Want to get more family-friendly entertainment on TV and in the movies? Here's how

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Some nights I flip and flip and flip through the television channels searching for something family-friendly to watch. It blows my mind that I have several hundred channels and yet there are so few choices. The same is often true when looking for a movie for the family to go see.

I grew up watching shows that built my character. I watched television series about family members who clearly loved and respected each other. There were even television shows with faith elements in them.

But so many of our available choices today contain profanity, sexual innuendo (or more), fractured families and graphic violence. Lack of respect for others is often rampant – and one doesn’t have to look far to see that a steady diet of the bad content in many of our television shows and movies is having an impact on our youth and our culture.

Sometimes we as parents become lax or we let our standards down a bit. “Well, there’s just a little violence or sex in there, but the rest of it is fine,” we say.

But just as we wouldn’t let our children reach into the trash can to pull out a cookie surrounded by garbage, we can’t afford to fill their hearts and minds with trash. Even a little bit of bad content can make a lasting impression on young minds.

While on a recent family trip, we attended a stage show that was connected to an animated movie. What caught my attention was that when the songs began to play, every child in that vast audience began to sing, and they knew every word of every song. Every single word.

But just as we wouldn’t let our children reach into the trash can to pull out a cookie surrounded by garbage, we can’t afford to fill their hearts and minds with trash.

Awhile back, my son was working in his yard and his 3-year-old daughter was digging in the dirt. When he asked what she was doing, she told him all about a complicated process that had to do with soil.

My son was stunned. How did she know that? When he asked, she said, “I saw it on a show.” Do you think what they watch isn’t making an impact on their minds? Think again.

We as parents need to know what our children are watching. Take time to view the shows with them so you can see what’s on the screen. Yes, even with cartoons.

When our sons were young, my husband and I prescreened movies and television shows. We read movie reviews from places like Focus on the Family, MOVIEGUIDE and Christian Cinema before we bought the tickets.

It’s clear that family-friendly entertainment is needed and wanted. I’m a member of the Hearties – fans of Hallmark’s “When Calls the Heart” television series. I’ve never seen a group of more enthused fans. They love the virtues and values that are contained in the show and are grateful for something they can watch with their children and grandchildren without any worries.

Support of these fans has made “When Calls the Heart” the top-rated show on the Hallmark network. (So if you’re a producer or the president of a network, pay attention. People want more of this kind of television. And if you make it, we will watch!)

The wonderful virtues found in “When Calls the Heart” are part of what led me to join forces with Executive Producer Brian Bird to write a devotional book titled “When God Calls the Heart” that is based on this series that celebrates goodness.

There aren’t many network shows where you can find God-moments and inspiring content woven throughout the storylines.

So how can we get more family-friendly entertainment?

Watch the family-friendly television shows each week. Set your DVR to record the whole season. Go to see the movies on opening weekend. Box office sales or numbers of viewers count for a lot with networks and investors.

Send a letter, email or Facebook post to the producers of the television show or movie. Let them know they have your support.

Thank the sponsors who advertise on the shows. This is huge. Without the funding of sponsors, those family-friendly shows and films can’t be made or shown.

Tell your family and friends when you find something good to watch.

Go on social media and spread the word. Word of mouth is one of the best advertisements.

A wise parent will remember that what goes into our hearts and minds is what will come out. Make sure that what your children are watching is something that matches your values. I can promise it’s a decision that you’ll never regret.