As a parent of growing kids, I find that navigating popular culture is a never-ending and exhausting task. What is okay to let the kids watch, see, and listen to? What kinds of television, music, movies, and video games are being marketed to children today?
It can be challenging to keep up.
Finding the answers is never easy, but I am convinced that protecting our kids from negative influences and engaging them in conversations about the aspects of popular culture that are contrary to Christianity is one of the most important things we can do.
I am happy to have CultureGauge.com as a new weapon in my parental arsenal.
Jim Havens is the man behind the site. From the about page:
[Jim Havens] recognized three ways parents were dealing with the popular media: the unaware parent (“it’s not so bad”), the overprotective parent (“I will shield my child from all media”), and the wise parent (“I need to raise my child to understand the popular media messages and teach them how to reject the bad and choose the good”). Jim began thinking about an idea for a resource to help the wise parents. He called it Culture Gauge, and he hoped to launch a component of parish youth ministry to serve parents with this new idea.
At CultureGauge.com parents have access a Weekly Briefing that gives an overview of popular items in music, games, television, and movies that are currently being marketed to children and teens. It gives a thorough analysis of each of these items along with an overview of the “messages” young people are likely to hear in the words and images.
I like how in addition to a “caution rating” for each item, there are also suggested questions for parents and kids to further discuss the issues brought up by media. These discussion questions are a great resource for parents who say Yes to some kinds of media, but want to continue having open conversations about the challenges some of these kinds of entertainment might present to their faith.
I also like how the reviews of popular songs, movies, and books pull no punches. They are honest about the good and redeeming qualities that are found in some otherwise objectionable fare, but unafraid to lable certain products for what they are: Toxic.
There are different levels of affordable membership at CutureGauge.com. This is a helpful new means of support in that all-important job of protecting our families from unhealthy influences while preparing our children to engage the culture as adults.