Pandora Internet Radio



Build your own radio stations based on common song elements.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Aside from encouraging the arts through music, the site doesn't offer much of a social message. With millions of songs available, the message in the music will vary.


Kids can access songs with violent lyrics through various artist-based stations.


Depending on what stations they choose, kids may be exposed to sexually charged lyrics.


Pandora plays uncensored versions of songs, unless you change your profile settings to block explicit content. However, bad words posted in comments or song lyrics are partially replaced with asterisks.


Ads that are nearly screen-sized pop up between songs and ads for products are on most pages; listeners can pay $36/year to upgrade to ad-free Pandora One, which also offers higher quality audio.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Kids may stumble across stations that play songs like Dr. Dre's "F*** Wit Dre Day (And Everybody's Celebratin'), which mention drug use.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the site's social networking component lets users follow each other's activity and shares your listening choices with other users, unless you change your privacy settings. Registration is free (but required) to use the site, and users can identify themselves by listing their hometown, school, and employer -- plus a brief bio -- on their profile.

What's it about?

Internet-radio site PANDORA puts its own twist on a concept started in the earlier days of the Web, when sites like Spinner (which was ultimately bought and absorbed by AOL Music) streamed free, theme-based music blocks. Pandora is organized around \"stations,\" which users initiate from a home screen where they type in the name of a favorite artist, song, or composer. The service then compiles a one-hour music stream that includes the name you entered along with songs/artists/composers that have similar musical qualities. The kicker comes in the form of music-licensing laws that prohibit you from specifying the exact order in which your station plays those songs/artists/composers. Though you can fast-forward through your station, you can't pick exactly what comes next -- and you can't rewind.

Is it any good?


PANDORA can help introduce you to new artists whose songs share common musical elements with singers and bands you like. The site uses info from the Music Genome Project, which has been analyzing harmony, rhythm and other track details since 2000 to identify song similarities. You can create up to 100 unique stations; just key in an artist (anything from Beck to Beethoven), and you'll hear a mix of that artist's tunes and other music. You have less control than on sites like Spotify -- Pandora only lets you skip a few tracks an hour, and you can't ask to hear certain songs -- but that's half the fun. Pandora has a nifty habit of combining familiar favorites with hidden musical gems from relatively unknown musicians and bands from other eras. Click on the thumbs up or down icons to indicate which you like. Pandora uses the input to customize your stations.

There is a catch: As on many music streaming sites, the profiles and site usage info aren't as private as some parents might like. Strangers can easily access your stations and listening activity and can post comments on your profile. You can hide your profile and listening info if you alter the default privacy settings -- but all the stations you've created will still show up if someone searches for you on the site with the email address you used to register for Pandora.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about constructive ways you can express your individual music tastes -- if your friend loves a song you can't stand, how can you share your feelings without hurting hers?


  • The site lists common elements that the songs it plays on each station have in common. What musical elements do you notice when you listen to a song (the rhythm, instruments, etc.)?


  • Pandora plays uncensored music (unless you alter your profile settings). When a song on the radio has a word or two bleeped out or removed, do you notice it's gone? If you hear a word or term in a song that you think or know is a swear, does it make you want to say it more?


Website details

Pricing structure:Free

This review of Pandora Internet Radio was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Mega music site with videos, news and more.
  • Free cloud-based music service focuses on sharing.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old January 16, 2010
awsome i think my pastor recomened it once
Teen, 15 years old Written byOGORMAN January 16, 2011

Contains songs for all ages and music genres.

Every time I get on the computer I log on to Pandora to listen to my favorite music (I'm even listening right now! Ha ha!). Their is everything from Eminem to Disney Songs. You can easily change your settings to block songs with explicit content if you have young children or just don't want to hear it. Even though the site only gives an allotted 40 hours a month, a payment can be made for unlimited music as well as none of the annoying adds every few songs, or when you change stations.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Teen, 14 years old Written byKaty0 September 11, 2009

Personalized Radio

I use Pandora all the time, it's very useful for discovering new bands and singers.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide