How Do I Choose Uplifting Entertainment?

[ 4 ] Comments

by RI Editors

The For the Strength of Youth the guidelines for Media and Entertainment seem fairly straightforward, but it’s not really straightforward in practice.

Choose wisely when using media because whatever you read, listen to, or look at has an effect on you. Select only media that uplifts you.

Families can differ in the ways they interpret the counsel given about what is fitting entertainment. When LDS youth get together for a movie night or dance there is often a wide variety of what is deemed appropriate. Even within families there can be differences of opinion on these issues, not just between parents and teens, but sometimes even between spouses.

How do we navigate these differences in practice while teaching our children by word and example?

How do you make choices in your family about what entertainment is worthy of your time?

How do you know if something is worthwhile if you haven’t already viewed/read/listened it?

4 Responses to How Do I Choose Uplifting Entertainment?

  1. Liz C says:

    In our household, we don’t tend to use MPAA ratings as the base for our choice, as those standards have altered so much over the years. We instead try to go very much according to what uplifts the individual hearts and minds of the household. Everyone gets a say. No gratuitous violence or gore or children involved in horribleness (parental rule); no foul language (all); no repeated potty humor (me); no “kissing stuff” (easily grossed out kids); no dad-as-buffoon or mean humor (kids and parentals); strict limits on implausible science (nerd kids); nothing praising Thomas Edison (devoted Tesla fan-girl); no poor art/animation quality. We not only listen to song lyrics, we watch videos to try and discern the artist’s intent.

    We also have a rule that if anyone is feeling off about something we’ve started for entertainment, it goes off. Trying to train kids that it is 100% okay to listen to inspiration and speak up is really important to us, and I want them to know it’s okay to speak up even if your mom or dad were the ones who initially deemed the entertainment OK, or if the stake dance committee decided the song was fine (but the lyrics are unsuited to healthy social settings). Their inspiration counts a lot in the home; their early training and our responsiveness makes our teens a major pain in the tookus for those who’d like “Candyman” to slide at a stake dance.

    We’ve been pretty lucky in that my Beloved and I are quite united in what we consider “good”, and maybe because we do consider our kids’ opinions, they don’t give us guff about it. (Our eldest are 14 and nearly 17, so I’d expect we’d have seen some guff by this point, if it were going to happen.)

    But that’s the list of what we don’t do.

    We DO navigate the waters by explaining that not every household feels the same way about many of these things, and that’s fine, but that they should always make their own decisions based on what the Spirit is telling them to do, and that we’re always happy to “be the bad guy” or come get them, no questions asked.

    We DO listen to scads of music from all time periods, in all styles, all together. We have family dance parties. We sing along. It’s awesome. We perform some culturally-related music in public together, and take that pretty seriously.

    We DO read books as a family (is there any delight more delightful than sharing a beloved childhood book with a fresh crop of kids??). We buy our favorites (used) in hardback. When an independent reader starts a new series, we read along with them, and talk about the themes and outcomes. We do the same with shows and movies.

    We DO read reviews and opinions, and if there are thematic issues or warnings about some of our “NOPE” triggers, we just don’t bother with that particular thing. It’s the whole “don’t have to touch the stove to know it’s hot” principle.

    Our household has six radically diverse personalities, all of them forceful, all stubborn, all very different. Just in music, my Beloved is in a totally different generation than I (he listens to the Brothers Gibb without irony). I like something from nearly every genre (even rap, if Weird Al is the author), but my Beloved does not understand late 80s/early 90s indie rock or metal. My eldest hates country, except for John Denver and some Patsy Cline. The Boy listens to everything, but is not a huge fan of “girly” music about “loooove”. He does, however, enjoy Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. The 8yo is a huge, huge, huge fan of classical, and plays it for her pet chickens as a lullaby every night. The 5yo is a tiny fan of classic Big Band and related music. If Perry Como showed up at the door, I’d worry she’d desert us.

    So, just walking the lines among family preferences in music gives the whole household a LOT of practice in negotiation, tact, and tolerance for different, but still worthwhile, entertainment choices. So far, so good.

  2. Cowgirl says:

    My kids are young so content issues don’t come up. Not much to worry about with Dora and Team Umi-Zoomi. But I’m really careful with advertising. It tells kids to worry about how they look or that they deserve or need something or other. Food ads encourage addictive behavior. Some car advertisements are obviously supposed to make you think about sex. The worst advertisements (alcohol!) are thankfully not on TV and my kids can’t read yet. I saw one for Crown Royal that suggested if a woman said no to “Try a velvet hammer” to get her drunk.

  3. Diana says:

    I love to read, but it’s hard to begin a book and find there’s swearing, sex or other stuff I’d rather not be reading. I end up feeling I’m just wasting my time trying new authors. I would appreciate a ratings or warning of some kind on books like on movies- even though the ratings system for movies is flawed, you can have an idea that there will be violence (etc.) if you check.

  4. Jann Carl says:

    I cam across this question and wanted to just let anyone who might see this about a show I help produce and co-host. It’s currently on RFD-TV which is on DIRECT, DISH and various cable systems. If you can’t find it any of those ways you can go to our website and play episodes. ( We are FAMILY FRIENDLY! We travel all over the country telling stories about great things happening in small towns. We like to call it our ‘love letter to America’. We focus on festivals, long-held local traditions, faith, unsung heroes, patriotic themes, the American dream being alive and well, fun celebrations, multi-generational families with time honored family businesses, etc. We are on Thursday nights….9:30 EST, 8:30 Central Time, 7:30 Mountain Time and 6:30 PST. If you like what you see tell your friends….in order for us to make it we will need to increase our ratings. And please check out our Facebook page and like us. I think you’ll be happy you did. Thank you! -Jann Carl

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