There is actually a rating system that dictates to families what is appropriate for our kids, but who actually made them in charge of the menu? You see, according to Hollywood standards, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) was formed to decide on the proper menu for your kids. And here is what they concocted as a healthy menu:
“G” is for all audiences; “PG” is for parental guidance needed for kids to see this movie; “PG13” means that some material is not appropriate for children under 13. “R” means that children under 17 are required to be accompanied by an adult.
While a rating system gives parents some parameters, let’s take a deeper look at what the MPA determines to be appropriate for our kids menu.
Depictions of violence are generally restricted to PG and above. The violence in a PG rated film will not be intense, while violence that is both intense and persistent will generally require at least an R rating. Violence is not prohibited in G rated films, but if present will be minimal.
Profanity is usually restricted to PG and above although G rated films are permitted to use words that are deemed impolite; Usage of such an expletive in a sexual context will also generally garner an R rating; nevertheless, the ratings board may still award a PG-13 rating passed by a two-thirds majority if they believe the language is justified by the context or by the manner in which the words are used.
Drug use content is restricted to PG-13 and above.
Nudity is restricted to PG and above, although only brief nudity is permitted in a PG rated film. Nudity that is sexually oriented will generally require an R rating.
The MPAA does not have any explicit criteria for sexual content other than excluding sex scenes from G rated films.
So, what does all of this mean? Well, if McDonalds tells you that eating a Supersize hamburger, fries and soda all summer long is not going to harm your kids, we know that is not the truth. This menu will undoubtedly satisfy our kids’ appetites but there will be long term effects on their health and personalities.
So, let’s not trust Hollywood to set the standards for our kids. Let’s be wise parents and let our own set of biblical values determine what will entertain our kids this summer.
Here are some guidelines for a healthy menu.
Movies are stories.
Every story has a message. Help your kids determine the message that a movie is trying to portray into their minds. Then refer to the Apostle Paul’s laundry list of items for believers in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (NIV).
Our eyes are the portal to our souls.
What we see affects the heart and mind of our lives. Be careful to protect what goes into your eyes when it comes to violence, sexual content and graphic horror. Jesus described it in Matthew 6:22: “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light” (NIV).
What God defines as evil tends to be accepted in Hollywood and society as normal. Be sure not to justify entertainment with glorifying sin. Psalm 97:10 says, “Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked” (NIV).
Deciding what is good and what is not good entertainment for your kids this summer will help keep their minds and behavior in check. But, it will not be easy when most of their friends are not so convicted of their menu choices. But be encouraged knowing that you are setting a higher standard and God will honor and bless you because of it.
Pastor Brody Howell is the president of Core Solutions For Family Life where he consults and teaches in churches and to impact youth and families. He is also an area advisor for First Priority of South Florida and the director of the Family Counseling Center, which offers biblical counseling for families in crises. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.