Common Sense Seal Movie and TV FAQs

Common Sense Seal: FAQ

What is the Common Sense Seal?
The Common Sense Seal is the first honor of its kind to recognize standout movies and TV series/specials that offer an exceptional media experience for families. The Seal distinguishes movies and TV series/specials that meet Common Sense Media's highest editorial standards for being entertaining, engaging, and/or effective, in addition to offering worthwhile themes, messages, and/or role models. The honorees of the Common Sense Seal have the potential to spark family conversations, entertain families of all types, and/or make a significant, lasting impact on individuals within a family or on the culture as a whole.
Who's behind the Common Sense Seal?
Common Sense Media, an independent nonprofit organization founded in 2003, publishes ratings and reviews for nearly everything kids and teens want to watch, read, play, and learn. Our unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the products' creators or by our funders. Our editorial staff of media and child development experts determines the final winners. We never receive payments or other consideration for our reviews.
What's the purpose of the Common Sense Seal?
Common Sense Media is committed to harnessing the powerful ways media can help kids and families have a shared experience, grow and learn from one another, and discover the pure entertainment that can come from enjoying a memorable movie or TV series/special together. The goal of the Common Sense Seal is both to recognize and celebrate films and TV series/specials that delight families with engaging stories and enriching messages and to encourage studios and networks to make even more excellent content that appeals across generations. We want to make sure families have unforgettable, lasting, positive viewing experiences.   
Which movies and TV series/specials will be considered for the Common Sense Seal?
We will consider movies and TV series/specials that premiere after the launch of their respective Seal programs (October 2014 for films and October 2015 for TV). For movies, we will consider new theatrical and straight-to-Blu-ray/streaming titles and will announce the Seal at the time of the movie's release. For TV, we will consider newly airing episodic series and TV movies/specials and will announce Seals twice annually, in the spring and the fall. Titles that earn the Seal must meet Common Sense Media's criteria, including receiving a high quality rating; having positive themes, messages, and/or role models; and/or having the potential for a significant impact on kids and families. For a look at all current Common Sense Media Seal honorees, please visit
Who decides whether a film or TV series/special will be honored with a Common Sense Seal? Is there an opportunity for submissions or voting by the public?
Common Sense Media reviews are written and edited by our team of seasoned reviewers, editorial staff, and child development experts, based on the proven rubric used in evaluating more than 8,000 movies and 5,000 TV series/specials since Common Sense Media was founded in 2003. Our editorial team will determine which new titles receive the Common Sense Seal. We don't have plans for a formal submission or public voting process at this time.
What's the process for evaluating a movie or TV series/special for the Common Sense Seal?
We evaluate each movie and TV series/special as part of our regular review process. We screen titles as early as possible, proceeding with our review from there. If we choose to recognize a title with the Common Sense Seal, we contact the studio or network with that information. We also provide an additional layer of visibility through our own social and promotional channels to Seal-honored titles, further elevating what our editorial team views as worthwhile, significant movies and TV series/specials for families.
How does Common Sense Media rate and review movies and TV series/specials?
We rate and review media based on a combination of two factors -- quality and age-appropriateness -- relying on developmental guidelines culled from some of the nation's leading authorities to determine which content is appropriate for which ages. Our movie and TV reviews feature discussion points for families, as well as a section that evaluates specific content elements of each movie and series/special, including messages, role models, violence/scariness, sexual content, language, consumerism, and substance use. For more information about our rating process, click here.
How does the Common Sense Seal work with Common Sense Media's age rating?
The Common Sense Seal is designed to be used in conjunction with our age rating. While some titles for tweens and teens may earn a Common Sense Seal, they still won't be appropriate for younger kids, so parents should consider everything in our reviews when selecting media for their kids. We continue to believe that parents know their kids best. And we endeavor to ensure that the Seal recognizes that families with kids at different ages and stages all are seeking appropriate, entertaining things to watch together: The Seal, along with our age rating, serves as a guide for parents when they're selecting a movie or TV series/special for their family to enjoy.