Acceptable Media Forms?


I’m really struggling lately with acceptable media forms in my home, for my children, my husband and myself. Specifically, movies, music for iPods, and books. My family has a large collection of all three, and I really want to make sure I’m not subjecting my young children to something that is harmful. Obviously, profanity, sexual images – these are a given. But it’s the subtle messages that I worry about, perhaps ones I’m not even picking up on.

Someone emailed me a list of acceptable secular movies compiled by a priest, I think. I was surprised by how many popular movies were included, and even further surprised that many of them had profanity, sexual images and crimes involved. My family has a lengthy dvd collection, as I mentioned, many dating back before we converted to the Church. I’ve done several “housecleanings” getting rid of movies that were over the top, I thought. Oddly, however, some of these same movies were featured on this email list of “ok” movies.

I guess my question is, what should we avoid when it comes to media? Are there any helpful aids (lists, websites) that help us know which evils are too great to watch on film, hear in music, read in books? I’m really struggling with finding my balance here, and any advice would be appreciated.


I am curious which ones were popular movies that the priest on the list that you had issues with? Could you post the list and perhaps that will help with some suggestions for you.


Not every movie, song, book, TV show is right for every person. Also, every family will have differing levels of what THEY find appropriate.

If we were going to ban any media because of sex and/or violence, the Bible would be on the banned book list.

For instance, rates “Live Free or Die Hard” as Teens and Up, it contains
"Much graphic and deadly violence and gunplay; brief sensuality (no nudity); recurring profanity and crass language, including a somewhat muffled instance of McClane’s trademark four-syllable obscenity."

Simply because decent films says teens and up does not mean that every family should show this movie to any child once they hit age 13. Parents decide what will work for their kids and when, how much to allow and how much to filter.

DH and 17 year old DS watched this movie last weekend, it is not my taste so I did not watch it. When DS was 8, we would not have allowed him to watch it.

There are many web sites with lists, use these as starting points and find what works for your family.

Decent Films
Fish Eaters

are a few with movie reviews/lists


You can’t go around sanitizing everything, two things are really important I believe:

  1. Does it portray evil as good? Is it inherently morally twisted?
  2. Is this age-appropriate?

For example, there is nothing inherently wrong in a film that has a killing, or a robbery or another form of crime if the bad guys get it in the end and the moral is crime doesn’t pay. That being said, I wouldn’t want my 8 year old to watch Die Hard. 15 year old, that’s a different story.

I liked the latest Die Hard though. :slight_smile:

Please, don’t turn into a Catholic version of the bizarre fundamentalist Milleu that I grew up in where everything has to be G-rated and have a Christian fish on it and a “Focus on the Family” seal of approval before it can come into your home. Yuck.


Yes! Mschrank, I totally agree. You just said it better than I could when I tried to post.

A PP mentioned that we would ban the Bible if we used certain standards too rigorously. I mean, King David purposely gets a man slaughtered so he can get it on with that man’s wife in peace. (so he thought…) The tax collectors in the Bible were cheats, taking money from people that they needed to feed their children or buy necessities. But the message in the end was that these kinds of things don’t pay and you will always be punished for them. (Though you can also be forgiven…) So if we banned the book because of the horrible actions of the people in it, then the redeeming message would be lost. It has to be taken as a whole.


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