Should I Let My Child Watch this Movie?

I recently discovered a website called Plugged In, a site sponsored by Focus on the Family with the tagline, “Shining a light on the world of popular entertainment.” The website offers parents information about current movies, videos, movies, TV shows, and video games, allowing parents to make an informed decision about whether or not to expose their children to a particular movie, game, or show. For example, the movie reviews begin with a pretty extensive plot summary, followed by a description of “positive elements,” “sexual content,” “violent content,” “crude or profane language,” “drug and alcohol content,” “other negative elements,” and a “conclusion.”

What I have appreciated about the site is that each section lists the concrete instances of the element, letting parents decide for themselves whether or not they would be comfortable with their children hearing off-color jokes or seeing a character with enhanced cleavage, for example. This also allows parents to be prepared for what their children will see, giving them the opportunity to discuss these elements with their children before or after viewing. In a culture where many children’s movies are not as innocent as they may seem, this type of resource is invaluable!

In addition, Plugged In offers reviews of adult movies, which is great since my husband and I have had a difficult time finding movies that we feel comfortable watching. There is so much trash when it comes to modern-day media, but often it is hard to tell this by reading a quick plot summary. There is nothing more frustrating than ordering a Netflix movie for the weekend, only to find that we have to turn off the movie after 15 minutes because it is so inappropriate!

Have you found other helpful resources when it comes to media?

"Thank you for all your years of blogging. It has been such fun and a ..."

A Final Post
"Just for anyone researching this subject, I teach elementary music and most pop songs, lyrically ..."

Pop Music and Kids
"MA, it took me forever to comment on this post, but wanted to thank you ..."

Christmas to-do list
"Way to go, MA! That's the spirit, just one step at a time. I started ..."

Christmas to-do list

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • ckb104

    I’m 42 years old and have no children. However, I use PluggedIn whenever my parents ask for a movie recommendation. In fact, this past weekend, my family was all together and my parents were going to take my nephews (17 & 19) and me to a movie. The boys and I were choosing between two that we thought would be good for all of us – Now You See Me and The Heat. The Heat looked especially good and I thought my Mom would love it – Sandy Bullock and Melissa McCarthy are both hilarious. However, I learned on PluggedIn that The Heat has over 150 instances of “the F word.” While swearing doesn’t really bother me (or my nephews), I knew my parents would have a problem with that. Also, it greatly disappointed me. I was looking forward to seeing The Heat. I’m a fan of both of the actresses and thought it would be fun. However, the fact that they filled it with swearing and crass humor makes me not want to see it – with or without my parents sitting next to me.

  • Bethany

    Kat, this is great. I’ve never used PluggedIn, but will definitely plan to in the future! Thankfully because my kids seem to be really visually sensitive, they seem to steer away from most mainstream movies these days. We usually have to convince them to watch a kids’ movie (e.g. Ice Age), they are so resistant! I know this stage will pass, though, and then we’ll need a game plan. Thanks for posting the resource.

  • This is a great resource Kat, thanks!

  • I may be biased, but I think Patheos’s own movie section is a great resource!

  • Elisa

    The USCCB website has a media section with movie reviews. They review current movies as they come out and have a datatbase of TONS of reviews for basically all the movies of the past (this last database is a bit harder to find in the site, and uses a separate search tool than the one for current movies, look for a green bar that says “Looking for the archive”) (Media -Movie Reviews)

  • Elizabeth McD

    Steven Greydanus does movie reviews with a Catholic perspective, with useful advice on movies for kids and adults. So you hear not only about issues in what’s seen/said, but also moral concerns of themes. He also writes reviews for the National Catholic Register. (And he’s a great guy and dad too! We’ve had some nice visits with his family.)
    We’ve also used another site for very detailed descriptions:
    This lists — in excessive detail — what kinds of situations/scenes are in the movie. Cleavage, kissing, more, etc. It’s useful — not that we have issues with every detail they list, BUT it makes sure we know what degree of “sexual innuendo” or violence is really included. So, it’s a useful reference. You do have to get a sense of it, or you’ll be overwhelmed at their lists!