I have a confession: I haven’t watched the Star Wars Movies.
Well actually, I think I have seen 2 of them all the way through, and I know I’ve watched some snippets of others. But even though I have not invested the time in watching the series, I could still tell you a lot about them. Why? Because the rest of my family has watched them all. Most of the family watched them in the release order: 4-6, 1-3 then 7-9. Another watched them in numerical order, 1-9. There is still debate on which is the best way to do it. We have also checked out almost every children’s book on Star Wars that our library has on its shelf. Side note- this led to a lot fewer clarification questions when our youngest watched the series. It was totally worth the multiple trips to the library! Because we dove into the world of Star Wars it has become part of our lives. Lightsaber battles break out. Yoda socks are worn. It has even changed our vocabulary. Yoda-ish words of wisdom come out when someone is trying to decide what to do, and quotes are triggered when certain words are said.
Important, They Are
Do you have something similar in your house? What is your family’s favorite movie series, T.V. show or video game? Minecraft? This Is Us? Marvel? Hallmark Christmas movies? We all have something that is our Go-To for entertainment. We have several friends who pick a night a week to have movie night as a family. It is a night cherished by all. Entertainment can be fun and enjoyable. It is a way to spend time with others and bond in a special way. There is so much good that can come from entertainment, but it is also an area where we need to make sure we are guarding our hearts.
Recently Nathan and I led a technology conference at our church. In prepping for it we came across a lot of good information that we wanted to share with you. We want you to be able to have those family movie nights and father son video game bonding nights, and do it in a way that keeps your hearts safe.
Guards around Technology
Remember technology is neutral, but the creators are not. It is important that we do due diligence and make sure the movies, shows and games we are choosing are in line with our family’s values. Movies and video games are not bad, they just need to have their proper place in your family. They can be a great way to connect and do something WITH your child. But they can also be a place for disconnection from the family if done alone. It is also important to remember that they can be detrimental to a heart if used incorrectly or at an inappropriate age.
Before you dive in, spend some time thinking about how you will use movies and video games in your home. Thinking about what video games and movies you will allow is a crucial step in guarding you and your children’s hearts. Hopefully the following resources provide you with the tools you need to make the right decision for your family. Most importantly, always ask Holy Spirit to guide your decisions. He always knows what is best!
We almost never watch a movie without first reviewing Plugged In. Another we sometimes use is Common Sense Media. Both sites review each movie and evaluate them for positive elements, spiritual elements, sexual content, violent content, crude or profane language, drug and alcohol content and other negative elements. This gives you the best overview of the movies and helps you make an informed decision on if it is appropriate for your child and at what age is best. Plugged In and Common Sense Media also review video games, books and music.
When you are trying to decide what video games you should allow, Defend Young Minds has an excellent article to help you make that decision. They also have a second article that talks about how to keep your child safe while gaming.
Adding filtering and monitoring to your browser and internet is a must, you should also turn on the parental controls to your gaming devices. Here is a guide to understanding the different filtering options.
Protect Young Eyes has step by step instructions on how to use parental controls for every digital device. They also have reviews and explanations on many social media, gaming, photo and video apps. Another place to look to get help with turning on parental controls is on the Bark website. Here are the instructions for Nintendo Switch, X-box, and PS5. You can also check out the websites for each gaming system for help too.
Alright now, let’s talk about virtual reality. After researching virtual reality devices, we strongly encourage you to NOT use these devices for yourself or your children. Please take the time to check out this Today Show clip. It helps me explain the why. The two main problems with virtual reality as it stands today is there is NO PARENTAL CONTROLS and there is an ABUNDANCE of sexual and pornographic content that is EASILY accessible to EVERYONE!! Sorry for so many all caps words but please pray and consider not using these devices in your home. They have a long way to go before we feel like they would be safe for our children and frankly for us as adults too. VR is a great idea that needs to mature a bit before inviting it into your home, in our opinion.
Check out these two reports for more information on the dangers of virtual reality.
Virtual Reality 101: What You Need to Know About Kids and VR
Kids and the Metaverse: What Parents, Policymakers, and Companies Need to Know
Here are the blog posts that go with these reports: Virtual Reality and Metaverse
Hopefully these resources help you feel equipped to make good and confident decisions for your family when it comes to movies and video games.
Fuller Youth Institute: 10 things every parent should know about gaming This article has a bonus download that your child can fill out if they want you to buy them a new game. This could help them assess whether or not a game is right for them.
Fuller Youth Institute: 3 Positive Effects of Gaming. Gaming is not all bad! Here are some reasons why it might be good.