Movies and Videos

In the world of movies and videos on the Internet, a number of changes have occurred that necessitate a response.

A significant part of children’s time online is spent downloading and viewing movies and videos.  On the YouTube website alone, 100 viewing hours are uploaded every minute (Forbes Israel, 9/21/13).  Online movies run the gamut of types, from training videos and documentaries, to TV programs and full-length feature films, and more.  Filmmakers transmit overt and covert messages through their movies, which have a strong impact on the psyche of the young.

Though the Internet offers free and easy access to a rich culture of movies and videos, it’s important to be aware of the threats when seeking an online movie.  Unlike movies viewed on TV, there is no supervision, regulation or censorship of online movies, and a result there exist thousands of movies with harsh, violent and sexual content.  Even TV movies which are aired on the Internet may contain inappropriate sections that were removed prior to TV airing, but appear uncensored online.  There are also movies on the web that were banned for viewing in cinemas, but are now accessible online to all.

YouTube, as well as a number of other movie and videos websites, there exists a policy of censorship.  Adult films require classification as such, and they cannot be viewed when YouTube’s Safety Mode is activated.  However, tests Netivei Reshet conducted on YouTube found that YouTube cannot effectively classify all the films being uploaded to YouTube, and on occasion the Safety Mode does not prevent the opening of adult films.  In addition, any child with a Google account can disable YouTube’s Safety Mode.  The YouTube website presents a particularly serious problem because of its popularity and its extensive use, and YouTube is unable to enforce its own policies because of its huge amount of content.  It is important to know that filtering software and filtering companies are not able to effectively filter content from websites allowing uploading of movies to the Internet.

In most downloading websites and in file sharing software, there is no control over content upload.  File sharing sites, beyond violation of copyrights, allow for simple downloading of movies with innocent titles, but in reality pornographic films.

On video sites another problem that exists in the popularity of videos uploaded which contain inappropriate behavior by the youths themselves- whether blatantly lewd or sexual or other.  Contemporary culture values self-publicity at any cost to garner high viewership and receive attention in order to feel important.

We recommend adhering to the following guidelines about movies and videos:

  1. Engage kids in conversation about the lack of boundaries in the movies industry, and about the multitude of explicit content whose function is to raise the threshold of excitement.
  2. Establish rules about which movies are acceptable for viewing, and that they are quality films with positive content.
  3. Encourage children to talk about the movies they watch, especially if they contain extreme content.
  4. Be present physically during a web search for movies.  For younger children, do not allow such searches alone.
  5. Assure the safety features are activated at sites which possess them (e.g., YouTube’s Safety Mode).
  6. Adhere to copyright laws and do not download movies that restrict it.  When downloading files, be wary of viruses or explicit or pornographic content which may be disguised under seemingly harmless movie titles.
  7. Avoid viewing multiple movies, even if those containing positive content, since it will accustom the child to frequent passive activity.  It is not recommended to allow viewing of movies on a daily basis.
  8. Obtain information about movies at