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Movie Ratings, Family Movie Reviews & More!

Add your input to a growing conversation about media violence, film ratings and other topical discussions that have your family and kids in mind.

Articles

R.I.P. for the Chip? »

Heralded by many as a parent’s solution to controlling television content, the V-chip was described as "ineffective" by FCC officials in early December 2006. While others have criticized the device’s lack of use by the very people it was built to serve, having the chief regulatory body over broadcasting deem it a failure may… read more »

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Video Games - A Quick Guide to the Latest Systems »

Video games are always a hot commodity at Christmas, and this year it seems the manufacturers have whipped up an unprecedented frenzy. As I’ve spoken with parents, I detect they are more confused than ever about what systems are most suitable for their family, and which will hold the greatest chance of giving them the best virtual bang for… read more »

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Video Games—A Few Fast Picks »

When people complain that they have a difficult time finding movies or television programs suitable for their kids, I usually respond, "Wait ‘till you look for a video game!"

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Why TV and Dinner Should Be Forever Separate »

Parents are always searching for "cures" for our kids, aren’t we? A cure for bad grades, bad friends, or perhaps even more serious issues like involvement in drugs.

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Cocaine: Snort It, Guzzle It, Promote It »

Use of illegal and "recreational" drugs is truly becoming an epidemic that has reached crisis proportions. We’ve spent millions of tax dollars attempting to educate North American societies about the consequences of using these substances, and then in a moment, all of that proactive training is undone by a celebrity’s thoughtless… read more »

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Phil Vischer—Moving Into “Mid-Life” »

The "Father of VeggieTales" filled us in on his beginnings and why he chose to start creating animated singing and dancing vegetables in a conversation started in the first half of this column. (Missed it? Then have a click and get filled in… [http://www.parentstv.org/PTC/ publications/rgcolumns/2006/1019.asp])

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Articles

Phil Vischer—The Father of VeggieTales »

Many of us have had a "bad day" at work. But imagine working for yourself for over a decade, building up an internationally recognized product, and then losing it over some legal issues that are later deemed to not be your fault. I don’t know about you, but by that point I’d be bitter, twisted and ready to give up.

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Articles

Food for Thought—Eating and Television »

Thankfully the TV dinner is disappearing—at least in the area of the world where I live. I have mixed memories about sitting with the little tin foil tray balanced on my knee while watching The Beverly Hillbillies. I say mixed because it was fun being entertained during dinner, however the food left something to be desired. Cardboard… read more »

Articles

Jackass: The Movie? Or the MPAA? »

Please forgive the questionable title on this column, but it certainly is a question that begs to be answered after checking out the content in Jackass: Number Two, a "movie" (better described as an obscene circus act) that has left many—including hardened liberals—wondering just what does the MPAA consider NC-17 content?

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Articles

Spinach and Media—Deadly? »

Last week saw the unfolding of two apparently unrelated tragedies. First we learned of toxic spinach that had been tainted by E. coli. It appears that somewhere, somehow, the animal fertilizer used to help spinach grow had come in contact with the leaves and made its way into the product’s packaging.

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Articles

Races Divided For Fall »

Considering the efforts being put forth by public schools and other thoughtful groups to encourage children to overlook racial prejudices and visible differences, our media moguls are persisting on offering reminders as to why we should continue judging people based on their skin color.

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Articles

We Should Remember Steve Irwin’s Life—Not His Death »

For many adults and children, the news of Steve Irwin’s death (best known as The Crocodile Hunter) was a shocking reminder that no matter how famous we are, we can’t cheat what will be the inevitable ending to all of our mortal lives.

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Articles

Parents Are More Concerned about Media Than Peers »

We’ve long ago heard the old adage about the importance of picking good friends, but it seems most parents are far more concerned about picking good media, according to a recent study completed by a Brigham Young University professor.

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Articles

Is the MPAA Giving In on CLERKS 2? »

A friend of mine who has been reviewing movies from a traditional artistic viewpoint for decades pulled me aside at a screening a couple of weeks ago.

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A Serving of Research Leftovers »

In the process of looking for new topics about media and how it affects families, I often come across little tidbits of information that aren’t quite enough to fill up a complete page, but are still interesting for parents to know about. So this week, I’m serving up some "leftover" European research about television viewing… read more »

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Why the End of Edited Movies is a Good Thing »

I know this will be a controversial stand to take with my audience, but this week’s judgment by U.S. District Court judge Richard P. Matsch, who declared businesses that edit nasty bits out of Hollywood movies are "illegitimate," is actually a good thing for not only the movie industry, but for the future of family entertainment as… read more »

Articles

Is MySpace the Right Space for Your Children II? »

Carol (not her real name), a twenty something single mom, received a very personal revelation of how the popular social network service MySpace.com is being perceived by the media and those who are not part of the site’s fan club.

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Articles

Is MySpace the Right Space for Your Children? »

It was only three short years ago that MySpace.com began its new life as a "social network service"—the technical term for a website where people can create their own web pages and post virtually anything about themselves and—with obvious legal ramifications—others.

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Articles

Balancing Media and Family in Maryland »

A few weeks ago I received a letter from a reader of this column. Here is a portion of that correspondence:

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Articles

Cinemanow or Cinema-no »

In the same way upstart Napster forced music companies to begin taking a hard look at legally offering their artists’ works online, movie pirates are forcing the hands of major studios to consider the same plan.

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Articles

Webcams: Who’s Watching Whom? »

The "future" is often defined by our technology. Only a few decades ago, I remember reading about "picture phones" that would allow us to see the person we were speaking with. Now, with the help of the Internet and computers, that vision is reality… although the craze hasn’t caught on to the point where every phone… read more »

Articles

“Activate” Your Children »

I spend a great deal of time telling you how to watch better television, play "nice" video games, and decipher media messages. But with summer around the corner there comes a time when you need to help the kids "unplug" and find some new engaging activities—at least until it rains.

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Articles

Is that Email for Real? »

I often write articles informing parents about things that could affect their children, but this week, it seems appropriate to tell both parents and kids to listen up.

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Articles

Want to See a Movie? Parents May Want to Wait a Week »

At the risk of sounding like a complaining film critic, this year Hollywood is changing the rules of the game, and it may ultimately affect consumers—particularly parents—more than critics.

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Articles

The Technology Crystal Ball »

If you’re a parent of children today, chances are a decade ago you were still "without children" or perhaps had a young toddler. And, as you watch your offspring get taller, louder, and develop an ever-increasing ravenous appetite, you may be wondering where the past ten years went.

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Articles

Unrated Movies Further Erode MPAA System »

There is so much attention given to media rating systems lately that many may be led to believe that no mainstream movies are being released to DVD without some sort of rating stamped on the cover. However, a growing trend on store shelves shows yet another indication that the real creative geniuses are not sitting in the writers’ or directors’… read more »

Articles

Don’t Be Fooled by Hip-Hop’s Newest Dance »

Many parents haven’t got a clue about Lil’ Kim, Lil’ Romeo, B2K, or the various other artists sitting in the CD stores’ Hip-Hop bins. Even so, it’s likely they have a bad impression of this genre anyway… regardless of their kids’ wishes that they’d give it a second listen. While I am no expert… read more »

Articles

From Family to Pornographic: The Spectrum of Anime »

You may have heard the term "anime" (pronounced ANN-ih-may or AH-nee-may) batted around in your family. If so, you may already be the owner of a growing collection of DVDs with colorful covers of big-eyed childlike adults saving the world.

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Articles

Product Integration: The Elusive Art of Buying Audiences »

If you watched last year’s season of The Contender—a boxing reality TV series where prize fighters get a chance to punch in the big ring at Caesar’s Palace for one million dollars—do you know what happened an average of 500 times per episode?

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Articles

Pulling Young People Into The Matrix »

I’m often asked to present media sessions in schools. I’m amazed how frequently arms shoot up in an elementary classroom and “The Matrix!” is exclaimed in response to “What’s your favorite movie?”

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Articles

Movie Ratings: Not Suitable for Adults »

Often critics and other film industry types lament and whine over why a movie received an R-rating when it deserved a PG-13. This nonsensical demonstration of supposed artistic rights doesn’t win much sympathy from my mouth for one simple reason – these vocal opponents have long forgotten the true purpose of the movie rating system.

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Articles

Falling on Deaf Ears »

If you ride mass transit, you may have had the experience of sharing the music from another passenger’s personal stereo. Recently, I could clearly understand the obnoxious lyrics of a teenaged girl’s music, even though she was sitting many seats away from me.

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Articles

Grandmother Leads Fight Against Porn »

You’ve been through the tragedy of having your husband die from cancer, leaving you with eight children, the youngest only two-years-old. Later you find the right man to marry, and your children meet his thirteen to bring the total to twenty-one. Over the years, you accept another sixteen young people – with their own distinct challenges… read more »

Articles

With Enough Time The Truth About TV Violence Becomes Clear »

Your nine-year-old is complaining once again because he has the only parent in the world that won’t let him watch violent television programs. And you find yourself wondering once again if you’re just too picky.

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Articles

V-chip for Video Games »

If you’ve done your homework, and have enabled your "shields," your TV’s V-chip should be helping you manage what your children watch and your DVD players should have their content rating features activated. But what about your video game system? You may have decided your kids won’t be playing any M or AO rated games,… read more »

Articles

Oscars Cold Shoulder to Families »

A recent article in the entertainment industry trade magazine Variety talks about the great amount of money the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and ABC Television are spending to convince masses of people the upcoming Oscar telecast is worth watching. They are especially concerned after news broke that far more Americans were… read more »

Articles

Cuts in Panther Lead to Box Office Success »

After screening the latest Pink Panther film a couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t help but be surprised at the lack of objectionable content. There are some mild sexual innuendos—one involving the infamous little blue pill—but I was expecting the gags to go out of control. Not so. Instead, the short comment or sight gag… read more »

Articles

Once Again, Parents Are Being Told What’s Good For Their Children »

I’ve been keeping a lid on my opinions regarding Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 for the simple reason I have not yet seen the film. Up to this point, all I can do is surmise Moore may be more of a publicist than a filmmaker. He’s certainly managed to whip up a frenzy that will ensure him attention at the box office when the movie… read more »

Articles

Once Again We See the Power of Media Influence »

I’ve read well over a hundred studies that cite the various affects of media on audiences—usually young people. The bookshelves of knowledge continue to grow, with early research being conducted primarily on the topic of violence in films and on television. As time has passed, an even broader range of issues have been examined, ranging… read more »

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