I hate to admit this, but I’ve been sitting on an awesome secret. Not on purpose, but somehow I recently realized that I needed to be shouting about Common Sense Media from the rooftops (or my blog). I was introduced to this non-partisan, not-for-profit site back when I worked at Yahoo!. The online safety experts touted it as a great place to go to see what websites, TV shows, movies, etc were age-appropriate for kids. They were right.
If you’re not familiar with the site, I encourage you to read their “Our Mission” page. Here’s my favorite of their “Our 10 Beliefs”:
We believe in teaching our kids to be savvy, respectful and responsible media interpreters, creators, and communicators. We can’t cover their eyes but we can teach them to see.
As you know, our family does watch cartoons. We do play video games. We do have hand-held gaming devices. We do go to the movies. We are a media-loving family. And as a media-loving mom, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate knowing there’s a place I can turn to get instant feedback on whether the show my kids want to watch, or the movie a friend invited us to see, is appropriate for our family (based on their guidelines which include things like educational value, positive messages, violence & scariness, and sexy stuff).
And now that I’ve been in touch with their (very cool) team, I’m getting great insights into the latest developments over there. Here are two of my favorite.
Common Sense Media “Kids Media” iPhone App (Android coming soon!)
I seriously have found this to be the most useful app I’ve come across in a long time (check it out here). It’s great to have it while we’re at the library looking at unfamiliar books/DVDs or even when Big dives into On Demand and begs to watch a new show that all the kids are talking about (seriously, who taught that kid to use the remote?).
One of my favorite features is Great Picks for All Your Kids. It takes the info you’ve entered about your kids and gives suggestions that will (hopefully) mean harmony in your home. (We’ve been having such a hard time finding cartoons/shows that both boys enjoy in our single-TV home.)
The other feature I love is that I can search for our favorite shows, and it gives suggestions of other shows that are similar below. We’ve using this to test the TV waters and look forward to discovering new favorites. (Apparently I’m the only person in our house who never tires of Phineas & Ferb.)
I’m still discovering new ways to use it, but I think this is a must-have mom app. I can only imagine how much I’ll use it as my kids approach the tween years!
Now that the kids are settled into a new school year, it’s a great time to reconsider the media we’re depending on. (“Just play on my phone for a minute…”, anyone?) Where is your child needing a bit of extra help?
This guide is extremely thorough and broken down by age group, and within age group, by topic. For instance, in the category Age 2-6, you can discover media that will help with everything from Math to Health & Fitness to Feelings & Friendship. Jump up to Age 13-17 to get 21st Century Skills and Core Subjects.
If you’re interested, be sure to check it out here.
I hope that you take some time to bookmark/download/discover. If you do, let me know what you think. Chances are there are tools and features I haven’t discovered yet and I’d love to get the most out of the site and app!
Photos and logo are courtesy of Common Sense Media.
Disclosure: My relationship with Common Sense Media — a not-for-profit — is not paid. As a mom and blogger, I just want to share their tools and learn from them. All opinions are my own.
Jodie Hoffman says
So funny – I JUST went there to look for a movie to “theme” Finn’s birthday party around…. Looks like we’re doing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle party… Despite the 2 stars, it’s apparently perfect for 7-year-olds!!! Cowabunga, baby!!!
Amy, Using Our Words says
Sounds like a sure winner to me. Enjoy!