Rebecca Hagelin

If you’re a parent, you know what a challenge it is to monitor your children’s media habits. Frankly, you need all the help you can get.

But because your children need guidance, you know you have to step in -- no matter how time-strapped you are. So before they go to a movie, you check out the Dove Foundation’s Web site to get a detailed review of the film -- and find out how family-friendly it really is (or, more often than not, isn’t). Before they watch that hot new TV show, you hop over to the Parents Television Council’s site to see if it’s worth tuning in. And if they want to buy or rent a new video game, you pull up the Plain Games site for some guidance.

Wouldn’t it be a real time-saver, though, if everything could be on one site? Well, I have some good news for you: Now it is. Family Entertainment Central is up and running -- a veritable one-stop shopping mall for all the reviews and articles you need to make anxiety-free media choices for your children. It links to the three great sites I just cited, with the latest releases in each area front and center for busy parents.

Take the new Denzel Washington film, The Great Debaters. You may have heard that it’s the true story of Melvin Tolson, a professor at Wiley College in Texas in the 1930s. He inspired his students to form the school’s first debate team, which eventually took on Harvard University in the national championship. Sounds like a refreshing change from the usual parade of gunplay and special effects, doesn’t it?

But before heading to the multiplex with your 13-year-old, look at Dove’s review. Yes, the movie emphasizes the importance of education, and it does have some spiritual scenes. But it also has “a very graphic scene of a hanging man, in addition to some strong language.” More details about both problem areas are included, as well as the fact that “an unmarried couple spend the night together” and there are “a couple of scenes in which a woman is groped.”

Now, it may well be that some parents would decide to head to this movie anyway with their daughter or son in tow. Others might preview it for themselves, either in the theater or once it’s out on DVD. But isn’t it better to have been forewarned, no matter what you choose to do? That’s really what Family Entertainment Central is for -- to give parents the information they need to make the best media decisions for their children.

Rebecca Hagelin

Rebecca Hagelin is a public speaker on the family and culture and the author of the new best seller, 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family.
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