Summer boredom should be settling in fast by now, but it can be tough to keep up with what's appropriate for kids to read, play or watch.
Luckily we can get some tips from people who have already slogged through these things.
For video games, WhatTheyPlay.com gives parents a fast insight into game content. For example, if your 10-year-old wants to rent Assassin's Creed for his PS3 from Hollywood Video, a quick search will tell you that the complex adventure game has blood and violence, but "it should be noted that indiscriminate violence is punished throughout" the game. The blood isn't too gory, but blood is "visible as a red mist-like spray seen when the killing blow is delivered."
It also tells you that "a few f-bombs dropped, and players will hear 'b*****d' and expressions such as 'd**n you all to h***.' "
For Guitar Hero Aerosmith, the site notes the sexually suggestive songs, but found that most offensive language is bleeped out and recommends it for ages 8 and up.
For movies and other media, CommonSenseMedia.org includes reviews that are designed to alert parents of content that that might not be aware of based on the movie trailers. The Incredible Hulk, for example, is described as "graphic super-heroic violence" and it notes that, "There's a strong sci-fi/fantasy element, but unlike the gleaming technological feel of Iron Man, this movie has a much messier, more biological style."
The site takes notes of commercialism, social behavior ("Banner constantly struggles to control his temper ... ") language and sexual content ("some references to how 'excited' the lead character can get without risking turning into his monstrous alter ego").
This may seem silly to those without kids, but more than a few parents wished that Toy Story's Woody wasn't constantly calling Buzz an idiot, a word many parents try to keep out of their toddler's lexicon. And sometimes these movies need a more in-depth review when they come home and are viewed multiple times.
If you want to go old school and bring out the books, check out the Summer Reading List from the state's reading initiative at JustReadFlorida.com. It has recommendations for all ages and lots of resources for parents.
— For more parenting tips, check out tbt*'s Whoa, Momma! blog at blogs.tampabay.com/moms.