For the first few years of my children’s lives I got to be chief censor with complete control over what they read and watched. It wasn’t exactly a difficult task. It took two seconds to flick through a book they put on our pile at the library, and I handpicked their DVDs (Maisy and Thomas were family friends). Now they’re aged nine and seven, things are a little bit more complicated. They both love to read and choose books they find in the school library or that their friends have recommended. The same goes for movies, they want to watch what they’ve seen advertised, or what their friends saw at the weekend.
Even if I could, I no longer want to have complete control over these kinds of choices, I love that they are developing their own interests and hunt down something on a particular theme or by a favourite author. But I’m still their guide and we definitely have family standards about what is appropriate to watch and read. I also want to introduce them to books and movies with positive themes. It’s great to get recommendations from other families, but I’ve also found two great websites I find very helpful.
amightygirl.com bills itself as ‘the world’s largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls’ and is a great resource for my daughter and I. It has great suggestions for books and movies that celebrate positive role models (both real and fictional) and is great when you want to try something new.
commonsensemedia.org is another good one. As well as offering suggestions based on age groups, it gives movies an ideal age range and rates it for educational value, positive messages and role models. The rating also warns about violence, bad language and ‘sexy stuff’.