Media Discernment

Family Media and Internet Safety

The Internet, social media, mobile phones, tablets, and movies are part of daily family life. How can parents help protect and guide their children from inappropriate images and messages?

Focus on the Family's media and internet filter resources are intended to equip families with the tools. Our current preferred providers, Net Nanny and ClearPlay, offer software for online protection and movie filtering.

In addition to using filtering controls, talk to your children about the importance of safe boundaries online. If you need help with this or with other family topics such as finances, please contact us.


    In a world where staying connected online seems to be a reality for most families, it's important to proactively talk with your children and set up boundaries to help protect them from exposure to pornography and other inappropriate content. We've listed a few of these guidelines below.


    Important guidelines to help protect your children online

    1) Establish rules and healthy age- appropriate boundaries with your child. Sign and agreement that includes things like time of day, how much time, as well as some of the other guidelines covered in this list. You might have different boundaries depending on the device (tablet, laptop, smarthphone, mobile game, etc).

    2) Have open, honest and ongoing discussions with your child about online safety and the need for discernment when using technology. This is a great time to build trust and responsibility with your child.

    3) Proactively invest in Internet filtering software such as Net Nanny that protects multiple devices and allows you to know where your child is going online, who they are talking to and what they are saying. Net Nanny offers protection against pornography, online predators, cyberbullying, and more.

    4) Don't let your children give out personal information on the Internet or social networking. This includes addresses, telephone numbers, name or location of their school, their parents' names or photographs.

    5) Set boundaries for video game consoles in regards to multi-player options where language and other content is not regulated.

    6) Learn about technology's impact on the brain from our broadcast "The Digital Invasion" - Part One and Part Two.


    With movies and media available to your family 24 hours a day through network and cable television, DVD and online streaming providers, it's important to be discerning and make informed choices about what constitutes acceptable entertainment in your home. While popular movies can be entertaining, uplifting and inspiring, they also can war against the very values you as a parent are trying to instill in your children. A number of studies have found a correlation between viewing violence and aggression. The same goes for sexual content in entertainment and teens acting out sexually.  So, it only makes sense that parents take a proactive approach when it comes to today's media.

    Here are a few guidelines from Bob Waliszewski, author of Plugged-In Parenting:

    1) Have an honest and ongoing discussion with your children about the importance of protecting their minds. In fact, Waliszewski recommends having this talk at least twice a year.

    2) Use a filtering software like ClearPlay for playing DVD and streaming movies in the home. Set it to remove unwanted violence, profanity, nudity, and sexual dialogue and content.

    3) Make it a habit to read movie reviews from to find out about what is in the movie before choosing it to view in your home or at the theater. You can also follow up with a discussion about the movie afterwards. If you are making decisions on the go, get our free mobile app.

    4) Read about the man who tried to clean up Hollywood.

    5) Model wise entertainment decisions. It's an absolute certainty that if you say one thing and do something else, your children will pick up on it sooner or later.

    6) Consider putting your family media guidelines down in writing.

Digital Magazine Subscription

Thriving Family iPad Edition

Find inspiration and help for your family with Thriving Family’s iPad edition.

This award-winning marriage and parenting magazine offers reliable and time-tested solutions and celebrates God’s design for the family. In every issue, you’ll get:
• age-specific parenting advice
• faith-based family activities
• marriage tips
• media reviews
• inspirational audio and video clips
• fun, interactive digital features, and much more!

Find it at

    Net Nanny Ad

    How safe are your kids online?  Safeguard against pornography, online predators and much more. Trusted by Focus on the Family®.
    Clubhouse Jr. & Veggietales

Featured Websites
From Focus on the Family
  • Plugged In
  • Boundless
  • The Family Project
  • For Kids
  • The Truth Project
  • Be a Voice
Featured Websites
Websites for Kids