Your Voice: How Do You Decide What to Let Your Children Watch?

We are beginning a new series on the blog called “Your Voice.” We will ask our Facebook audience a question about faith, parenting, or culture and choose replies to feature on our blog. We are looking forward to hearing from YOU about your family and the choices you make!

Family Watching TV on Sofa

We posed this question recently on our Facebook page:

How do you decide which TV shows or movies to allow your children to watch?

Here are some thoughtful replies (please feel free to leave your own thoughts as a comment on this blog post):


For our four year old and two year old, not only do we stay away from inappropriate content such as cursing and sexual content, we are also particular about the attitudes of the characters, how they treat each other, and thematic (scary) elements.


We are very honest in our explanation to them, saying that God gave Mommy and Daddy to protect them and it’s our job to protect their body, their mind, and their spirit. We just want to shield them as long as possible from things that would disturb their spirit, or plant unwelcome seeds. There are some cartoons and videos – even Christian ones – that we have turned off because the characters had very bad attitudes. These things are contagious! A few weeks ago, my grandmother was putting Black Beauty in for my daughters to watch, but my 4 year old stopped her and asked, “Is this appropriate for me?” That’s my girl! –Amy B.

This is a hard one because, as Christians, we have been fed the lie that if we are too extreme with our standards about what our kids watch then somehow our children will grow up to be “weird” or somehow not fit in with the rest of society. After much thought and trying to really grasp what God wants for our children, my husband and I decided that for now, while our children are very young, vulnerable and moldable, we would say no to any TV programs. Sounds extreme, I know, but we have been given a great task of raising our children to follow after God and not after the world.


God does desire that we as His followers be different than the world and this difference helps to shine His light brightly. I am glad that I also have a family that supports our decision. My mom keeps us stocked up with What’s In The Bible?, Theo, and VeggieTales DVDs. These videos help draw my children closer to God, not drive them farther away. How my children turn out is in God’s hands, I can only do my best through Him, to lead them to Him. –Joy H.

We bought Clearplay, it’s a DVD player that takes out undesirable words or behavior in a DVD you play at home. –Tiffany M.

We also have Clearplay and that helps with the teenagers. My 2nd grader only watches What’s In The Bible, VeggieTales, and a few old shows like Kipper and Blue’s Clues (which he still likes I think because he hasn’t been desensitized). No cable at our house either. And we watch stuff first too. –Robin S.

Honestly, I can’t trust hearsay. I have to watch a couple episodes or the movie BEFORE my kids see anything. I’m shocked at what passes for Y or G nowadays. And sure, I can’t shield them from all the “worldly” influences but we teach them to recognize bad influences. It’s encouraging when I hear my 8 year old blurt out, “Mom, this is sooo inappropriate; turn it off!” She catches things I would never have thought of. –Nea D.

My kids are both middle schoolers. When it’s “iffy,” we follow the 3 strikes you’re out rule, which applies to language, attitudes, and situations. –Amy B.

We do not have cable or satellite in our house. We choose DVDs that we have already watched and know are safe. The same goes for Netflix. We try to keep Philippians 4:8 in mind: 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. –Amanda J.

We don’t have kids yet but when we do, we want to train them how to make good decisions for themselves. When they come and say, “Can I see this movie?” we want to take them through the Philippians 4:8 test and ask them “Is this movie true, noble, right lovely, etc?”

Of course, the question is how do you know without watching whether or not it is all of this. First, what do the previews show? They usually give a really good clue about it. What reputation does it have? What do your friends say about it? And Focus on the Family has PluggedIn online, which does movie reviews.

My goal would be to equip a child to start making their own decisions by the time they are in Jr. High by talking through this with them when they are young. When they’re lower elementary and younger, I’ll expose them to the kind of movies I want them to see. When they are a bit older and starting to form their own interests, we’ll talk through these things together, even watch movies together and discuss them afterwards.

Then when they become old enough to make their own decisions, they will come and ask “Can I see this?” and I will say, “You tell me. Is this something you should see?” It’s helping kids form a godly worldview so that they can think for themselves. I don’t want to be always saying what they can and can’t see. I want them learning how to make good decisions themselves so that when they’re off on their own, they are equipped to do so! –Jamie G.

We don’t have any TV service at our house and I have always been very picky about what they watch. I use to check on movies I haven’t seen. If we do happen upon a movie or show that is inappropriate, we discuss it and turn it into a teaching moment. –Tammy M.

PluggedIn and ScreenIt are both fabulous resources. Now that we have kids ranging from one to nineteen, we are much more conscious of finding a balance between maintaining our standards and teaching or older children to make good media choices. A good bottom line in judgment is, “Is it fruitful?”

Often after my husband and I preview a film, we will be asked, “Is it good? Was it ok? Can we see it?” I try to respond with answers that remind them that just because something is not evil doesn’t mean it is fruitful. –Caroline L.

I try to discern what character qualities are being taught/displayed. Many shows aimed at grade school kids feature characters that are glorified for being disrespectful, rude or sneaky. I usually do not let my children watch new shows that I haven’t previewed, or I sit and watch it with them and we discuss why they can or cannot watch it in the future. –Tammy W.

Thank you to everyone who participated! We loved reading your responses. If you are looking for all-you-can-stream family-friendly entertainment, be sure to check out JellyTelly – available now on desktop and coming soon to mobile and Roku.

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