Agreed. But unfortunately, the solution is not as simple as checking a movie's rating. In fact, G-rated movies are part of the problem. The O'Hara study also analyzed the sexual content in 700 films, all top-grossing films from 1998-2004. Defining "sexual content" as anything from heavy kissing to actual sex scenes, researchers found sexual content in more than a third of the G-rated movies, more than half of PG-rated films, and four out of every five R-rated movies.
Short of prohibiting movies all together-an unwise and unworkable solution--there are some things a parent can do. First, use websites that provide specific information about movie content, rather than a reviewer's judgment about an appropriate viewing age.
Websites like Pluggedin.com and Movieguide provide not only specifics about movie content but also analysis from a Christian perspective. (PluggedIn offers reviews of music and gaming products as well.) Two straightforward secular sources are Screenit and Kids-in-mind-both provide valuable descriptions of specific movie content, including sexuality, violence, and language. One caution-a few websites, such as CommonSense Media, offer age-ratings to help guide parents. But organizations which lean left, as CommonSense Media does, or are tied in tightly with entertainment industry folks, can't be relied on by parents who want to raise children with traditional values. The Parent's Television Council at www.ParentsTV.org is an excellent resource for information on the content of popular TV shows and offers great movie reviews.
Second, talk with your children about sex. While sex won't be a casual dinnertime conversation topic, you need to create private time with your teens to explore their feelings and questions about sex. If we're silent, our teens will learn about sex from friends and the movies-a route that's sure to normalize sexual risk-taking.
Third, stay in the loop. Talk with other parents and get to know your teen's friends. Realize that at some point your child probably will see something too sexually explicit, whether at a friend's house or on a computer. Keep the conversations going and remind your teens that Hollywood is a world without consequences.
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