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    Common Sense Media

    Common Sense Media

  • Summer TV You Can Feel Good About (with Activities!)

    When you think about summertime, you might think about swimming, camping, bike riding, and other outdoor fun. The reality is that summer also means lots more time in front of the TV.

  • Why Movie Musical Characters Make Great Role Models

    By Betsy Bozdech, Executive Editor, Common Sense MediaReady for your kids to start belting out something besides "Let It Go" and "For the First Time in Forever"? Try introducing them to a classic musical. Here are our top three reasons that show-tune-packed picks are great for kids:• The music and songs get kids moving. Plus, they're often more memorable than standard dialogue -- and memorizing songs strengthens kids' listening skills.• There's a built-in conversation starter. ...

  • Help Your Kids Find Books with Diverse Characters

    Newbery Award-wining children's author Walter Dean Myers caused quite a stir with his recent New York Times essay "Where Are the People of Color in Children's Books?" But as a children's book critic, I'm definitely seeing a trend in authors featuring diverse casts in the novels that come across my desk.​ What these books of all genres have in common is telling stories with diverse characters where race isn't the central issue in the storyline.

  • When Selfie-Improvement Apps Go Too Far

    The number of "likes" and comments that teens receive on their Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook photos speaks volumes. According to a recent survey on body image by AOL.com and the TODAY Show, 65% of teen girls feel that selfies and other flattering social media photos boost their confidence. The "look good, feel good" effect of social media photos on teens throws a curve ball at parents -- especially if the photos are doctored by "selfie surgery" apps. These apps' features go beyond fun filters and simple retouching.

  • 60+ Green Media Gems to Inspire Kids for Earth Day

    Say goodbye to low-tech pen-and-paper Earth Day celebrations. This year, folks are using digital tools to build community and scatter the seeds of environmental awareness. Whether you have an animal-enamored toddler, an elementary-aged nature lover, or a green-teen activist, these eco-friendly media picks will entertain, educate, and encourage all ages to get involved. These eco-friendly simulation games and interactive environmental stories teach kids the importance of going green.

  • Must-Have Apps for Family Travel

    Another app that's perfect for the planning stages is Google Earth. For more information, go to:www.commonsense.org.

  • Your Daily Guide to an Awesome Spring Break Staycation

    Let's face it: Not everyone can go to Bermuda for spring break. A few things before spring break begins: Set limits on computer time; pick a photography app and brush up on your photo-snapping skills so you can capture memories all week long;

  • Trend Alert: 6 Messaging Apps that Let Teens Share (Iffy) Secrets

    You probably never thought you'd see the day when Facebook wasn't the center of teens' universe. But keeping up with Facebook friends through ad-filled newsfeeds and lengthy profiles, especially given the fact that everyone knows your name, is starting to feel tiresome to many teens. Facebook is still a go-to place for many things, such as wishing someone a happy birthday or stalking a crush. However, newer social apps make it easier, faster, and more fun to capture and share fleeting moments -- sometimes anonymously.

  • Making Art? Getting Healthy? There Are Kids' Apps for that -- and More

    There's a seemingly endless supply of apps for practicing math, vocabulary, grammar, and other traditional school subjects. But you may be surprised to know what else kids can learn. Apps can teach a range of both "soft skills" (such as recognizing emotions) and 21st-century skills (such as online collaboration). Check out these apps in which problem solving, creativity, emotions, and more take center stage.Health and fitnessApps can help even very young kids learn about health topics relevant to their lives, such as potty training, doctor's visits, and how their bodies work. ...

  • Who's the Boss? My Daughter, Thank You Very Much

    During a recent meeting with my daughter's preschool teacher, the subject of "bossiness" came up. For more information, go to:www.commonsense.org.

  • Why You Don't Have to Put Up with Cigarette Companies Targeting Your Kids

    Cigarette marketing has come a long way. Today tobacco products are banned from commercials and smoking is on the decline. And most of that goes to programs that make cigarettes cheaper -- meaning more accessible to kids. Smoking continues to show up in movies and in social media marketing.

  • 10 TV Shows that Are Actually Good for Girls

    First, they deserve to see more girls and women on the screen in the first place -- only 30 percent of kids' TV characters are female, according to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media. This lack of great female role models in the media has a negative effect on kids -- both girls and boys. But parents have the power to filter out at least some of the negative images and messages and replace them with shows that kids will enjoy and that show female characters as strong, smart people with something positive to offer the world.

  • What Kids Can Learn from Shia, Kanye, Miley, and Justin Bieber

    It's the same with kids and social media. To the rescue: celebrity's social media mistakes, which provide ready-made cautionary tales pretty much on the daily. When Shia LaBeouf takes to Twitter, you can almost see his handlers flying through the air, arms flailing, shouting, "NOOOOOOOOO!" Unfortunately for many stars, the lessons come too late. And not just that: don't plagiarize your apology…and then mock the person whose work you copied, a la Shia LaBeouf.

  • 2014: Where Nerds Are Cool and Video Games Help Kids Learn

    With programs such as Scratch, Gamestar Mechanic, and Codecademy, young Zuckerbergs can get hands-on experience coding everything from animations to video games. Video games go prosocial. By combining sophisticated gameplay, compelling story lines, and teaching without preaching, video games that are actually good for kids are maturing into games kids really want to play.

  • 5 Budget-Friendly Gift Ideas

    Using digital media in your shopping can actually save you money on gift giving. Go for board games -- digital and old-school.

  • What to Read Next: New Holiday Books for Kids

    For kids age 3 to 7, there's Little Santa by Jon Agee, which offers a charming origin story of Santa Claus that bears no relation to the one about St. Nicholas. For more information, go to:www.commonsense.org.

  • 5 Tips for Your Kid's First Trip to the Movies

    Before you had kids, a trip to the movies was a no-brainer. You liked the actor or director or the movie poster was cool, so you went. Simple. But if you have little kids, you have to put a bit more thought into a visit to the multiplex, especially the first time you go. Here are some tips for making the first venture to the theater a success.

  • 5 Easy Ways to Make Family Movie Night a Success

    We say this a lot, but we think it's worth repeating: It's important to get involved in your kids media lives -- and your kids will love it too (within reason!). But helping them become critical media consumers can be easier said than done.

  • The Essential Holiday Movie Guide

    Look for animated fairy tales (Frozen) and epic adaptations (Ender's Game, The Hobbit), plus teen-friendly sports comedies (Grudge Match) and superhero flicks (Thor). Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson play a pair of turkeys who travel back in time to the first Thanksgiving to try and get turkey off the menu and save their species from annual extermination. Hugo's Asa Butterfield stars as young protagonist Ender Wiggin, a military genius who's chosen by Colonel Hyram Graff (Harrison Ford) to be the next great commander of the international military fleet. Three of Hollywood's most esteemed actors -- Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline -- play old friends who reunite in Las Vegas for the bachelor party of their ladykiller pal (Michael Douglas).

  • What to Read Next: New Kids' Books for Thanksgiving Break

    Check out Common Sense Media's Essential Books for Kids and Teens guide to find more than 150 of our perennial favorites. For kids age 3 to 7, there's Mr. Wuffles!, a wildly original picture book by Caldecott Honor-winning author David Weisner (Art & Max, Flotsam) that pits a housecat against tiny aliens who've landed in his living room in a miniature spaceship. For readers age 9 to 12, check out Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab: A Mystery with Electromagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself, by Science Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith.