A couple months ago, the 85th Academy Awards were broadcast on television.  We missed it and from what I’ve read, it sounds like we didn’t miss much.

The next morning, I remember reading how tasteless and “un-family-friendly” many viewers found the Academy Awards show to be.  Host Seth MacFarlane evidently pulled out all the stops and launched one tasteless joke after another, drawing the ire of many viewers.    

That got me wondering about something.  As parents, at what point do we say, “I’m not watching this,” or “We’re not watching this?” 

Undoubtedly, there is an interaction between the type of content and the age of your children.  I have noticed that I was less concerned about good guy/bad guy violence (such as in a Die Hard movie) when my boys became older teens than I still am with sexual content or crude humor.  You may have different sensitivities.  Of course, some material is inappropriate no matter what a person’s age may be. 

Here are a few questions that may help you as you decide where to draw the line with your kids:

1. Is this material age appropriate for my kids? 

2. If I’m not sure, would I rather err on the side of being a little too cautious or a little too permissive?

3. What does my gut instinct tell me? 

4. If religious faith is important in your family (it is in mine), does this material line up with what God says is appropriate to watch or listen to?

5. What message does this material send to my children?

There are helpful screening websites that can help you evaluate movies before you watch them, such as and  These have been very helpful resources for our family and have helped us to simply take a pass on many movies. 

However, as kids become teens, this becomes more of an art form than an exact science.  One approach that has worked well for us has been to agree ahead of time that if mom or dad felt the movie was inappropriate at any point, we would simply stop it and watch something else.  This has worked well for us on several occasions.  We simply stopped the movie, discussed why we thought it was inappropriate, and then decided on something else to do or watch together.

Every family has to navigate these waters and there is no one formula for all.  But, where you draw the line will send a message that your kids will remember.

Where do you draw the line with your kids?

What approaches have worked the best for you in guarding your kids from inappropriate material?


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