There’s this great website called ScreenIt that I used to use a lot (until it became a paid service) to get an idea of what potentially offensive material was in a movie before I went out to see it or rent it. I’m not sure if it’s changed at all over the years but there were a couple things that I really appreciated.
First, it was very (very) detailed. No profanity left un-noted. No suggestive material swept under the rug. No surprises when I did finally sit down to watch the film.
Second, it was nonjudgemental. It wasn’t giving its opinion on the violence or sexual content or themes, it was just presenting the film’s content clearly so that I could make an informed decision on whether or not I wanted to watch it.
Generally, I believe these areas are firmly in the “Christian liberty” department. The Scriptures don’t give a whole lot of specific prescriptions or proscriptions concerning entertainment. There are general principles to be brought into play, but it’s up to each believer to seek wisdom before the Lord in what they do or don’t consume entertainment-wise.
In the spirit of ScreenIt, I’d like to present my own content notes on books, both children and adult, along with the reviews I post to my site. There have been several instances where I have purchased or borrowed a book, only to discover that it was laden with more sex or profanity that I will personally tolerate, and we all know how hard it is to keep up with our kids reading the older they get (I certainly can’t read every book they are interested in beforehand), so hopefully this will save you all some time.
My content notes will not be as detailed as those I mentioned from the film site, but hopefully they will be helpful all the same. Here’s a breakdown with some helpful notes to navigate the ratings.
|No profanity (I’m not including things like “shut-up” and “stupid” here, but what is generally considered profane (sh**, a**, etc.)
|Extensive profanity (in other words, it is a constant presence throughout.)
|No violence (Violence is absent from the plot)
|Minimal violence (Maybe there is a single instance of violent behavior, or the violence is very tame/childish)
|Significant violence (could indicate frequency or that what violence there is is fairly graphic in nature.)
|No sex (romance in any form is not present)
|Minimal sexual content (a kiss here or there or perhaps a romantic relationship takes a prominent role, but is not physical)
|Some sexual content (more mature physical sexuality is present, but always behind the scenes and not graphically described. Some suggestive material.)
|Significant sexual content (physical intimacy and strongly suggestive elements are present and described in some detail.)
|Prominent sexual content (Detailed sexual intimacy and suggestive material feature prominent and repeated roles in the plot.)
|Notes on potentially offensive themes (drug use, witchcraft, etc.) will be made here.