Many children are limited to watching films that carry an age appropriate rating, but that doesn’t mean they’re free from messaging.

Age-appropriate movies and television programs often include social and environmental topics, which are sometimes controversial. This subtext can cause conflict for families in many ways, serving as the introduction of topics, beliefs and opinions that challenge the rules and familial norms to which a child is accustomed.

Steve Lauer, a West County parent with pre-teen to teenage children, said, “Typically, we tend to be close to the fast-forward remote button, but usually watch movies with tough content such as torture in “Zero Dark Thirty” or “Argo.” Great movies, but real-life stuff with hard to discuss topics for younger kids.

“I believe in the right context, these type movies – “Hurt Locker” or “Taken,” for example – open a dialogue about how dangerous life can be and things to be aware of going on around us.”