Author, mom and Fox News writer Michelle Cox recently shared her observations of how quickly and easily her kids (and others) absorb messages from entertainment. Her stories will sound familiar to any modern parent. She wrote:
While on a recent family trip, we attended a stage show that was connected to an animated movie. What caught my attention was that when the songs began to play, every child in that vast audience began to sing, and they knew every word of every song. Every single word...
Awhile back, my son was working in his yard and his 3-year-old daughter was digging in the dirt. When he asked what she was doing, she told him all about a complicated process that had to do with soil.
My son was stunned. How did she know that? When he asked, she said, “I saw it on a show.” Do you think what they watch isn’t making an impact on their minds? Think again.
But ask any parent today and they’ll agree: finding entertaining TV shows and movies that are good for little minds to absorb is tricky. Popular services like Netflix are known for creating original content, but that content is almost never appropriate for family viewing. According to Movieguide, “Of the 20+ Netflix original drama TV shows, only two shows don’t have explicit sex, and only one doesn’t have explicit language.”
Cox lamented, “It blows my mind that I have several hundred channels and yet there are so few choices. The same is often true when looking for a movie for the family to go see.”
The good news is, we can do more than long for the “good ol’ days” of wholesome family entertainment. Here are three ways you can help bring more family-friendly entertainment to screens across the country (big and little!):
1. Speak Up!
Producers pay attention to audiences more than you think. In fact, that is a big part of their job. Studios create movies and shows that they believe will appeal to audiences. Sharing your opinion on social media, for example, is an easy way to get attention, and studios and streaming services do listen.
While the pickings may seem slim, there are actually thousands of little-known, high quality titles available. Many of these can be watched on-demand through services like PureFlix.com. Your support is not only a great way to put safe, quality entertainment in front of your family, but it helps bring even more content like it to theaters and living rooms.
Cox gets it right when she writes, “Tell your family and friends when you find something good to watch. Go on social media and spread the word. Word of mouth is one of the best advertisements.” This simple reminder has an enormous impact on the entertainment industry.
As a parent, you shouldn’t have to settle for “not that bad.” Cox included a great analogy in her article: “...Just as we wouldn’t let our children reach into the trash can to pull out a cookie surrounded by garbage, we can’t afford to fill their hearts and minds with trash. Even a little bit of bad content can make a lasting impression on young minds.”
How do you help guard your family against negative influences? We love hearing from you in the comments.
Sarah Hartland knew she wanted to be a writer from the time she wrote her first short story in the fourth grade. By the time she was in high school, she had written two novellas and countless short stories. It was her love of storytelling that led her into marketing and media.
Sarah freelanced throughout her time at Colorado Christian University, where she graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. At CCU, Sarah competed in speech and debate across the country, securing multiple awards and a national debate championship. She co-lead CCU's first-ever broadcast media program, CCU.TV, and served as the program's Student Producer during her senior year.
When she's not writing blog posts or editing a video, Sarah loves to swing dance, ski, travel, or visit her seven younger siblings in Montana.