Parents, Bookmark These Sites!

51af94d1a351c27119Parents, want to know more about the music, movies, and apps your teens talking about? Below are three sites you should visit often to get more information on things like music, movies, and apps. Check them out and then bookmark them so you know what your teen is listening to, watching, or using on their smartphone.

Common Sense Media. This is one of the best sites to get information on things like movies, music, apps, and other things. In particular, their movie reviews are extremely helpful and insightful. They are written for the purpose of parents so they tell you everything you need to know from positive and negative messages, violence, sexual content, and language. Another thing I like about their movie reviews is they always have a “Families can talk about…” section that offers questions and discussion starters parents can use with their children about the movie. Click here to see their movie review of the popular movie “The Fault in Our Stars” for an example of all these things. They also offers these same kind of things for their music reviews. Click here to see their music review of the popular song “Fancy” Iggy Azalea. You can also check out reviews on books, apps, and video games.

Plugged In. Plugged In is a ministry of Focus on the Family and is pretty much offers the same thing as Common Sense Media does. In addition to movies, music, and game reviews they also offer some other helpful stuff on their site. One of them is what they call the “Family Room.” In the “Family Room” parents will find tons of articles and conversations starters for parents.

iTunes Charts. Most teenagers have iPhones and on those iPhones they are downloading tons of apps and hundreds of songs. iTunes charts let you see what the top songs and apps are. This is extremely helpful because your teenagers are probably listening to the top songs and using the most popular apps. Once you see an app or a song you know your teen has said something about, jump on over to Common Sense Media or Plugged In to get a review of it.

There are many more helpful sites out there for parents, but these are three that I am always pointing parents to. Parents, inform yourself with what’s going on and what is popular in teen culture.

Teens, Movies, and Sex

I recently ran across a Fox News article that appeared on the Youth Culture Report. In a nut shell this is what the article says:

A new study has found that sex scenes in movies have an impact on the sexual behavior of teens who watch them.

The article goes on to say the following:

Those who had been exposed to the most sexual content in movies had become sexually active at younger ages and were more likely to engage in risky behavior, the study reported.

You can click here to read the rest of the article. Basically the article explains that research shows that teens who are exposed to sexual scenes in movies are more likely to participate in sexual activities. Before I go on, let me just say, this is research and research is not always perfect. Just because a teen sees sexual scenes in movies does not mean they will defiantly participate in sexual activities. But research does reveal some truth and trends. This research shows that teens who are exposed to sexual scenes are more likely to participate in sexual activities at a young age.

So how do student pastors, youth workers, and parents respond to something like this? How should this affect the way we watch movies as well as how we direct our teens to watch movies? Here are some thoughts I would like to share with fellow student pastors as well as parents.

1. Filter the movies you watch with God’s Word. Teens need to understand that God’s Word is relevant to every part of their life, even movies. Not only teens, but adults need to filter the movies they watch through God’s Word. Here are two verses that should help you with this. In Psalm 101:3, the Psalmists says that he “will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.” Probably one of the best verses to help you filter movies through God’s Word is Philippians 4:8. Paul tells us to think on things that are  true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellence, and worthy of praise. God expects us to watch movies Biblically.

2. Don’t trust the movie ratings. This has been something that has bothered me for a long time. Christian parents and teens determine what movies they will or will not watch based on its rating. The problem with that is movie ratings are established mostly by non-Christians and in a non-Christian industry. So why should we think movie ratings help us make Biblical choices on what movies we will watch? Don’t get me wrong, ratings do help us make wise choices, but God’s Word is a higher authority and is more relevant to a Christian teen than the movie rating.

3. Parents, youth workers, and student pastors need to be consistent in their movie watching. Many times parents and student pastors encourage teens to not watch certain movies, but then they watch those movies themselves because they are more “mature.” I’m guilty of this myself. My prayer is that God will help me be consistent in my teaching and conduct of life. If I believe a certain movie is not wise for a Christian teen to watch, than I should think very carefully before I watch it. We need to keep consistent standards.

These are just three things that I have been thinking through in response to this article and research. Please don’t think I am going all “legalistic” about this, because I am not. I am thankful the Gospel frees us from legalism and in Christ we have freedom. Movies and Christians is a broad subject that is not a simple “black and white” issue. It’s an area we need to follow the Holy Spirit’s direction and be discerning based on the principles revealed in God’s Word.