Common Sense Media is a very useful website for families concerned about what their children are watching, playing or learning whilst using digital devices – not necessarily the Internet, but also videos, games and more!

The information carried by Common Sense Media is split into age groups: all ages, 2 – 4,  5 – 7,  8 – 9.  10-12 and 13+. It provides  a very clear breakdown of what various media sites actually do and provides the pros and cons for each one.

Parents’ Ultimate Guide to …

If we take YouTube Kids for example, it informs parents what they need to know but also provides an interesting “A lot of a little” chart:

From this chart you can see that consumerism overtakes the educational value but if parents help children choose an appropriate channel it should be okay. There is a little bad language, a little sexy stuff, kissing, and the odd explosion by the looks of things – think Tom and Jerry for the violence! However, as the review points out, the curation service is not perfect by any means, parents do need to watch!

Also, parents can set up accounts for their kids that are pre-populated with content customized for their child’s age: Parents can select “Younger” for videos geared toward the preschool and early elementary set and “Older” to include content for kids age 9 through 12, like more gaming and music videos. Note that if you choose “Older,” there is a warning that kids will see more mature content; it can include words like “f–k,” scantily clad dancers, and mildly sexy content, though direct searches for those things don’t work. For more control, parents can customize exactly what videos their children see by creating an account with the  “Approved Content Only” setting, where parents whitelist specific channels and videos that kids can view. “ (Common Sense Media)

Games, and videos are reviewed; you can see what the current cinema films are about and whether they are suitable before you choose to go, books are covered too.

Social media sites are describes in detail with a description of what the site is, what it does, how it may cause problems etc. TikTok for example:

TikTok – Real Short Videos even spawns its own celebrities. Almost overnight, sensations like Baby Ariel and Jacob Sartorius have gained internet fame, especially with kids and teens.” (Common Sense Media)

It goes on to explore:

  • How safe is TikTok?
  • How does TikTok work?
  • Is TikTok Appropriate for kids
  • What age is it recommended for
  • How can you make your account private?
  • How can you delete a video?
  • How do you delete an account
  • How can I use it with my kids
  • How do you duet?
  • Is there a way to limit activity?
  • How can I monitor my kids?
  • What if my kid wants to get famous?

Common Sense Media is split into sections as well as age groups. There is a section for parents. educators and Advocates. There are lesson plans covering Online safety and digital citizenship and lots more for anyone involved with children and digital devices.