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Common Sense Media Rolls Out New Character Ratings System

Common Sense Media Rolls Out New Character Ratings System

Common Sense Media launches a new ratings system evaluating character strengths and values in youth media at South by Southwest media conference in Austin this week. 

At a South by Southwest education panel discussion in Austin this week entitled “Can Media Teach Character Strengths and Life Skills?,” experts, academics, and entertainment producers discussed the scope of messages kids soak up in our saturated, digital media environment. Common Sense Media, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families and educators navigate the media and technology landscape, announced today its new ratings system for TV shows and films that portray positive characters and strong values. 
 
 
According to a 2015 Common Sense Census, tweens and teens spend anywhere between six and nine hours a day with media. In another Common Sense survey, parents cited their top concerns regarding their kids’ media consumption as impairing their emotional and social learning. 
 
By promoting and “highlighting storylines that focus on important character strengths, we can harness the power of media to help parents address their top educational concerns,” said James P. Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense in a press release. “We hope this initiative provides parents with the information to make educational media choices.” 
 
 
A multidisciplinary advisory council of academics, educators, and Hollywood executives, as well as surveys of parents and grandparents were consulted when choosing which character strengths to promote. Those character strengths are: integrity, compassion, gratitude, self-control, empathy, humility, teamwork, courage, curiosity, communication, and perseverance. 
 
The results of Common Sense media’s rating of over 600 movies and TV shows will be available on its website, along with a discussion forum for parents. Common Sense is also involved with content producers and providers about including more storylines that incorporate the 11 character strengths in mainstream youth-oriented media. This initiative is funded by the John Templeton Foundation and the Bezos Family Foundation.
 
 
 
 


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