Scenarios USA

Common Sense Media says

Short films made by teens, for teens tackle social issues.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The films emphasize the importance of healthy relationships, making responsible choices, respecting others, and being yourself.

Violence

Some films address domestic violence and bullying. An abusive father yells and smashes things.

Sex

There's discussion of sex, pregnancy, and STDs. Characters kiss.

Language

Bullies call a kid a "homo."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Two storylines follow characters who make bad decisions about sex as a result of being drunk.

Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that SCENARIOS USA is a nonprofit organization that works with teenagers to write and produce short films about issues like body image, bullying, and relationships. Sexual health topics include abstinence, pregnancy and STD prevention, parenting, and sexual orientation. The films are featured on Scenarios USA's website.

 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • storytelling

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding

Arts

  • film
  • script writing

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making

Creativity

  • producing new content

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • handling stress
  • identifying emotions
  • self-awareness

Responsibility & Ethics

  • embracing differences
  • making wise decisions
  • respect for others

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Kids should be able to relate to (and enjoy) the short films on topics ranging from STD and pregnancy prevention to gender identity. Many only feature brief clips, however, and there aren't many written extras to entice kids.

Learning Approach

Films cover issues like bullying, sex, and gender-based violence. Kids can learn about responsible decision-making -- if they buy the full-length versions. More interactive activities would make the site feel less like a sales pitch.

Support

The site only gives a glimpse of the videos. Infrequently updated blogs offer Scenarios USA news and discuss gender and other topics. Teachers can sign up for a curriculum e-newsletter; teens can view health and writing outlet links.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • storytelling

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding

Arts

  • film
  • script writing

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making

Creativity

  • producing new content

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • handling stress
  • identifying emotions
  • self-awareness

Responsibility & Ethics

  • embracing differences
  • making wise decisions
  • respect for others

Teens can learn how their peers cope with issues like relationships, sex, bullying, body image, and more through the films featured on Scenarios USA. The website itself offers just a glimpse of what the program involves: providing curricula to schools and youth programs about these topics and encouraging teens to express themselves through writing film scripts that tell their stories. Teens who visit Scenarios USA's site will get a chance to watch compelling tales penned by their peers.

This Learning Rating review was written by Susan Yudt

Parents say

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Kids say

What's it about?

The nonprofit organization Scenarios USA produces short films written by teenagers about issues like relationships, sexual health, bullying, identity, and other common teen concerns. Scenarios USA mostly works with teens through schools and youth outreach programs, but they also hold contests open to all teens. Visitors can watch most of the films online, and educators can buy hard copies. Some of the films feature education guides and behind-the-scenes clips. The site also includes a blog and resources for teens.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Scenarios USA hits on a winning formula by having teens write scripts that are then filmed by prominent directors like Joel Schumacher and Michael Apted. The result is storylines and dialogue that are true to teen life, presented with a polished production style. Most films also feature notes on "the story behind the story," lending interesting insight into the creative process and the writers' backgrounds.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how characters make decisions (about drinking, sex, standing up to bullies) in these films. What factors might be influencing their decisions?  Do you think their responses are realistic? Why or why not?

  • What are different ways to channel your creativity? What is empowering and inspiring about digital creation?

Website details

Genre:Educational
Topics:High school
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Scenarios USA 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.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 8 years old November 4, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

worst site ever

This is the worst site ever. DONE.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Safety and privacy concerns

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