Day: March 17, 2014

PluggedIn – A great resource for parents and leaders

PluggedIn is a Focus on the Family publication designed to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving families the essential tools they need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which they live.

Many parents and youth leader already know about the Christian movie review website called PluggedIn.  It is a great resource for finding out which movies are age-appropriate for children and teens and which movies are not.

What PluggedIn has to offer:

Reviews – PluggedIn reviews Movies, TV shows, Music, and Games.  They also promote a site that reviews books.

Resources – Movie Night, Family Room, Culture Clips and a Blog

Content Access – PluggedIn helps you get the content you want by utilizing social media, podcasts, and mobile apps.

Leading student, whether that be as a parent or youth leader, is a full-contact sport.  It requires effort, hard-work, tenacity, and a willingness to get dirty.  Doing your homework before letting students watch a movie, play a video game, listen to an album, or watch a show on TV is a necessary evil in today’s culture.  Students are like sponges and they are absorbing their world view, religious beliefs, and character from their families, their leaders, and the media.  This is a fact.  PluggedIn helps parents and leaders face that brutal fact and equips them with information to help them navigate the influential waters of media and entertainment.



While this is a sub-section of the overall purpose of the site, I listed it first for a reason.  If you are the parent of teenage boy and increasingly even girls, the amount of time spent playing video games is growing rapidly.  While a movie exposes students to unwanted content in the form of actors/actresses.  Games expose students to unwanted content in the form of first-person experience.  Gamers are acting out these unwanted actions and behaviors as they play endless hours of the games.  As parents and leaders it benefits us to know what our students are acting out in the form of a video game.


This is the obvious one.  Most of us know that you can come to PluggedIn and search almost any new release movie and find a review.  What you might not know are the elements in which each movie is reviewed.

Each movie is reviewed on the basis of 6 elements or content features.

1. Positive Elements
2. Spiritual Content
3. Sexual Content
4. Violent Content
5. Crude or Profane Language
6. Drug and Alcohol Content
7. Negative Elements.

Each review also includes a short summery and a conclusion that gives a recommendation as to how to navigate the decision making process of watching the movie.


Album and songs are both reviewed.  The basis on which they are reviewed are Pro-Social Content and Objectionable Content with a Summary Advisory for parents at the end.

TV shows

Shows and even individual episodes are reviewed.  These reviews are in the forms of summaries, which require a little more digging to figure out what they are saying.  None the less, they are incredibly helpful if you don’t want to spend the time watching the show or the season to understand what is going on.


Book reviews are found on a related site call While the index is not as exhaustive as PluggedIn, it is still a great resource to find out what books are saying.


Family Room

The Family rooms combines all the elements in the resource section onto one page.  From the Family Room you can find the blog, Movie Night, Podcasts, and other great articles from PluggedIn.

Movie Night

This is a great resourced created by PluggedIn.  Movie night picks appropriate movies for parents to watch with their kids or teens and then provides summaries and follow-up questions to discuss.  The movies that are targeted towards kids provide themed activity sheets.  The movies for teens provide discussion questions and talking points to discuss after or during the movie.  This great resource promotes watching movies together as a family.

Culture Clips

This section of the site points you to the current issues of movies and media.  It will have the most recent movies listed, the most recent shows, and if there is a current event, it should address it.  This page tackles the hot topic issues of each week.


The blog is full of articles and opinion from the guys who manage and create the content for PluggedIn.  This is like an expanded version of the culture clips or the culture clips are an abbreviated version of the blog.  Either way you should find great content about various topics related to media and even other topics.

Content Access

How can you get access to all of this great content?  PluggedIn has made it easy.  They have provided multiple avenues for you to download, listen to, and interact with their site.  Below you will find links to each of these avenues.  I personally listen to the podcast and use the app to access online reviews.  The two-minute Podcasts keep me up-to-date on the latest movies while I drive to work and the app gives me easy access when I want more content from my phone or tablet.

Social Media

Mobile Apps