How to Decide if a Movie is Appropriate for YOUR Child

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I know I’m not the only one who has heard that a movie is wonderful and then been surprised during the movie that so many had taken their kids to see it. Whether it was a scary scene, explicit drug use that I wasn’t prepared to explain quite yet, tough emotions or other scenes not quite right for your kids, how do you decide if a movie is right for your family?

How to decide if a movie is appropriate for your kids

Common Sense MediaCommon Sense Media is usually my “go to”. I don’t pay as much attention to ratings as I do the “What parents need to know” guides as well as the comments.

Common Sense MediaI usually check out the descriptions to find out more. For example,  if the “violence” meter is high I’ll check out the description and comments to determine what type of violence (human, robots, blood etc).

My kids will go to this site now as well to check out older movies and video games.

Kids In Mind is another site to check out.

Kids in MindEven with younger kids you may want to find out where the scary scenes are if you have a sensitive kid and you can prepare them ahead of time.

As kids get older, I feel like PG-13 and R movies range SO much in the type and amount of inappropriate content that it can be hard to tell based on a preview. I’ve also learned not to necessarily go by what “so and so’s” parents let them see because it feels like other kids have seen a lot of movies mine won’t be seeing any time soon (10 and 12 year olds who have seen the Hangover, for example, wouldn’t be allowed in my house).

We all take different approaches in parenting and this is just a step that allows me to make the best decisions in media for my maturing family.

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Allison Waken is a wife, mom of boys and Phoenix, AZ native. She has been creating inspiring content for All for the Boys since 2011. Allison loves travel, movies and spending as much time as possible with her family while she can!


  1. Ya, we use, too. I don’t always agree with their take on a movie, but they give a good run down of violence, language, and sexual content.

  2. Sarah Stevener Reply

    Thanks for the info. My guys are still pretty young so we stick with PG at this point but Im sure this will come in handy in the future.

    • I can’t for the life of me remember which movie it was but I did take the boys to a PG movie once and I remember thinking that I wished I had read some reviews on it first lol!

  3. Thanks a bunch!! So glad that there are more parents out there that care and check. It’s so silly to think that it doesn’t matter what they watch! 🙂 great and simple article!

  4. IMDB catalogs every act of violence, examples of language, sexual content, drug /alcohol use. It is comprehensive but doesn’t make recommendations for age groups or whether the content is redeeming or not. (see their parents guide)

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