We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with all sorts of entertainment. Kids seem to think they need to be entertained ALL. THE. TIME. They are drawn to the TV screen, sucked in by the computer, lured by electronic devices, seduced by commercials, and eventually ambushed by their favorite pastimes.
Choosing appropriate entertainment can be daunting. The rating system on movies leaves something to be desired. In order to protect them from the unnecessary visual and verbal information we have to be aware and prepared as parents. One of the best places to find out what a movie is really about is call Kids In Mind. It is VERY specific about the possible inappropriate material in movies. So specific that it's sometimes humorous. BUT, it allows you to be aware of exactly what is in a movie before you tell your child they have permission to watch it.
I watched a trailer for a movie recently that appeared to be a really fun movie. The trailer made the movie look intriguing and exciting. I was sucked into the teaser! But when I went to Kids In Mind, I was appalled at the material being portrayed. Kids are saying that the things being portrayed are normal for teenagers today. This thought made me feel sad. The morals in our society have decreased so much that many things are "okay" never would have been when I was a teenager. The best we can do is provide a safe haven from the world inside the walls of our homes. There, we can teach our children good morals.
Not only do we have to be careful when choosing movies, but we also need to be cautious when watching TV. The television screen brings so many things into our home. We can't control the language, or the unnecessary scenes. We can't skip over the commercials. Therefore, we must be aware of which channels provide the best, most appropriate entertainment for our families. Be an involved parent. Be aware of what your children are viewing. Make sure computers and electronic devices that have access to the internet are being used in a room where the family hangs out together often. We put our computer in the kitchen. Some put them in the living room.
Another great way to help protect our families is to purchase a parental control or protection for the internet like Kids Watch or Net Nanny. We have used both and they work well. They allow me to feel more at ease with my kids doing homework or other research online. They can't happen upon inappropriate websites or photos. It gives me peace of mind, and helps my family stay safe.
On a regular basis check the contents of your child's cell phone or electronic device. Take the time to talk about what is or is not appropriate. Be an involved parent. It takes time, but will be worthwhile in the end.
Be informed, be aware, be vigilant. Your family will thank you for it later.