Common Sense Media

This week’s Virtual Lexicon entry is about Common Sense Media ( It is a freely accessible reliable resource that I cannot believe I have lived so many years without! I’m admitting my ignorance here, but yes, I never heard about it until I was in a meeting collaborating on a Digital Citizenship project with our local school districts.  Common Sense takes the approach of “sanity, not censorship” and as a librarian, I can definitely get behind that! Their mission:

Common Sense is the leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. We empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives.

Because I am a completely honest person, I should also tell you this website is overwhelming!  It’s filled to the gills with information for parents, teachers, and kids. There is even a “Latino” option. Prepare yourself.

Having only recently discovered the glory that is Common Sense Media, I can’t go into all of the aspects of the website, so I thought I would give you my top 5 favorite things:

  1. Reviews. The reviews cover Movies, Games, Apps, Websites, TV Shows, Books, and Music. Each entertainment type offers valuable filters to maximize your search.
  2. Common Sense Education’s K-12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum. Designed to be used as part of a school curriculum, lessons can be downloaded and used individually. They can be easily adapted for use at home.
  3. #DeviceFreeDinner. This is a challenge from Common Sense. In addition to offering tons of information about the good parts of technology, the website also has suggestions and data about when to unplug.
  4. “Best of” Lists. Yes, I love the reviews, but I love the “Best of” even more. I don’t always have time to sift through the information. It’s like the New York Times Bestseller list for parents!
  5. Family Guides: Essential TV. I’m not a TV person. I need someone to tell me there is such a thing as “essential TV’- I finally found someone to do it! (Thanks, Common Sense!)

I really cannot say enough about this website. Just trust me and go check it out.

Alexis Rittenberger

Northland Public Library