I have common sense - most days. I also have media. But I don’t necessarily use both simultaneously. Take last weekend, for example: my 13-year-old son likes Emma Watson (doesn’t EVERY teenage boy?), so when I saw one of her movies was added to Netflix, we settled in to watch it together.
The Netflix blurb described “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” as your basic quirky teenage coming-of-age tale.
The drugs, the sex, the flippant reference to bulimia - these were more than I expected. And the especially dark twist at the end? I did NOT see that coming. If I had, I would’ve skipped this flick for now. It was not an appropriate choice for a mother-son movie night.
(Do you ever lie awake in bed fretting about how much accidental damage we do to our children’s future psyche?)
In hindsight, I should’ve read the Common Sense Media review first. I just assumed any movie starring Hermione would be tween age-appropriate.
What’s done is done. I tried to make the best of it by discussing the topic (I won’t name it here, in case you watch the movie with your 16+ children at some point). Alas, any opportunity for a teachable moment is a silver lining I guess.
But back to Common Sense Media… my girlfriend told me about it ages ago, but of course, as I do, I forgot about it mere seconds after saying, “Wow. That sounds amazing! I’m going to bookmark that site right away.” And then I probably wandered off to attend to some task or possibly just walk in circles looking for some randomly misplaced item.
This post is me wanting to share this site with you a) before I forget again b) because it’s an incredible FREE resource c) very parent should have this link in their bookmark bar for easy reference.
Visit commonsense.org and see for yourself. You have to join to use it, but it’s free. Once you’re a member, this website will help you make informed choices for you and your kids living in this 24/7 media and technology world. They review (in a very up front and visual way) movies, TV shows, apps, video games, websites, and books by age level. They also offer tons of digital parenting advice.
So once you decide on a movie to watch with the family, for example, search it up and then decide if it’s age/maturity level appropriate BEFORE you inflict it upon your son. LOL!
And even if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, you can find that here. I’m always on the hunt for good quality, safe websites for my daughter to explore. I used to Google “best math websites for kids.” Or some variation of that. But the results were all over the place.
With Common Sense Media you can customize exactly what you’re looking for—age range, type of media (books, apps, TV shows…) and the site will compile a list of options with spot on reviews for each.
There’s a great YouTube channel and a mobile app too, so you can look up reviews on the go. Wondering if that video game you’re about to buy is age appropriate or good value? Look it up before you shell out the money.
So, there you go. That’s my review of a review website for your review.
Sharing is caring, and I care you about fellow parent. So let’s bookmark this site before we forget.
Okay, I’m off to watch one of these dirty movies with a bunch of under age children now. Ha! Kidding. I’m kidding!!!