to see a short video review of the film, featuring a few short clips from the film with a voice-over review. This really is great, as you can see for yourself the sorts of characters that are in the film. The reviews are also very comprehensive, letting you know if there is any educational value as well as covering the usual parental worries – and they’re not afraid to tell you if they just don’t like it much! If you can’t watch the video for whatever reason, you can usually click through again to a text version.
Plugged In is a family review site for movies, TV series, games, books, and music. It is seriously well worth a visit if you want to be certain about the suitability of any given entertainment for your child.
The reviews are very detailed, and categorised into positive elements, violent content, sexual content, and more. Their summary icons are limited in order to be simple to understand. This site is available to follow on Facebook, Twitter, or via their Focus On The Family apps.
Movie Guide is focused on movies and reviews in general, and doesn’t set out to have family-focused reviews. However, it has summary pages with information that families would need to make a decision. Each review page has an easy-to-read chart showing language, violence, sex, and nudity levels. It also starts the review with a very brief paragraph on potential issues families might have with the film content.
Follow Movie Guide reviews via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, RSS, or on YouTube.
Kids In Mind have very wordy reviews, focusing on three major areas of concern for parents: Sex & Nudity, Violence & Gore, and Profanity. Each film has an easy-reference chart showing the severity of content in these areas, but the review proper has a lot more information available.
Follow Kids In Mind on Facebook or via their iPhone or iPad app. Also, iPad users should check out our guide to watching videos on the iPad and Android users should read up on our list of tablets you would let your kids use.
The Box Office Mom site appeals to parents as it gets straight to the answers you really want to know. In the full review, each of the following points is also elaborated on, so you can find out more detail if you’re still unsure.
Each film has entries for:
- Rating (Her star-rating guide)
- Release Date
- MPAA Rating
- Best Age Group
- Sexual Content
- Violent Content
- Crude or Profane Language
- Drugs and Alcohol Content
- Will it Appeal to Kids/Teens?
She seems to cover any and all movies that teenagers will bug their parents about. So, there are a few R rated movies in the mix, some of which get a big NO, while others could possibly be viewed by mature 17-year-olds.
You can also browse the site by genre, box-office favourites, or DVD favourites. If you want updates on her new reviews, you can subscribe using RSS, Facebook, and Twitter.
The Kids Pick Flicks site has a good point: Why should kids care what a 50-year-old man has to say about movies? To turn that around, they offer a site full of reviews by kids and teenagers.
This, I feel, is an awesome way to find out for sure if your kids will even be interested in certain films. It’s also a good way to get your kids interested in reading about movies — or maybe even reviewing them themselves. In fact, many of the teenage writers on this site seem to have a real talent for writing movie reviews, and could easily line up a good career in it later, I’m sure.
The site is searchable or browsable by DVD reviews or more recent movie reviews. It’s worth adding to your RSS feeds.
The Raising Children site has a lot more than movie reviews, but their movie review section is definitely worth a mention. When browsing their list of movies, you can see prominent icons which let you know what sort of movie it is and what age groups it is recommended for.
The symbols make it easy to see:
- Frightening scenes
- Inappropriate language
- Disturbing, upsetting or confusing scenes
- Sexual references or sex scenes
- Violence or scary scenes
- Age recommendations: Not recommended for / parental guidance recommended for / or suitable for.
As Raising children is an Australian site, all recommendations have been made in conjunction with the Australian Council on Children and the Media. Obviously, clicking through to the film will give you more information on the story, themes, violence, disturbing scenes, sex scenes, product placement, coarse language and ideas to discuss with your children. The last section could be really valuable as a learning tool for your family.
The Dove Foundation covers both movies and books, aiming to showcase the sorts of things that are good for family viewing. Each review comes with a small graph that shows the severity of each of the major worry points for parents: Sex, language, violence, drugs, nudity or other issues. The reviews themselves are brief and focus on what may be worrisome for the parents. The site looks a little outdated, but the content is still very good!
Movies With Kids
As a parent, I wholeheartedly recommend using all of these sites to make decisions. Some of them will obviously gel more with your family’s needs more than others, but each of them offer great information about the films out today. I suggest downloading all of the apps and following all of the Facebook pages, as this way you’ll get a drip-feed of useful information about the latest films and will have an app on hand to check when you need it.
Now, you’re ready to hit your Netflix/Hulu/Amazon queue. Good luck!
Which sites or apps do you find most useful when deciding on movies for your kids?
Image Credits: Little girl Via Shutterstock