I've been in that situation. I've relied on movie ratings and advertisements, or even "thumbs up" from my friends, to persuade me to let my kids watch a movie. But all too frequently I didn't have enough information before I turned the movie on.
There is a way to help parents understand what they are getting into - before they agree to show it. The people behind Common Sense Media have reviewed hundreds of movies (and games and apps too, by the way). The movie reviews include a summary, a recommended age minimum (Zoo's age is 12, my friend's son is 6), comments from other parents who have seen the movie, and rankings on these key issues:
- Positive messages
- Positive role models
- Drinking, drugs and smoking
Common Sense Media's review system is a wonderful tool to help you as a parent avoid those awkward or regretful moments during a movie when you are saying to yourself, "I wish I had known that was coming!" Use the guide to consider your own "hot button" topics as a parent, and use intuition about what your child can handle. Don't be afraid to say "no" to a movie, or "Let's wait until you're a little older; let's pick something else to watch." It will make for a much more enjoyable family movie experience for everyone.
Note: Although I've signed up, an account to the Common Sense Media site is not required. Just close out the pop-up asking for registration.