Blog Posts by Common Sense Media
Hurting someone with a simple clickSpreading rumors and bullying is nothing new. But today's kids are dealing with something much more sinister: cyberbullying. Kids are now using their cellphones and computers to hurt, humiliate, and harass each other. And it's reaching epidemic proportions. A recent survey found that 42 percent of teens and 97 percent of middle schoolers have been bullied online. And it's not just nasty comments they're getting, but demeaning text messages, embarrassing photos, and snide opinion polls. What makes this type of bullying so disturbing is that it is constant, pervasive and very, very public.
What is cyberbullying?Whether it's creating a fake Facebook or MySpace page to impersonate a fellow student, repeatedly sending hurtful text messages and images, or posting cruel comments on the Internet, cyberbullying can have a devastating effect. Nasty comments, lies, embarrassing photos and videos, and snide polls can be spread widely through instant Read More »from Are Your Kids Bullied (or Bullying) Online?
- Common Sense Media | Parenting – Fri, May 14, 2010 1:37 AM EDT
Help Your Teens Control Their Privacy
In this constantly changing, 24/7 digital world, there are three things parents can count on: 1. Technology evolves quickly; 2. Your kids will find out everything before you do; 3. You can have a huge, proven influence on your kids' behavior.Unfortunately, the first two usually happen way before you have a chance to act on number three.
For example, Facebook. When you sit down with your teens to help them set their Facebook privacy settings, the quantity and type of settings can be overwhelming. Take heart. By focusing on the three key areas where your information is most likely to get away from you, you can simplify the process.
3 Simple Rules to Keep in Mind
Stick with your friends. Have your teens limit their privacy settings to Only Friends. That'll restrict who sees your kids' information, including pictures, videos, and applications they use.
Keep private information private. When filling out their bios, teens can leave fieldsRead More »from Facebook: Don't Let Your Information Get Away From You
How to Enable Safety Mode
What YouTube has done for piano-playing cats and bootleg concert footage is nothing short of amazing. But most parents have experienced that sinking feeling when you're watching a video with your kid, and something you'd rather them not see comes up. And when you're not supervising, you have no idea what your kid is watching.
And it's not just the video content that can be iffy. Lots of the comments are, too.
Wouldn't it be great if you could simply filter out all the content that's not age-appropriate? With YouTube's SafetyMode feature, you can -- well, almost. Our video shows you how to turn on SafetyMode, and tell you what you still need to watch out for.
Families with kids under 13 should use SafetyMode, and to the extent possible, continue to supervise younger kids -- even with the filter on. We recommend SafetyMode for older kids, too -- it will give you some piece of mind that at least the iffy stuff will be limited. SafetyMode isRead More »from Make YouTube (a Little) Safer
What do Kim Kardashian and Lucky Charms have in common? They both target your kids through new online tools you may not recognize -- or know about.
Sneaky Ways Advertisers Target Kids Online
You might think you're hip to the tricks that advertisers use to reach kids online. You've seen the ads that play before online games. You know about the flashing banner ads, the contests, the sweepstakes, and even the sponsored Google links that match your search terms. But as technology advances -- and kids gravitate toward new programs and digital devices -- advertisers have found sneakier ways to capture kids' attention.
So how are your kids being targeted?
1. Kim Kardashian. Tweets from reality TV stars, musicians, and other celebs can earn them $10,000. That's right, the rich and famous are cashing in on their Twitter fans by tweeting about how much they love a certain product. And unlike sponsored Twitter ads, these celeb tweets are not labeled "Ad."
2. XOXO Gossip Girl Calling.Read More »from 5 Sneaky Ways Advertisers Target Kids
Justin Bieber's talent and charm are catnip to pre-teens. But can you talk sense into a boy-crazy tween? You can certainly try! Our tips help you navigate the world of celeb obsession.
Talk to Kids About Their Obsessions
Bieber fever has hit the youth of America and has sparked a full-blown epidemic. Move over Team Edward and Team Jacob fans (until June anyway) and make room for the sweet smile, mop-top hair, and hip-hop inflected puppy-love tunes that make up one Justin Bieber.
It's perfectly age-appropriate for kids to develop strong passions, and to kids of a certain pre-teen age Bieber's irresistibility could develop into obsession. If that's the case with your son or daughter, don't worry -- it's not unusual. But don't pass up the opportunity to talk to your little Bieber fans about their attraction. You never know what you might find out, or where the conversation might lead.
Using your kids' latest obsession as a conversation lead-in is a means to get them to talkRead More »from Bieber Fever
Heidi Montag. Britney Spears. Kim Kardashian. These are the voices in the body-image conversation. But the one that matters is yours.
Self-worth shouldn't be determined by what they see on TV or in a magazine.
Read any fashion magazine or watch any music video and you'll know that media is not kind to girls. The expectations for appearance are wildly unrealistic, and many girls quickly decide they're not thin, pretty, or sexy enough.
Take Heidi Montag for example. The reality TV star of The Hills shocked the world when she had 10 plastic surgeries in one day, turning herself from a beautiful young woman into a literal manmade creation.
What is it?There's no denying that our media - and our culture - are obsessed with women's weight. Magazines have weekly features with names like "body watch" that criticize female celebrities, for both being too heavy or too thin. Television and movie stars showcase unrealistic body types that most girls can't copy without Read More »from Look, but Don't Retouch
What Parents Need to Know
This review of Kick-Ass was written by Jeffrey M. Anderson
Common Sense Media rated this movie Not For Kids. Parents need to know that Kick-Ass is a superhero action/comedy based on a popular comic book that kids will be eager to see. But be prepared: It features teen characters, and -- most notably -- an 11-year-old girl who dole out extreme violence (think slo-mo Matrix-style bloody gunshots to the head) and language (including "f--k" and "c--t" out of the mouth of the 11-year-old). Expect some conspicuous sex scenes between teens and references to drugs. It has some arguably good messages about taking action instead of standing by when bad stuff happens, but it also has a relentless, darkly humorous mean streak. Due to a strong marketing campaign, very positive buzz, and good early reviews, parents are going to have a tough time keeping teens away from this one.Families Can Talk About Talk to your kids about the media in their life. We have more Read More »from Super Crass, Super Violent...Super Heroes?
- Common Sense Media | Parenting – Fri, Apr 16, 2010 6:28 PM EDT
Sneaking into R-rated movies is so old school
I clearly recall telling my then 13-year-old son that the movie Superbad was a total non-starter for him. Full of underage drinking, I didn't want him to think getting plastered was hilarious. So he didn't go sneak into the theater with his friends. But a week later, he was quoting movie dialogue. He didn't need to see the movie. He simply went online and watched the trailers. Then he went on to YouTube for more. Finally, he illegally downloaded a pirated user-posted copy by using an open source file-sharing application called BitTorrent. A total wipeout. Not only had he seen the movie, but he'd also broken the law. As if that wasn't enough, he'd also downloaded spyware malware onto his new(ish) computer. Which slowed to a crawl within a week.
R-Rated content is a click away
Every movie has a website. And if it's an R-rated movie, there are probably two trailers available online. One is a green banded trailer that has been edited soRead More »from Sneaking Into R-Rated Movies (Without Leaving Home)
5 Ways to Combat Unwanted Photos on Facebook
It's happened to lots of parents. You're on Facebook, and suddenly you see a photo of your kid doing something you really wish he hadn't. Or maybe your kid tells you that there's an incriminating photo of himself on a friend's Facebook page that the friend won't take down. What can you do to get your kid's pictures offline?
Tagging a photo means that you identify the people in the picture. When someone posts and tags a photo of your kid, it links the photo to his Facebook page. If photos of your kid are tagged, they are searchable online if the poster's profile is public. (Learn more about Facebook.)
To the dismay of parents and kids who have had this experience, there's not a lot that can be done when someone posts a photo of you and tags it with your or your kid's name. Facebook can't force people to take down a photo.
But you have some recourse. First, talk to the person who posted the photo and ask them politely to takeRead More »from Photos Gone Wild?