Parents, Utilize Common Sense Media

Hello, parents! Only NINE more days until school starts! I'm looking to having students in my classroom creating awesome stuff and having great conversations. I hope you enjoy this post, which is part of my Digital Citizenship Countdown.


Every time that I find myself on Common Sense Media's website, I'm more impressed by what they offer to families. From conversation starters to book reviews to research on technology addiction, Common Sense Media provides resources to help you understand the role of technology in a student's life and to help you decide what boundaries to give your student. 

Take for example, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, one of the most popular pieces of teen fiction from the past several years. Common Sense Media has read the book, reviewed it, and given parents details about it, such as this graphic, which gives parents a quick information guide about the novel.

I appreciate how they give both rankings through their "dot" system and how they give you more details if you hover over the category. From this information, they also give an age recommendation, in this case age 14+. Based on my own reading of this book, I'd agree with this age ranking. 

In addition, each page has a "Families Can Talk About..." section. This section is filled with questions that parents can have with their students to get to a deeper level and help students process what they read/watch/use. For example, I like this question from their review of The Fault in Our Stars:

"Also, the author's other books, such as Looking for Alaska, are often called edgy. What makes a book 'Young Adult,' and when does it crossover into being an adult story? Does it have to do mostly with the age of the narrator, or something else?"

This is an important question, and one that I have actually been wondering a lot about lately as more and more mature themes input their way into teen lit. It's also one that I don't necessarily know the answer to, but I think it's a really interesting conversation to have with students. 

Common Sense Media offers this same type of reviews for movies, tv, apps, and video games. In addition, they offer a lot of family guides based on the age group of your student(s) and forums with many of the questions you've been asking. And don't forget: there's always the search bar. 

Take some time to explore their site and share with another parent what you found to be the most helpful. They're really trying to partner with parents in helping to raise positive digital citizens.