Watching Movies Can Be a Great Way to Bond with Your Teen

The older your children get, the more challenging it becomes to stay connected. As they carve out own self-identity, it seems like they stop liking things they used to like and may not even want to have much to do with you at all. Take it from someone who’s been through this a few times—and who’s about to do go through it again. Remember way back when spending time with the kids was as simple as taking them to the park to play on the swings? Now, spending time together usually means a quick trip to the video game store or the mall. Or just texting each other from opposite ends of the house. We’ve all been there, and we all secretly (or not so secretly) wish we could get a little closer to our teens. We want to know what’s going on with them, what they’re into, what’s on their minds…. But teasing that information out can be a real challenge.

But there is one thing that the kids and I have always had in common—and it’s something you probably have in common with your kids too: watching movies. Wait, so how can staring at a TV screen or sitting in a dark theater going to help you get any closer to your teenagers? Give me a second to make my case.

Movies Are Universal (Which Makes Them a Great Family Pastime)

If you have more than one child, you know that each one has a different personality. Trying to find things they have in common with each other gets harder the older they get. You may have one kid who’s really active and loves the outdoors, and another who’s more introverted and prefers coding or building with LEGO. Still, no matter how old you are, what your favorite activities are, what you love, or what you hate, there’s going to be a movie out there that will suit your interests.

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Gun Violence Has Tripled in PG-13 Movies

A study in Pediatrics has found violence in films has more than doubled since 1950, and the presence of gun violence in PG-13-rated films has more than tripled since the rating was introduced in 1985. The study, “Gun Violence Trends in Movies,” in the December 2013 Pediatrics (published online Nov. 11), analyzed a sample of the top-grossing films for each of the years from 1950 to 2012. Trained analysts coded each film for the presence of violence and guns during each 5-minute segment of the movie. Researchers found an overall annual increase in gun violence from 1985 to 2012, but the trend differed by movie rating. Among films rated G and PG, gun violence decreased slightly. The rate of gun violence did not change for R-rated movies. Among films rated PG-13, gun violence increased, and since 2009, PG-13 movies have contained as much or more violence than R-rated movies. The study authors conclude that even if youth do not use guns, because of the increasing popularity of PG-13 movies, they are exposed to considerable gun portrayal and violence, which may increase their aggressive behavior.