The same that makes your actions in every-day life acceptable or unacceptable. Every story comes with a conflict. In a good story this conflict is heightened until the audience bursts with curiousity on how the hero might resolve the many challenges brought upon her / him. It is the resolution of this conflict, which makes a movie spiritual movie children more than anything.
Brute force vs. constructive resolution
In many movies it is simply the stronger wins. It makes us happy to see the hero win and if the cause is just, almost anything goes: cars exploding everywhere and the bigger parts of the city laid to waste. Of course these scenarios have not a lot to do with reality, but the number of people who think they need to teach their children to be strong (or more essentially stronger than others) is frightening. Only in a constructive resolution both involved parties can come out as winners. Otherwise there might be resentment, which may lead to an even more severe conflict and more violent responses (and this is what we don’t get to see often in movies when heroes respond with force).
Criteria for child appropriate movies
– Constructive resolution of conflict
– Positive message
– No profanities or coarse language
– Feel-good atmosphere
– Age-appropriate content
– Creatively stimulating
– Sexuality and nudity
Positive message: A movie, which comes with a positive message will have an influence on your child’s values and conduct. It is essential that you talk to your children about the message of a movie and emphasize on its importance if you want to make sure it understood the meaning.
No profanities and coarse language: Children playfully learn or to say it in different words: children’s way to learn is by playing. They observe and imitate, which is a very powerful way of learning and let’s be honest here: is there a more enjoyable way of learning? By imitating what they hear and say, children also adopt language and make it their own long before they fully understand what everything means. Hearing coarse language will make healthy children adopt, because that is what they do: they learn!