Kidsburgh: ‘Common Sense Media’ Helping Parents

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The website, Common Sense Media, has been called the largest non-profit in the U.S. dedicated to children’s issues, with its reviews and ratings of movies, games and more for families.

Millions of parents use the Common Sense Media website to help determine whether a certain movie, app, game or TV show is appropriate for certain kids, but the site has a lot more information to help parents and kids and does a lot more in our community than many people even know.

Jennifer Ehehalt is based in Pittsburgh as the local Common Sense manager. She works primarily with educators about positive ways to use technology in the classroom, but she also works to help parents find the resources Common Sense offers.

“We hope this will be a trustworthy space where we offer unbiased reviews, and at the end of the day, it’s really up to the parent to make the final decision,” Ehehalt says.

A mom herself, Ehehalt explains that for parents, the Common Sense Media site reviews everything from movies to apps to TV shows, with a 5-star rating scale and age recommendation.

“We look at the learning potential that a particular piece of media has, and we also look at the age range, making sure the content is being delivered to the appropriate ages,” she says.

On the site, you’ll also find a story synopsis, notes about the amount of violence, drinking and drugs and sex, as well as the amount of positive messages and role models. There are even topics to talk to your kids about after a show is over.

Ehehalt explains, “We also have some questions you can ask on the way home. So you sat through the movie, here are some talking points to discuss with your child after you saw the movie.”

HELPFUL LINKS:

In addition to the reviews, the site has articles and videos on media topics like setting limits, sexting and new websites and social media that are popular with kids, tweens and teens.

Common Sense also has a “Device Free Dinner” movement they encourage everyone to join.

“We, I think, as adults, need to start to model, ‘What does this look like? When is this appropriate and not appropriate to have your phone or tablet out?’ I always just say ‘try to be present,'” Ehehalt says.

You can stay up to date with Common Sense’s latest articles by going to their website and by getting their weekly online newsletter. You’ll also get local information on Ehehalt’s bi-monthly blog on Kidsburgh.org — a resource for all kinds of positive things in our community for kids and families.

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