Memorial Day weekend marks the official start of summer, and with summer come movies. Whether you are taking kids to the theater, or looking for a movie to show a youth group, or simply watching a movie at home – the question always comes up, “Is this OK for kids?”
No website takes the place of watching a movie and coming to your own conclusion, but for solid background information on movies and all media, it’s hard to beat www.commonsensemedia.org
Designed for ease-of-use, you will find reviews, perspectives, and details on all sorts of movies. A color-coded bar at the top of every page shows age-appropriateness. A dot scale showing how much emphasis in each of the following categories follows:
– Positive Messages
– Positive Role Models
– Drinking, Drugs, and Smoking
Hover or click on each category and a 2-or 3-sentence explanation of the rating appears.
Below the scale is a paragraph review of the media, starting with the sentence, “Parents need to know…” which point to the main theme and why kids might be interested. In addition, there are menus for “what’s the story” “is it any good” “details” and “families can talk about.” The last category includes very broad leading questions for family conversation. By reading each of the categories, parents can develop an understanding of the underlying themes and conflicts in any particular movie, song, game, etc.
If you navigate the site, you will also find ratings on video games, apps, music,books, and more. You can search by similar subject and the site offers alternatives to media which are not age-appropriate.
Common Sense Media also offers a free app on Google Play and the Apple Store under the title KidsMedia, and the mobile site works very well.
Don’t leave your own judgment at the ticket counter, but do check out www.commonsensemedia.org before you buy your popcorn!