My Problem with Common Sense Media

As an avid movie and tv show watcher, Common Sense Media has been a godsend when it comes to choosing what I watch. Although the website is suited for the safety of children, as its organization “provides education and advocacy to families to promote safe technology and media for children,” I use it primarily to ensure that the movies or TV shows I’m watching don’t have too much gore or too much sex, as I’m sensitive to that material. The great thing about the Common Sense Media website is that it describes the kinds of gory or sexual scenes that are present in that form of media so that you know exactly what you’ll be consuming. It’s also completely run by parent and teenage reviews. Especially for movie nights with my family, Common Sense Media has helped me a lot in choosing appropriate movies to watch with them. It’s also a much plausible option compared to reading the plot on Wikipedia and getting the movie/show potentially spoiled for me. 

woman typing on laptop Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com from Unsplash But recently, they’ve made a change in their policy. While I was looking up the reviews for a certain movie, I was prevented from doing so, the website telling me that it “hoped you enjoyed your 3 free reviews.”

According to the website, I could only look at the reviews for more than 3 movies if I signed up for a Plus account. This meant I would be paying $30 a year to access this website. I thought that this way of accumulating money was unfair, especially considering that many other people like me rely on Common Sense Media to prevent them from consuming media that may contain various triggering topics. 

Person in yellow sweater typing Photo by Christin Hume from Unsplash Thankfully, after searching on Reddit, I was able to find other websites that will be able to replace Common Sense Media for the time being. IMDb’s parents’ guide is super helpful and easily accessible, but it’s more pertaining to movies and TV. Other websites I found were PluggedIn (useful for all forms of media) and Doesthedogdie.com.

WOC watching TV Photo by Tolu Bamwo from Nappy Ultimately, Common Sense Media is a nonprofit organization, so it does have to rely on various methods to function as a business for the betterment of fulfilling its purpose of providing education and advocacy to families.