From time to time I get thinking about what makes for appropriate content in a kids’ movie or film. What defines a “kids’ movie” or what makes for “family-friendly” entertainment. I find that the answer to that question to be very ambiguous, and entirely subjective to personal preference. What was “family-friendly” back when our parents were growing up is completely different than what passes as entertainment for our children now. That raises in my mind two questions that are worthy of discussion:
- What constitutes a “family-friendly” movie or entertainment?
- Why should we care about the production or consumption of such entertainment?
As we look into the definitions and give it just a little thought, we may find our desires to become more selective in what we choose to watch increase.
What constitutes a “family-friendly” movie or entertainment?
If you are not new to my blog posts and other writings, you’ll know that I’m an adherent believer in a Supreme Being who has a vested interest in the success of families and of the children that are born into those families. If that be the case, then I would venture to say that a “family-friendly” film is one that promotes the success of family life and those values which foster an environment of love and caring relationships for the children that are brought into our homes.
That does not in any way require that a film be didactic or that the entertainment value be compromised for it be worthy of the family standard. It simply requires that the entertainment not endorse or support false ideals, poor behavior, or immoral thought or humor. Quite to the contrary, family values promotes in entertainment a lifestyle of respect and understanding in the family setting. Such entertainment depicts parents and children interacting together, working together, living together, and loving together. Frankly speaking, this is hard to find in much of today’s entertainment.
Much of our kids’ movies show individuals, many times children, separated from parents (a child’s greatest fear) showing them having to go at it alone. Many times the children in such entertainment are successful when left to their own devices, never learning the value of the parent-child relationship. There is much lacking in the field of entertainment that truly depicts family the way that it could and should be.
So if there are so few films that truly fall under the category of “family-friendly,” what is there left to watch. Well, quite a bit, if the entire family can get engaged. A successful definition of a family film is one that mom, dad, and children all sit find something of value in the entertainment presented.
We found one such film recently, albeit, my children protested until it actually started. Many of these films fall under the category of documentary. We found one on origami, that my older boys became really interested in after a few minutes. Admittedly, my young boys continued to protest throughout the film demanding to watch the Pink Panther (which I didn’t oblige). But at the end, we were talking as a family and interested in the different topics presented in the film.
Part 2 where I’ll address the second question will be posted soon.