Do you ever wish you watched less movies? Even though we cut the cord on our TV 22 years ago, we do watch movies/videos together at home. I often find myself feeling the need to lead our family to watch less. Years ago, we mainly used videos for helping older kids with entertaining younger ones while Dad and Mom went on our weekly date night. But over the years, it seems we have allowed more and more time to be consumed with night time movies and videos. Beside the mindlessness of it, I often regret wasting the time it takes from our family’s purposes. While I continue to work on finding the right balance, I want to share a couple of tips that have helped us in your desire to protect your children from being exposed to words and images from which they need to be protected:
1. Always Preview
If you don’t have a TV so that your kids won’t be exposed to random words and images over which you have no control, the same principle applies to videos and dvds. It is very time-consuming, but I cannot count the times we almost showed the kids something that we just knew didn’t need previewing only to discover while previewing that there was an immodest character or inappropriate word, etc. The previewing process sometimes leads us to decide that the movie/video in question is not worth showing to the children. Other times, it lets us know where the “fast-forward” parts are or the “everyone look away” parts. While it is easy to think that since a Christian company made the movie/video I don’t need to preview it, how can I know that they have the exact same values you do?
* As our older teens hit 16 or 17 years or so, we have occasionally asked them to preview “kiddie” movies for us. But even this is rare.
* We have also discovered that we can watch “Andy Griffith” and “Father Knows Best” without previewing as long as we read the episode synopsis to make sure it is not about subjects we want to avoid.
2. Read About It
Before Kathy and I rent a movie in the first place, I will often read about it at Pluggedin.com It is amazing the difference it makes to read the actual content (they have paragraphs on spiritual content, sexual content, violence, etc.). When you see in print what you are going to subject yourself to, it helps you make a more mature decision. Especially if you a parent who skips step one (previewing), you ought to read the description on pluggedin.com. It will save your children (and you) from many regrets.
3. Content Filters
Some have purchased content filters for their dvd players. This is a pretty good option for many. My friends who own them really like them. There are many great benefits to these filters. The only reasons I have not purchased one yet are: (a) you still don’t have complete control – someone else is still determining which scenes/words will be omitted (b) in our case, I know our kids would tell all their friends that they “saw” certain movies and then those families might watch the unfiltered version and (c) I know in our case it would lead to even more movie watching.
Those reasons aside, you might consider such a device.
I hope you are helped by what we have learned from others over the years. Each family charts its own course and I am glad to share ours with you. Of course the easiest way to avoid all this is to fill your time with better things. But since I frequently find myself wanting to gather the family to relax with a video, I share with you these tips that have help us make it better.
On a related topic, see Internet Safety
One of the biggest blessings of having children together a lot is that they can become close. We have 8 kids. They fight sometimes. But we work through forgiving. All three girls share the same room. All four older boys share the same room. That’s the ways they want it. They learn to take care of and put up with siblings. When I got married I knew nothing about children. I am so happy that my kids will have a head start on where I was. Kids. A lot of work. But the most rewarding work I do. Thanks, God.
The kids were watching some cooking shows with their grandparents and started brainstorming about a spoof. Yesterday afternoon they wrote, filmed, and edited this spoof. Enjoy!