Movies for Teens: How do you Know Which Ones are Appropriate?

Last Updated on August 30, 2016 by Diane Hoffmaster

As of less than one month ago, I am officially the parent of two teenagers.  It’s a rather scary thought, to be honest, and I seriously hope I don’t screw it up somehow.  There are so many external factors that influence how our teenagers mature and very few of them do parents have any actual control over.  Teens get so much of their knowledge from peers, books, TV and movies that it’s a wonder any of them become productive adults nowadays.  Have you seen what Hollywood is throwing at us left and right? Trying to decide which movies for teens are appropriate has become very difficult.

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I tend to be a fairly liberal parent but I still want to know what they are watching. When I actually sit down and check out some of their favorite YouTube stars or glance at their top teen sitcom choices I am usually horrified.  This kind of stuff was not around when I was a teen!  Or, maybe I was just very sheltered.  When your kid asks you to watch a movie, how do you know if it is appropriate?  Here are a few ideas for screening those movies for teens that you may have questions about.

movies for teens

Base photo courtesy of Morguefile

Movies for Teens: Which ones are Appropriate?

  •  Box Office Mom: This website allows parents to make an informed decision about what is appropriate for their children, pre-teens and teenagers. Not necessarily movie REVIEWS…but will tell you what types of content it includes.
  • Common Sense Media: Allows you to sort by age and type of media.  Also a very good resource regarding current issues and hot topics surrounding kids and media.
  • Your own village support system:  Ask your friends who’s kids are the same age as yours.  Are their teens going to be seeing it?
  • See the movie yourself:  I know, this one isn’t always possible.  However, seeing the movie is really the only way to decide if it is appropriate based on your own personal value systems.
  •  Kids in Mind:  They do not assign an actual rating based on AGE but provide three different ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE & PROFANITY.  The ratings are on a scale of 0 to 10, and they also explain in detail why a film rates high or low in a specific category.
Another thing to keep in mind is that as our children become teenagers, we have much less control over the things they do.  They go to friends houses, have access to the internet, hang out with friends unchaperoned, etc.  While YOU may tell them they can’t watch a particular movie, they very well may go over to their friend’s house and watch it anyhow.  If they are the only one of their peers that has not seen the hottest new movie everyone is talking about, the pressure is high for them to check it out.

No matter which movies for teens you decide to let your kids watch, make sure you keep the lines of communication open.  Discuss with them the words and situations that arise in these movies.  Make sure they know that they can come to you with questions.  Because while movies for teens may be getting more and more questionable, strong parental guidance and and open line of communication can help balance them out in the real world.
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  1. This is SO great!! My oldest is only 8 but I'm sure in a blink she will be a teen, which is a horrifying thought. I'm so glad there are other resources out there!
  2. This is so great I have a fourteen year old. We are always looking over his shoulder an checking out what he is watching. Thanks for these tips. It will help us so much.
  3. This is such great tips!! It really is scary what can be a teenagers finger tips these days with technology! Being involved and monitoring is one of the best things you can do as a parent!
  4. I'm not ready for teenagers! These are great resources for parents so that we can stay on top of what our kids are watching.
  5. What great tips. My littlest is only 6 but I am definitely forwarding on to a friend with teenage daughters. Thanks!

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