e-Resource News: Media Reviews for Parents

Posted by Aaron on

Box of popcornChristmas Day at the movies is a tradition for many people. For families with children and young adults, go online to get the scoop before you hit the cineplex (or Redbox, Netflix, etc.) if you want to avoid having to put your hand over your child’s eyes during an unexpected (and mortifying) sex scene.

My first stop is usually the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), where the storyline, cast and crew and user reviews await, as well as a parent guide that provides information on sex and nudity, profanity, alcohol/drug/tobacco use and frightening/intense scenes. Be aware that your mileage may vary, as some films/shows have a quite extensive and detailed parents guide, while others (especially new or obscure features) may only have the MPAA rating. Also, much like Wikipedia, the guides come from IMDb’s contributors (i.e., anyone), so entries may go beyond facts and verge more on opinion.

Along with the IMDb, I turn to Common Sense Media, a national nonprofit devoted to providing trustworthy information on traditional and digital media, which provides reviews of movies, games, apps and websites (including those specifically for learning), so that parents (or any consumer, for that matter!) can make informed decisions on what their children/families are using and watching.

Reviews of movies, tv shows, apps and more are based on age appropriateness and learning potential. The thing I like about Common Sense Media’s reviews is that they include a “What parents need to know” chart, which quickly points out hot buttons like violence, sex and language, etc., giving me fair warning. It also includes educational value, positive role models, etc., areas sometimes given short shrift when compared to something like bad language. I also like how their user reviews are broken down by what Parents Say and what Kids Say. I usually look at these reviews (especially those written by kids) if I’m undecided. Be sure to check out their Top Picks section, where editors have lists of “bests” for movies, apps, tv shows and websites.

If you’re looking to save some money this holiday season, keep in mind that the library is hosting a Winter Break Family Movie at the Warrenton branch library on 12/28.

We also have a wonderful selection of DVDs for all ages. Use our online catalog’s advanced search and limit your search term to any field asterisk – “*” – and material type “DVD VIDEO” to browse all of our videos at once. You can also limit by location to get DVDs just for juveniles. For example, add the location limits of Warrenton Juvenile Audiovisual, Marshall Juvenile Audiovisual and Bealeton Juvenile Audiovisual (hold CTRL key down as you select multiple) to your DVD search to get just juvenile DVDs:

Screenshot of library catalog Advanced Search page


If you need assistance with the advanced search, ask at the reference desk or call us at (540)422-8500, ext. 6862.

Happy holidays!

~ Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

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