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Add some Common Sense to your family’s media consumption

Have you ever watched a movie that you thought was appropriate for family viewing, only to be surprised by some of the content?

Maybe there is a video game that your child loves to play, but you aren’t sure about the violent nature of it?

What about song lyrics?

With the busy lifestyles of most parents, it can be very difficult to stay on top of all of these things. Enter Common Sense Media.

Common Sense Media is a nonprofit organization that promotes safe technology and media for children through the use of education and advocacy. Founded in 2003, the organization rates movies, games, TV shows, books, apps, websites, and even music. Through its website,, you can browse and filter using ages 2 – 18.

Upon clicking on a specific movie, game or song, you will find a brief synopsis of the material and ratings given by both children and parents. There are user reviews as well, but the most important piece is the rating system. There are seven categories that are rated by the website. They are:

  • Positive messages
  • Positive role models
  • Violence
  • Sex
  • Language
  • Consumerism
  • Drinking, drugs and smoking

They use a five-point scale, with five points being the highest. One would guess that in most cases, parents will want high scores in the first two “positive” categories, but low numbers on the others. There are details about why each of the ratings are scored the way they are, so you have an idea of what to be looking for.

The various categories give parents the ability to decide what is right for their child.

There is an app that can be downloaded to your phone, which is great when you’re in a store where these items are sold. This has been a big help to my wife, as the young adult section in the book store is very broad.

There are still many offerings in this genre that are not suitable for our 13-, 12- and 10-year-old kids. Using the app gives us the ability to avoid those issues.

Take a look at the website too. It offers guides, education, parenting blogs and even professional development for teachers.

Then go download the app!

Talk to Victor

Victor Alfieri is an avid music fan who has three children with his wife, Stephanie. Connect at and @VictorWordkrpht.