Filtering Movies for the Family is Easier With These Handy Apps

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My wife and I often like to introduce some of our favorite 80’s flicks to our kids. My children are already big, repeat watchers of such classics as “The Karate Kid” and “Back to the Future” and we have to admit that it makes our hearts warm when we see them embrace our favorite flicks as their own.

In the past couple months, we’ve re-discovered many of these movies but on occasion we’ve also missed the mark greatly for accidentally picking films that upon closer review are not appropriate for children (“Grease” and “Gremlin” come to mind).

A couple weeks ago a film buff family member of mine told me about two smart phone-related apps that he uses to determine if and how he will watch certain movies with his 10-year-old daughter.

The two film parenting guides are the IMDB Parenting Guide and the Kids in Mind web site and app.  Both guides intentionally discuss movie content based on such categories as “Sex/Nudity”, “Violence/Gore” and “Profanity” and neither attempts to make value judgments about whether movies should or shouldn’t be seen.

IMDB App

Most cinema-lovers know that one of the best online resources to learn about the film industry is IMDB.com and IMDBPro.com.  IMDB smartphone app is a virtual clone of its web site but unless you pay close attention, you probably wouldn’t know that the app features an option to read the “Parenting Guide” version for virtually all films.

The IMDB app is based on the extensive archives of IMBD.com is also quite impressive because its reviews go back decades.  We randomly found records for movies from the 1950s.

Kids in Mind App

The Kids in Mind app is produced by Critics, Inc., a private company that owns Critics.com and MediaScreen.com and that has been publishing family movie insights since 1992.  Like IMBD, the app’s content is largely mirrored on its parent web site and the smartphone app comes in both a free (with annoying pop up ads) and paid version (minus the ads).

The Kids in Mind app has very well-written and detailed writing that is practically indistinguishable from the style used by the folks of IMDB but what we most liked about it is that the app uses a color-coded rating system for movies that makes it visually easier to determine what objectionable material to pay closer attention to.

The main downside to the app is that it appears to be thorough almost entirely for newer releases.  We did three random searches for various movies from the 80s and could not find reviews for them.  The pop up ads for the free app are annoying but tolerable.

The Verdict

If you’re serious about watching old and new films with your kids, chances are you will want to download both free apps but if you have to choose one or the other due to space on your phone, go with the IMDB app because it has a deeper inventory of family-focused reviews.

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