Common Sense Media Announces New Education Ratings and Review Program

New ratings partnership with SCE will help parents assess learning value of digital media products and highlight the educational potential of entertainment media and technology

Common Sense Media
Monday, May 16, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Common Sense Media, the national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in a world of media and technology, is launching a new education ratings and review program for digital media designed to help parents and educators assess the learning value of digital media products. The new system is made possible through a partnership with SCE, a new foundation created by Susan Crown.

"Since its inception, Common Sense Media has been helping parents uncover what's great in this 24/7 media world and avoid the not-so-good," said Jim Steyer, CEO and founder, Common Sense Media. "It's a very natural step for us to partner with a great organization like SCE on an initiative that will not only give parents and educators yet another set of tools to make smart media choices, but will also motivate those in the entertainment world to create even more high-quality learning media and really elevate the way we think about the learning potential of media and technology."

"Digital media offers children unparalleled opportunities to learn, imagine, participate, practice, and create. But without a guidepost, we know parents, educators, and kids have difficulty finding engaging, enriching interactive experiences," said Susan Crown, founder and chairman of SCE. "We are delighted to be working with Common Sense Media on a ratings system that will help adults and children find the best products for digital learning amidst an overabundance of offerings."

A 2008 poll from Common Sense and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center revealed that parents recognized that digital media may carry educational benefits. The new program will evaluate and highlight learning opportunities in popular and educational digital media – mobile apps, games, websites, and more. Similar to Common Sense Media's current media ratings, the education rating and reviews will address age appropriateness and entertainment value, and they will guide users on learning potential along with advice on how to get the most out of playing a game, exploring a website, or using a mobile app.

"As we adjust to our digital age, we are faced with a myriad of claims, truths, and falsehoods about which content offerings truly educationally benefit our children and what simply is really a form of tapioca pudding," said Gary E. Knell, president and CEO, Sesame Workshop. "Common Sense's new guidelines will provide parents and teachers with one-stop shopping to validate those offerings so that they can make smarter choices on what our kids consume and interact with."

"Our kids spend more and more of their time online, learning, playing, and interacting with one another," said Cathy N. Davidson, Duke University, co-founder, HASTAC, and administrator of the HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competition. "Rather than being one-size-fits-all, Common Sense tools allow parents to set their own standards and goals for their kids' media use and then see if the media out there meets those standards. I am very excited by the way Common Sense supports the best, most comprehensive, and most flexible research in allowing parents to choose the right media and, perhaps even more importantly, to be informed enough to help their children learn how to make good choices for themselves."

Education ratings will be available at later this year.

About Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. We exist because our kids are growing up in a culture that profoundly impacts their physical, social, and emotional well-being. We provide families with the advice and media reviews they need in order to make the best choices for their children. Through our education programs and policy efforts, Common Sense Media empowers parents, educators, and young people to become knowledgeable and responsible digital citizens. For more information, go to:

About SCE
SCE is a new social investment organization that connects talent and innovation with market forces to drive social change. SCE's Digital Learning program focuses on the potential of digital media technologies to help children learn and practice both traditional and 21st century skills. For more information, please visit:

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