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What is Your Child Watching? [Guest Blog Post by Kimberly Mayhew O'Brien]

What is Your Child Watching? [Guest Blog Post by Kimberly Mayhew O'Brien]

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Have you noticed that movies that are geared to children are increasingly adding adult humour, sexuality and even some nudity? How can we keep track of what is acceptable and what isn’t anymore? Parents used to be able to easily distinguish what was for children by the sheer fact that it was animated. Not so anymore. Some of the most crude movies and television shows are animated now.

It is easy for parents to conclude: “If it’s popular and other kids are watching it, it must be okay.” Right? Well, let’s think about that for a minute. Would you leave your banking decisions up to your friends and neighbours? No way. Most people are in debt. How much more valuable is the treasure of our children? It’s both our privilege and our responsibility to give our children direction. For a short time they see us as the one with all the answers. We have to take that opportunity to guide them and to teach them to make good decisions on their own. If they see us relying on “what everyone else is doing”, they’re likely to follow suit.

So what can we to do about it?

Should we sit down and watch every show, movie, game and music video with them? I don’t think many of us have time to do that. Should we take away all media from them to ensure that they aren’t exposed to anything? That’s not the answer either. We must find a way to protect our children from the negative and still provide them with the positive.

I don’t have all the answers, but there is one excellent resource available online that I have benefitted from repeatedly. Focus on the Family has a website called “Plugged-In,” which allows parents to type in the name of the movie, TV show, music, video, or game that they would like to review. It then displays an outline of all the positive and negative elements so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not you want your child to be exposed to it. Movie reviews include language, sexual, drug, alcohol, nudity, and spirituality content. We’ve used it before going to a theatre and before watching a movie at home. If this is something that interests you, check out their website at

Proverbs 10:17 : The one who follows instruction is on the path to life, but the one who rejects correction goes astray.

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Comments (4)

  1. Amanda Dixie Monday - 05 / 11 / 2012 Reply
    This is excellent advice and well said, thank you Kim! I didn't know about this website, but hopefully it will still be around when Carter starts watching 'his shows' lol! So far we feel it is safe for him to watch Cat in the Hat, he absolutely loves dancing to its theme song and learning about different animals. Martin Short keeps it pretty clean ;)
  2. Kimberly O'Brien Friday - 09 / 11 / 2012 Reply
    Thanks Amanda! I'm so glad that I found it. I'm sure it will be around for years to come and you will reap the benefits of it as well:-)
  3. Amy Monday - 12 / 11 / 2012 Reply
    I received a devotional today in my email that fits this perfectly -- ___________________________ Some time ago, I was working at home during a weekday and flipped on the television to check the weather. What popped on instead was one of those midday talk shows about some sleazy topic. It shocked me. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. In fact, I dropped what I was doing and called the director of the local station that was airing the program. I was careful to be very kind and not beat the guy up verbally. He listened to me for a few minutes but gave me little in the way of a satisfactory answer for why he would promote such questionable content. So I followed up my telephone complaint with a letter, challenging him to do the right thing as a business leader, as a father, as a man morally responsible for what he broadcast into the community. Here's some of what he wrote back: Many of the programs aired on television are not to the taste of my family either, and we, like you, choose not to watch them. However, one of the things I fear most of all in any form of communication is censorship, and the Nielsen ratings are a true test of what most viewers want or do not want to watch. As weak (and utterly predictable) as his response was, I fear that too many of us are no different. We may disagree with the shows our teenagers like to watch or the music they listen to or the movies they enjoy. But we don't want to cause too much of a fuss or appear too overbearing. We're not sure it's a good way to spend our parental capital. But the shows that reach out to our kids through the television or computer screens are shaping their minds, defining what's normal, deceiving their hearts. It's you—not Nielsen—who knows what's right. DISCUSS Evaluate the viewing habits of your family and children. Is there something that concerns you?
  4. Kimberly O'Brien Monday - 12 / 11 / 2012 Reply
    Thank you so much for sharing Amy. I think you're right. We simply can't depend on networks (or anyone else for that matter) to make moral decisions for our families. It would be nice if someone would stand for what was right, but in the end, they are a business and they make money on what sells. I like the CTS station. You can usually trust that it will be acceptable content, but there is still the issue of what is acceptable for a teenager or adult may still be inappropriate for a child who isn't ready to deal with mature subjects yet. We don't have cable and tend to use Netflix or the internet to select the shows we like to watch. We just commented last night when we watched the "Pacifier" on CTS that it was the first time we had watched something on TV with commercials in a long time. Watching TV over the internet has commercials too but they are shorter and so far I haven't noticed anything sexual in the commercials either, which is another issue altogether. I still remember that Herbal Essence commercial when it sounded like she was having an orgasm after using their shampoo. Why???

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