In the Pike School Tech Department we find that families are very interested in getting more information about media and technology for their kids related to using screens at home. We often recommend the website Common Sense Media to Parents because we find it to be an excellent resource. With such a comprehensive website it can be hard to find the time to sift through to figure out exactly how it can be useful to your family. To help with this, below are 3 easy ways that parents can get started using Common Sense Media immediately.
Apps, Movies and Television Reviews
Do you struggle to know which apps are right for your child and family? Common Sense Media’s App Reviews quickly show you the appropriate age, educational value, whether there is inappropriate content, reviews of what parents need to know and whether there are hidden in app purchases. My own kids know that I am going to check this before any app goes on our family iPad or if they want to watch a movie or new TV show and it has become a time saving resource for my family. The same level of detail is provided for movie and television reviews. In one place you can see information about the movie or TV show, with suggested talking points about your choice.
YouTube Reviews on Common Sense Media provide a good way to get an idea of the quality and age appropriateness of some YouTube content. It can be risky to just let your kids use YouTube without knowing exactly what they are watching since it is really easy to get sidetracked to inappropriate content and when the next video automatically plays parents can lose track of how long their kids have been using the app. I have set up limits for how much time my children use YouTube with ScreenTime available in IOS 12 (<– Apple support page linked if you are looking for more information) and they use the YouTube Kids app (Ages 7 and up) which improves the likelihood that they will be watching kid-targeted videos. YouTube’s curation process isn’t perfect so it is still recommended that you tune in to what your child is watching.
Advice for Parents
Looking for general advice about certain topics to help you navigate issues related to parenting and technology? Common Sense Media has advice that is broken down by Age, Topic and more. For example, this is where you might go if you are trying to decide what the right age is for a device in your family and you want to lay the groundwork for responsible use and manage the challenges and opportunities that come along with using a phone or iPad. There are many more topics and guides that can be helpful to your family in the Advice for Parents section.
All of these suggestions allow you to take in the parenting information that you need, while encouraging conversations and connection within your family about difficult topics. There is so much more available on Common Sense Media when you have more time to explore. If you are looking to stay connected with their timely blog posts you can subscribe to receive email updates on The Common Sense Media Blog or follow them on Facebook or Twitter. If you have any questions or find any interesting discoveries that you want to share please let the Tech Department know.