As a husband of several decades and father of three children in the late teens/early 20s, I’ve had to grapple with the same struggles you have regarding video games and movies. As a husband/father, I make an honest effort at scrutinizing what comes into our home. Let me pass along some advice that will serve you well.
To begin, should husbands/fathers take on this duty? The Scripture says we should. Let’s look at the roll of husband first:
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his bodyEphesians 5:25-30 – ESV
Notice the parallel that Paul is drawing between the duty of the husband to sanctify the wife as Christ sanctifies the church. So, through our many decades together, I’ve been diligent to not let anything into our home that undermines my mission. Now, you’re probably wondering if we only watch gospel-based movies? 🙂 No, we’ve watched lots of science-fiction and crime dramas. How do I decide what to include/exclude? IMDB is your friend. Is the service perfect? No, but it’s usually very helpful in helping you to find questionable content. What am I referring to? Search on the title you are researching and then click on the “Parents Guide” for the information. Where you draw the line on the specifics is something you’ll have to wrestle with. My duty isn’t just avoiding bad media but also promoting good media and as a result, I’ve made it my business to notice what my wife likes and doesn’t like. She tends to want to listen to content from women and, as a result, she just loves Sheologians. So, I keep up with what Summer/Joy are doing (and occasionally listen myself) and make sure my wife has the books they are discussing. I also made sure my wife’s smartphone has a great podcast app (that I installed and set up for her) that automatically downloads and has the latest Sheologians episode ready to go. So, it’s both avoiding content that undermines a husband’s mission as well as putting content in your wife’s hands that she likes and will help her to grow.
As a quick aside, I think we would all agree that movies are getting worse as time goes on: more nudity, LGBTQ content, graphic violence, etc. As I’ve watched this happen, I’ve gone further back in time to collect classic movies, black-and-white content, etc. Readers of my Twitter account know that we long ago got rid of cable. Even on shows that are wholesome, the commercials were too much. We finally got a gut full of it and got rid of the whole service. As an example of what my wife and I watch, we are almost done watching eight seasons of the old western series Rawhide and really enjoyed it! It’s been both entertaining and educational watching them move the fabled 3000-head-of-steer across the US – “Head ’em up,,,, and move ’em out!”
Let’s talk about video games. For your kids, this is probably going to be a much bigger draw than video. In some ways, it’s been a good thing as our children have gravitated towards like-minded playmates they found at church and/or found online – they are interacting with good influences. The internet and game systems today have made finding and keeping up with your friends very easy. When I was growing up, there was no internet and you had to make do with whoever lived on your block – which was usually problematic. Before we go any further, should fathers scrutinize what games your children play?
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.Ephesians 6:4 – ESV
So, here again, dads have a duty to their children to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. It’s a broad mandate.
How popular are video games? I saw an interesting stat in the last couple of years that the young people largely don’t watch professional sports. Why? They can jump into a game and be the action rather than watching someone else. I think professional sports are all in for tough times as the years advance; the kids are just not interested. Parents, if you’re not dialed into this space, let me give you a stat that is mind-boggling. Rockstar Games makes “open world” games that are wildly popular and one of the more recent games – Grand Theft Auto – made MORE money than the combined revenue of 10 James Bond movies! We’re talking some serious money! That said, it’s a shame that the content of Rockstar Games games are so poor. We have none in our home. How can you decide for yourself? Once again, just as IMDB is a great help to movies, ESRB is a great help for video games. I wouldn’t consider purchasing a game without consulting ESRB. Very helpful!
Before we leave this topic entirely, while scrutinizing movies and video games for the family is necessary, on the flip side, make sure your home is filled with lots of good content as well. I have a very large Logos library and made sure the kids have devices to get to the material. I also have collected lots and lots of Christian video/audio over the years and host it in our home on a Synology NAS so the family can instantly stream good content. I’ve found that the fewer steps you put between consumption significantly raises the likelihood that it will be used. If the children are doing homework are want a sermon on “socialism”, they can fire up DS Audio to see what we have and immediately start listening. Fill your home with good content. Make it easy to consume.