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More Problems with YouTube Kids

posted by Nell Minow

The public interest and child advocacy groups that have charged Google and YouTube Kids with failing to meet their promise to screen videos and ensure that there is no material inappropriate for young children has come back to add new […]

Google’s YouTube Kids is Saturated with Stealth Ads

posted by Nell Minow

In February of this year, Google launched the YouTube Kids app, specially designed for “little thumbs” to get kids hooked on devices and videos as soon as they can hold an iPhone. They assured parents that the app was completely […]

The Grandparent Effect: Superb New Resource for Families

posted by Nell Minow

I am a huge fan of Olivia Gentile’s new website, The Grandparent Effect, a warm, wise, and highly informative resource for parents, grandparents, and caregivers. As she explains, Grandparents are healthier, wealthier, and longer-lived than ever before. What does this […]

When Boredom Beats Mental Busywork

posted by Nell Minow

I love this tribute to boredom on car trips with children.  I well remember being in the back seat with my sisters, alternating games of GHOST and Botticelli with highway bingo and, yes, arguing with each other about who had […]

Toys That Impair Imagination: The Over-Licensing of Children’s Toys

posted by Nell Minow

It’s always tempting to give children toys from the movies and television programs they love, and some of them are high-quality or even educational. But Melissa Atkins Wardy has a very good argument that the licensing of media tie-ins has […]

What Messages Do Our Children Get from Reality Television?

posted by Nell Minow

Janelle Harris has a thoughtful essay called “How Reality TV Has Changed Our Daughters” on The Root. Far, far away from network storyboarding and big-money business decisions—but not beyond their reaches—I am raising a 16-year-old daughter. She’s a good girl, […]

Smile of the Week: Pass the Salt

posted by Nell Minow

When his sons text at the dinner table, a father responds.  This film from Matthew Abeler won the Best Comedy Award at the 2014 Five16 Film Festival. In less than two minutes, it makes its point and makes us smile.

Ask Amy Says: A Book on Every Bed

posted by Nell Minow

I love to remind people about Amy Dickinson’s wonderful “Book on Every Bed” proposal: Here’s how it happens: You take a book (it can be new or a favorite from your own childhood). You wrap it. On Christmas Eve (or […]

TOADY 2014: The Worst Toy of the Year

posted by Nell Minow

I look forward to the TOADY (Toys Oppressive and Destructive to Young children) worst toy of the year award given out each year by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood with a horrified fascination. What could they have been thinking? […]

Does PG-13 Mean Anything Anymore?

posted by Nell Minow

The Washington Post has an article about a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Parental Desensitization to Violence and Sex in Movies,” with some disturbing conclusions about parents’ ability to make good decisions about the impact some media […]

Is E-Reading to Kids the Same as Analog Reading?

posted by Nell Minow

The New York Times asks, Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time? In a 2013 study, researchers found that children ages 3 to 5 whose parents read to them from an electronic book had lower reading […]

Common Sense Media Gives Its First Seal of Approval

posted by Nell Minow

I’m a big fan of Common Sense Media. I helped them get started and have been very impressed by how much they have achieved. They have just awarded their first-ever seal of approval to this week’s release of “Alexander and […]

TrueSpark: Teaching Children and Teens About Character With Quality Films

posted by Nell Minow

I am honored to serve on the advisory committee for TrueSpark, which provides quality films and curricula for schools at no cost to use in teaching character. Parents and teachers who want to learn more can find out how to […]

The Best TV for Kids May Be Online

posted by Nell Minow

Children have more choices than ever on television, but some of the best viewing for kids is online. Common Sense Media has a great list of family-friendly YouTube stars. I’d add EvanTube to the list. Newsweek calls him The Most […]

NAACP Reminds Parents to Read to Their Kids

posted by Nell Minow

The NAACP has an all-star line-up of performers reminding parents to read to their children, including Bill Withers and Tatyana Ali.  Take a listen — and follow their advice.  There is no greater gift you can give your kids than […]

Back to School Guidelines for Parents on Kids and Media

posted by Nell Minow

Screen time is a treat, not a right. It’s a good idea to make sure that it comes only after homework, chores, other kinds of play, and family time. Make sure there is some quiet time each day as well. […]

Start the School Year With a No-Screen Week

posted by Nell Minow

A new study shows another good reason to detox from all screen time now and then, especially for kids.  Children who take a five-day break from all screens are better at reading real-life facial expressions to understand the emotions of […]

Teaching Kids Kindness: Richard Weissbourd

posted by Nell Minow

I am a big fan of Richard Weisbourd, author of The Parents We Mean To Be: How Well-Intentioned Adults Undermine Children’s Moral and Emotional Development, and I was especially impressed with his thoughtful comments on teaching children kindness — not […]

Free for a Limited Time: 121 Best Books for Children

posted by Nell Minow

The wonderful folks at Dinner A Love Story have kindly made their 121 Books: The Greatest Kid Books of All Time ebook available for free for a limited time, so grab it right now.

Interview: Raffi and His New CD “Love Bug”

posted by Nell Minow

Raffi has a new CD! His first new music in twelve years is called Love Bug and it will be available tomorrow. It was a special thrill to talk to someone whose music has been so important to our family. […]

Interview: Children’s Music Star Alex Mitnick

posted by Nell Minow

Alex Mitnick stars in Alex & The Kaleidoscope, a fun and friendly series on YouTube and NYC-TV.  Mitnick uses music and colorful, inviting adventures to engage children’s curiosity.  I really enjoyed talking to him about what makes music such a powerful […]

Screen-Free Week 2014 Starts Tomorrow

posted by Nell Minow

Check out these ideas to help your family detox from television and the internet.  And before you turn off your computers for a week, watch this to remind you what we miss when we look at screens instead of each […]

Interview: Overcoming Autism with Claire LaZebnik

posted by Nell Minow

A completely revised new edition of the indispensable book Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies, and Hope That Can Transform a Child’s Life comes out tomorrow. The original, published ten years ago, was written by Dr. Lynn Koegel, the nationally […]

All Children Need Books About All Children

posted by Nell Minow

Author Walter Dean Myers, former Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, wrote about a troubling issue in the New York Times: the lack of diversity in books for children. “Of 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, just […]

A Dad and His Daughter Make Time for Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Cinema Blend has a terrific new series called Parental Guidance, the saga of a devoted dad and his 15 year old daughter who’ve agreed to watch some of the dad’s favorite movies together.  So far, they’ve watched “Raiders of the […]

Should We Ban Hand-Held Devices for Kids?

posted by Nell Minow

Cris Rowan has a provocative but compelling piece in Huffington Post arguing that no one under 12 should use smart phones, tablets, or other devices.  Her reasons include studies linking the amount of screen time to radiation exposure, obesity, and […]

Slate’s New Parenting Podcast

posted by Nell Minow

I am a big fan of Slate’s podcasts, especially the Culture Gabfest, and am delighted that Dan Kois (of the excellent Book Club) is co-hosting a new one about parenting.  Kois and his co-host, Alison Benedikt, lead off with their […]

The Present NOT to Buy Your Children Next Christmas

posted by Nell Minow

Dreamworks is teaming up with Fuhu, the maker of tablets  for children to create the first tablet in which the content provider controls what the user sees.  In other words, it’s more like a television.  While Amazon sensibly makes sure […]

Limiting Screentime

posted by Nell Minow

It’s a challenge to keep kids away from television and computers and tablets and smartphones, especially in the winter when they are indoors much of the time, and when they’re out of school.  And it is a challenge to make […]

A Book on Every Bed: Amy Dickinson

posted by Nell Minow

I love Amy Dickinson’s idea of “A Book on Every Bed,” a wonderful way to start Christmas (or any other special occasion). Here’s how it works: You take a book (it can be new or a favorite from your own […]

I Hope This Idea from a New Jersey Restaurant Goes Viral

posted by Nell Minow

Cheers to The Station in Bernardsville, NJ.  They give patrons a basket for their phones and other devices.  And then if the customers make it to the end of the meal without using them, they give 5% off the bill. […]

Guidelines for Family Movie Night from Common Sense Media

posted by Nell Minow

Common Sense Media has some common sense guidelines for family movie night.  The range of opportunities for solitary consumption of media has led to less time for families to sit down at the same time to enjoy — and talk […]

Pediatricians Say Kids Spend Too Much Time Watching Media

posted by Nell Minow

Kids spend too much time staring at screens according to recommendations released today from the American Academy of Pediatrics. “The average 8-year-old spends eight hours a day using various forms of media, and teenagers often surpass 11 hours of media […]

Who Can Teen Girls Count On For Good Advice?

posted by Nell Minow

In 2002 I wrote an article about the messages in magazines for teenage girls.  I said that they struck “an uneasy balance between being empowering and being trashy. This is the result of another uneasy balance between their two constituencies, […]

Participate in an Important Study of the Impact of Screen Time on Kids

posted by Nell Minow

Parents — Here is your chance to help scientists who are studying the impact of screen time on children.  No generation has been as saturated with media as this one.  Babies learn to play with smartphones and tablets before they […]

Brave Girl Ads Send a Message

posted by Nell Minow

It is great to see girls and their families and teachers talking back to corporations who fail to understand their courage, strength, curiosity, and range of interests.

Emotional ABC’s Teach Children to Recognize Feelings In Themselves and Others

posted by Nell Minow

We spend so much time worrying about teaching our children reading and math that we can overlook the importance of teaching them to recognize and handle emotions in themselves and others.  So I like the new resources from Emotional ABC’s, […]

Geena Davis: The “Guess Who?” Educational Program

posted by Nell Minow

For more information: Institute on Gender in Media

Geena Davis: The Hyper-Sexualization of Girls in the Media

posted by Nell Minow

For more information: Institute on Gender and Media

Geena Davis on Talking to Kids About What You See on TV

posted by Nell Minow

This is one of my favorite of the excellent Geena Davis series to help parents manage the media onslaught.  Parents should model the kind of active engagement with what they see that kids need to learn to develop.

Geena Davis Has Some Great New Guidance for Families

posted by Nell Minow

Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis has released a slew of exclusive videos with the LA-based video parenting site, Kids In The House, with thoughtful and heartfelt insights on hot topics in the entertainment industry as well as parenting.  Topics include: ·         Gender […]

What Was Really Wrong With Miley Cyrus on the VMAs

posted by Nell Minow

Another VMA broadcast on MTV, another morning-after round of horrified reactions.  This time, most of the criticism is focused on former Disney tween star Miley Cyrus, whose dance with Robin Thicke included the usual VMA trifecta for female performers: skimpy […]

Before You Download that “Educational” App for Your Baby

posted by Nell Minow

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission charging that “educational” apps for babies do not have any documented value.  This is the same group that made the charges against Baby Einstein that […]

Amy Poehler’s Advice to Girls

posted by Nell Minow

I love Amy Poehler‘s series of advice videos for girls — good advice for everyone.  I love this one about the importance of quiet. And this one about the importance of being nice.

Some Scary Facts to Follow Screen-Free Week

posted by Nell Minow

For a look at the scope and consequences of today’s media-saturated culture on children, check out these charts and an article from Utne about the impact of nonstop corporate marketing through kids’ media. Marketing affects what children want to eat, wear, […]

Screen-Free Week 2013

posted by Nell Minow

It used to be TV Turn-Off Week, but now we are surrounded by screens so it has to go farther.  This is a great week to spend time outdoors, read books on paper, and use meal-time and travel time for […]

MPAA’s New Check the Box Ratings

posted by Nell Minow

The MPAA ratings board announced some new “check the box” enhancements to the movie ratings system to give parents better and clearer information about the content of the movies, along with an ad campaign, an updated website for checking ratings, […]

New Book on Bullying from Emily Bazelon — Pre-Order for Special Extras

posted by Nell Minow

Emily Bazelon’s first book, Sticks and Stones, comes out this month.  Her Slate series about bullying included illuminating research that altered the conventional narrative of some highly publicized real-life cases.  The book builds on this with new stories about kids […]

Family-Unfriendly Super Bowl Ads

posted by Nell Minow

Families who want to enjoy the Super Bowl together might want to turn off the television during the ads.  The commercials now get almost as much press as the game itself.  But Common Sense Media reports that this year’s ads […]

“Everything Else Was True” — “Catfishing” with Manti T’eo and on MTV

posted by Nell Minow

Notre Dame football player Manti T’eo says that he was the victim of a heartless hoax.  He thought he had a girlfriend who died of cancer.  But no such person existed.  Although he told people he had seen and spoken […]

Rules for a Middle Schooler’s iPhone

posted by Nell Minow

I love the rules from a mom to her son about the use of his new iPhone, among them: 6. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the […]

Free This Weekend: Ebook About Parenting

posted by Nell Minow

This weekend only, get Annie Fox’s ebook, Teaching Kids to Be Good People: Progressive Parenting for the 21st Century for free on Amazon. “Not all teachers are parents, but all parents are teachers. When we teach kids to be good […]

And the Winner for Worst Toy of the Year Is….

posted by Nell Minow

..the Fisher-Price™ Laugh & Learn™ Apptivity™ Monkey.  The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has once again put the worst toys of the year to a vote, with nominees that are designed to promote commercial brands or media  rather than performing the […]

Game Makers Push for Consistent Ratings on Multiple Platforms

posted by Nell Minow

Television has parental guidance ratings that go from TV-Y (all audiences) to TV-MA (mature audiences).  Movies have the MPAA rating system, from G to NC-17.  The recording industry has a parental advisory label. Games are rated EC (early childhood) to […]

New Report on Children, Teens, and Entertainment Media

posted by Nell Minow

Common Sense Media has issued a new research report, Children, Teens, and Entertainment Media: The View from the Classroom.  Findings include: Most teachers think that use of entertainment media has impaired ability to learn and perform in the classroom by decreasing […]

The FTC Helps Kids Understand Advertising

posted by Nell Minow

The Federal Trade Commission has an excellent website to help kids be smarter consumers.  It’s always a challenge to teach children to identify and challenge the bombardment of advertising messages they get every day.  You Are Here’s West Terrace explains targeted […]

Do Video Games Cause Attention Problems? Can They Reduce Attention Problems?

posted by Nell Minow

Parents of children with attention deficit issues like distractibility often note that their children can become utterly absorbed in a computer game even though they have trouble maintaining focus in other environments.  According to the Child Mind Institute’s Caroline Miller: […]

Keeping Children Safe Online: Club Penguin

posted by Nell Minow

We warn our children not to talk to strangers, but how do we protect them when there are online resources set up specifically for them to make new friends?  Forbes has a thoughtful piece about Club Penguin, a social networking […]

Teaching Kids About “Stuff”

posted by Nell Minow

I like Kirsten Greenidge’s piece in the Boston Globe about what she did when her children had tantrums in a store.  She said she understands the appeal of “stuff.”  And she described how the seemingly harmless fun of posting photos […]

Dr. Toy’s Recommendations for Vacation Play

posted by Nell Minow

Dr. Toy’s Best Vacation Children’s Products for 2012 report is now available to parents, teachers, caregivers, grandparents, and others responsible for children.  As children enjoy the summer, these toys will help them play safely with toys that stretch their imaginations and curiousityat home, […]

Summer Activity for Kids: Memorize Poems

posted by Nell Minow

“Whose woods these are, I think I know….”  You know how I know?  My mother told me that would be a good poem to memorize when I was eight.  I still know it by heart. One of the best things you […]

Parental Alert: Pornography and Abuse on Teen Websites

posted by Nell Minow

Habbo Hotel, a popular social media website for teenagers, is reopening after suspending its interactive functions following an investigative journalist’s reports of abuse. Following Tuesday’s announcement that mobile app Skout temporarily closed its under-18 community amidst rape allegations, Finnish virtual world Habbo […]

Children Now Calls on the FCC to Limit Hidden Ads in Children’s Programming

posted by Nell Minow

Industry publication Broadcasting & Cable reports that representatives of the advocacy group Children Now met with a top aide to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and other FCC staffers last week “to press the commission to take a stand against imbedded advertising […]

Kids’ Toys and Costumes for the PG-13 “The Avengers”

posted by Nell Minow

“The Avengers” is a PG-13 superhero movie with “intense sequences of action violence throughout and a drug reference,” according to the MPAA.  So why is it marketing the film via action figures and costumes for children?  Alert reader Andreas U. […]

Happy Screen-Free Week!

posted by Nell Minow

Nationwide Screen-Free Week begins today through May 6. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has a list of some of the hundreds of activities planned by Screen-Free Week organizers: Read Boston has asked 4,000 students in 12 partner schools to take the screen-free […]

Talking about Fairy Tales on WAMU

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to the Kojo Nnamdi Show for inviting me on to talk about fairy tales — their enduring popularity and their prevalence in today’s media — with two men whose books I have read and enjoyed, Jack Zipes and […]

Movies to Help Families Talk About Grief and Loss

posted by Nell Minow

I was honored to be quoted in a thoughtful post by Jeanne Davis about using movies to help kids talk about grief and loss. Movies are as full of loss as they are of love, unspooling the human experience in […]

Marketing Legos to Boys and Girls

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to my friends at the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood for pointing me to this look at the different way Legos are marketed to boys and girls.  I love the way the website lets you make your own mash-up. […]

Petition to give “Bully” a PG-13 Rating

posted by Nell Minow

“Bully,” which will be released on March 3o, is a powerful and critically important documentary about the tragic consequences of bullying on children and teenagers.  It can no longer be dismissed as an inevitable part of growing up or something […]

FTC Approves Children’s Protection Program I Supported

posted by Nell Minow

I am very pleased that the Federal Trade Commission has voted unanimously to approve a program I supported to increase the protection of children and teens online. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) requires operators of websites and online […]

New Study on Children’s Increasing Immersion in Media

posted by Nell Minow

How families use media and what it means for kids’ health and well-being is the subject of Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America, the first study by Common Sense Media’s new Program for the Study of Children and […]

The Pediatricians Really Mean It: No TV, Movies, or Computers for Under-Twos

posted by Nell Minow

The American Academy of Pediatrics has said it again.  They do not recommend any screen time for children under two.  They first issued this recommendation in 1999.  But in the last 12 years, family media use has skyrocketed. The temptation to […]

New Sesame Street Character Teaches Kids About Food — And Hunger

posted by Nell Minow

In observance of World Food Day, “Sesame Street” has a new toolkit to help families make good decisions about food, so that even those on a limited budget can make meals that help families grow and stay healthy.  A new […]

Interview: David Code on How Parental Stress is Toxic for Kids

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to author David Code for answering my questions about his new book,  Kids Pick Up On Everything: How Parental Stress Is Toxic To Kids. As featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CBS and Fox News, […]

Cyber-bullying Toolkit from Common Sense Media

posted by Nell Minow

Common Sense Media has prepared a free cyber-bullying toolkit for educators with materials designed to show students how to stand up when they see digital harassment happening and to help create a positive school culture where kids can thrive – both online […]

Nickelodeon Explains 9/11 to Kids

posted by Nell Minow

Linda Ellerbee’s news programs for kids on Nickelodeon are some of the best journalism for any age available today and very important for family viewing and discussion.  Tonight, she explains what happened on September 11, 2001 to children who were […]

Family Media Rules for the New School Year

posted by Nell Minow

As families get ready to start a new school year, it is a good opportunity to sit down and map out the rules for managing media, which should be posted in the kitchen and signed off on by both adults […]

USA Today on New Techniques in Marketing to Kids

posted by Nell Minow

USA Today has an important article on new technologies for marketing to kids. With the use of new, kid-enchanting technologies, are savvy marketers gaining the upper hand on parents? Are toy marketers such as Ganz, food marketers such as McDonald’s […]

More from The Moth: Adam Gopnick Learns the True Meaning of LOL

posted by Nell Minow

This is one of my all-time favorite stories from The Moth, and one of the all-time greatest stories ever about being a parent.  Adam Gopnick on virtually parenting a 12-year-old.    

What Facebook Does to Kids

posted by Nell Minow

Atlantic Wire has a good post on the impact of Facebook on the brains of the teenagers who use it, based on a presentation to the American Psychological Association by psychologist Larry D. Rosen’s called “Poke Me: How Social Networks Can Both […]

Bravo to AMC Theaters for the ‘Sensory Friendly’ Film Series

posted by Nell Minow

I was delighted to hear that AMC theaters is reaching out to family members with autism spectrum issues with monthly “Sensory Friendly” film showings.  Participating theaters are schedules to run the following films at 10 am, with lower sound and […]

Supreme Court: Violent Video Games Get Free Speech Protection

posted by Nell Minow

A California law that would prevent the sale of violent video games to children has been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.  The 2005 California law has never been enforced because it was found unconstitutional in the lower court as […]

Common Sense Media’s Best Book Apps for Kids

posted by Nell Minow

Common Sense Media has a great list of the best apps to encourage young readers.  This is a wonderful way to introduce children to the pleasures of books.  I was especially taken with Icarus Swinebuckle.  Parents can read aloud, with […]

7.5 Million Underage Facebook Users — New Report

posted by Nell Minow

Of the 20 million minors who actively used Facebook in the past year, 7.5 million of them were younger than 13, according to projections from Consumer Reports’ latest State of the Net survey.  Facebook’s terms of service require users to […]

Ralph Lauren Pretends His Catalog is a Book For Kids

posted by Nell Minow

Renée Loth writes in the Boston Globe this weekend about Ralph Lauren’s new “book” for children — really a thinly disguised catalog.  They’re calling it “The first ever shoppable children’s storybook.’’ “The RL Gang: A Magically Magnificent School Adventure’’ is […]

Screen-Free Week April 18-24

posted by Nell Minow

It used to be called TV-Turnoff Week but that was so 1990’s.  Now it’s Screen-Free Week — one week for families to turn off the screens and reconnect with old-fashioned in-person interaction, to look each other in the eyes, spend […]

Don’t Play With Bruno; Bruno is a Dweeb

posted by Nell Minow

I was delighted to find this great version of one of my favorite Tom Chapin songs, performed by Steve Charney — very timely with the increased sensitivity to issues of bullying and mean behavior in schools, and a great way […]

Dateline on Bullying: ‘My Kids Would Never….Bully’

posted by Nell Minow

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy Thanks to commenter Barbara Gibson for suggesting that I recommend this important Dateline episode about teen bullying. Parents get some surprises when they watch as hidden cameras reveal […]

Skins — Another Challenge for Parents of Teens

posted by Nell Minow

MTV’s latest series is Skins, an American version of a controversial British television show about teenagers and starring teenagers. It was co-created by a teenager, the son of a television writer who was challenged by his father to come up […]

PTC Report on Sexualization of Teenage Girls on Television

posted by Nell Minow

The Parents Television Council released a new report today on the portrayal of teenage girls on television. The report, ??Tinseltown’s New Target: A Study of Teen Female Sexualization on Prime-Time TV, is based on a content analysis of the most […]

Roger Ebert Cites Me in MPAA Ratings Op-Ed

posted by Nell Minow

I am honored to be mentioned in Roger Ebert’s outstanding op-ed about the MPAA ratings, and thrilled with his support for what I do. Last week, on appeal, the MPAA lowered the rating of “Blue Valentine,” a searing portrait of […]

Another Bad Call from the MPAA

posted by Nell Minow

The ultra-violent “Saw 3D” gets an R. The ultra-explicit and disgusting “Jackass 3D” gets an R. But how does “The King’s Speech” get an R? This is an acclaimed historical drama about the King of England (Colin Firth) who has […]

Do the GQ ‘Glee’ Photos Go Too Far?

posted by Nell Minow

Katie Couric and the Parents Television Council are objecting to a sexy photo spread of “Glee” cast members in GQ Magazine. While Finn (Cory Monteith) is fully clothed, his cast mates Rachel (Lea Michelle) and Quinn (Diana Agron) (both 24 […]

Protecting Kids’ Privacy: Common Sense Media

posted by Nell Minow

Common Sense Media announced a new privacy initiative this week along with the results of their survey showing that 92 percent of parents are concerned about protecting their children’s privacy online. The Common Sense Privacy Campaign will include the distribution […]

Say No to Informercials Masquerading as Programs for Kids

posted by Nell Minow

The FCC has issued a call for public comment on the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s petition that the upcoming Nicktoons children’s television show Zevo-3 violates the public interest. It is the first children’s show to feature commercial spokescharacters; the […]

The Different Kinds of Scary — Movie Mom Minute

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to Jennifer Kachler, Adam Donald, Daniel Sheppard, Brian Gonzalez, my homegirl Laine Kaplowitz, and everyone at the fabulous Bethesda Row Theatre.

Violence in Movies Shown on Airplanes

posted by Nell Minow

The only truly captive audience for movies is airline passengers. You do not have to put on the headset, but if you are disturbed or offended by what is on screen there is no way to turn it off. Airlines […]

Time for Dinner: Resource for Families to Help Maintain Connections

posted by Nell Minow

The best way to keep families close and teach children essential life skills is to keep family dinner time a priority. No matter what else is going on, families should stop everything else at least five times a week for […]

Offlining — Right Idea, but What About the Message?

posted by Nell Minow

I love the idea of “offlining,” asking families to take a pledge of device-free time to focus on real-life communication. More than 10,000 people have signed their pledge to have at least 10 device-free dinners between now and Thanksgiving. I […]

Back to School Advice from Parent to Parent

posted by Nell Minow

Common Sense Media has a very worthwhile list of back to school tips from the people who’ve been there — other parents. I especially like the idea of taking cell phones and putting them on an out-of-bedroom charger before bed […]

The Kind Campaign

posted by Nell Minow

How can we teach girls to be kinder to each other? We see a lot of movies and television shows and ads about the importance of being thin and looking young and smelling good and making money and being quippy […]

The Other Toy Story

posted by Nell Minow

It’s a shame that a movie about the enduring pleasures of imagination and re-purposing and recycling treasured toys is also one long infomercial for more than 300 new products specifically tied to “Toy Story 3.” Susan Linn of the Center […]

Great Movie Dads for Father’s Day

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Father’s Day! 1. Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) in “To Kill a Mockingbird” The last line of the movie says it all: “He turned out the light and went into Jem’s room. He would be there all night and he […]

Spellbound

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date:2003
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
Movie Release Date: 2003

In honor of this week’s Scripps Spelling Bee finals, every family should see this m-a-r-v-e-l-o-u-s movie about the national spelling bee because it is about so much more. It is about the strength of American diversity and the commitment of […]

Shrek Sells Out

posted by Nell Minow

I loved the new Shrek Forever After movie. But I was very sorry to see that the lovable big green ogre is not just living happily ever after over in Far Far Away. He is all over the mall selling […]

More Bad Language Goes Mainstream

posted by Nell Minow

I have written before about the coarsening of language in the media, which continues to concern me. Two recent examples are in the titles of upcoming releases. While the movie and television series are not intended for children, I wonder […]

How to Protect Yourself From Facebook’s New ‘Privacy’ Changes

posted by Nell Minow

Facebook has made some new changes that make your information much more vulnerable to public display. Please take a few moments to watch this video from Connect Safely and share it with your middle and high school children to make […]

Teach Kids About Advertising

posted by Nell Minow

The Federal Trade Commission has a terrific new online game for kids that will teach them to understand the difference between someone trying to tell them something and someone trying to sell them something. It’s called Admongo. The FTC’s message […]

What’s the Worst Toy of the Year?

posted by Nell Minow

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has announced its nominees for the TOADY award (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children). Anyone can vote to select the worst from candidates that include a Halo toy for children promoting a violent […]

Supreme Court to Rule on Limiting Sales of Violent Games to Kids

posted by Nell Minow

Is there a First Amendment right to sell violent video games to children and teenagers? The California legislature said no. They enacted a law imposing a fine of up to $1000 on retailers who sell violent games to anyone under […]

National Screen Free Week

posted by Nell Minow

It isn’t TV Turn Off week any more. It’s now National Screen Free Week. As Aria Wallace discovered, turning off all of our devices can be difficult, but it can open us up to truer, deeper, more nuanced and more […]

More on Red-Band Trailers

posted by Nell Minow

Brooks Barnes writes in today’s New York Times about the increased accessibility of “red-band” trailers, movie previews that contain R-rated material. Over the last two years, movie marketers have flooded the Web with R-rated video ads known as “red band” […]

Ask Amy’s Recommendation

posted by Nell Minow

I am thrilled and honored to be mentioned in today’s Ask Amy column. A parent wrote in about 9 and 10 year olds who had seen the very R-rated “The Hangover” multiple times. Amy Dickenson wisely suggested an honest and […]

FCC Chairman’s Promises to Children

posted by Nell Minow

On March 12, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced recommendations in the National Broadband Plan to benefit children and their families and initiatives to foster the Commission’s Children’s Agenda for Digital Opportunity to help children and empower parents. “Children […]

Red-Band Trailers Reach Underage Audiences

posted by Nell Minow

I am quoted in Brooks Barnes’ New York Times article today about the “red-band” trailer for a new superhero movie called “Kick-Ass.” Red-band trailers contain R-rated material and are supposed to be shown to adults only. In theaters, they are […]

The Parenthood Project

posted by Nell Minow

I’m looking forward to the new television series “Parenthood,” based on the 1989 movie starring Steve Martin, Jason Robards, and Dianne Weist. Producer Brian Grazer, director Ron Howard and screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel based the film on their […]

How Can Parents Manage the Media Deluge?

posted by Nell Minow

The New York Times has a good discussion of the Kaiser M2 Report about kids and (multi) media. “As parents, we’ve spent nearly 50 years trying to keep children away from media, and look where they are now: swimming in […]

Kids and Media: Kaiser’s M2 Report

posted by Nell Minow

The highly respected Kaiser Foundation has issued the third in its series of reports on children and media, Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8-18-year-olds. They found that with technology allowing nearly 24-hour media access as children and teens […]

‘I See Rude People’ — New Book on Civility

posted by Nell Minow

New Year’s resolutions tend to be about losing weight, quitting smoking, saving money, or getting more exercise. But some studies show that number 1 is spending more time with friends and family. I See Rude People: One woman’s battle to […]

Teaching Kids Critical Thinking Skills — With Holiday Ads

posted by Nell Minow

Ellen Besen has written a worthwhile article about how to use the avalanche of holiday season advertising to give children some important lessons in media literacy and critical thinking. Many thanks to Ms. Besen for permission to reprint it here. […]

FTC: Movie Industry Fails at Protecting Kids from Violent Content

posted by Nell Minow

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission issued its seventh report in ten years on the marketing of violent media to children. While the movie industry is doing better at preventing children who are underage from buying tickets to R-rated films […]

What Was Adam Lambert Thinking?

posted by Nell Minow

I was looking forward to Adam Lambert’s performance on the American Music Awards last night because I was impressed with his ability and stage presence on “American Idol.” The show included some of the industry’s biggest stars, but they saved […]

More on the Eww-ishness of Zach and Cody

posted by Nell Minow

Slate TV critic Troy Patterson echoes the concerns about the smarmy qualities of the Disney series “The Suite Life on Deck” that Dan Savage discussed in the essay I linked to in June. “On Deck” is the follow-up series that […]

Disney Admits that Baby Einstein Does Not Help Babies

posted by Nell Minow

Disney, which had to drop the word “educational” from its marketing of Baby Einstein DVDs following complaints from the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), has now had to back down further and offer a refund. The New York Times […]

Ludacris at the National Press Club

posted by Nell Minow

My good friend and fellow critic Tim Gordon and I went to hear hip-hop artist/actor/philanthropist Ludacris speak at the National Press Club on Friday. He was there to talk about his foundation and the work it does in Atlanta and […]

Parental Guidance on Web Videos

posted by Nell Minow

The New York Times has an excellent article about the way children today are watching as much programming online as they do on television and DVDs, giving them an unprecedented bounty of choices and giving their parents an unprecedented range […]

List: Movies About Courtesy

posted by Nell Minow

As I noted last week in my discussion of the recent outbreak of rudeness, courtesy is a neglected virtue, often dismissed as tangential or even hypocritical. But courtesy is sincere, based on a recognition of the dignity deserved by all […]

Nursery University

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2009
DVD Release Date:September 8, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2009
DVD Release Date: September 8, 2009

Ingredients: 1. Too many toddlers 2. Not enough preschools 3. Parents who will do anything for their children 4. Parents whose top priority is their children’s education 5. Parents who recognize the substantial social and educational advantages of the few […]

Interview: Ellen Besen on Visual Literacy

posted by Nell Minow

The average American child watches two to three hours of TV a day, according to the American Association of Pediatrics. And that doesn’t include the time they spend playing video games, sitting in front of the computer, and watching movies. […]

Digital Literacy and Citizenship: Report from Common Sense Media

posted by Nell Minow

Common Sense Media is an outstanding resource for parents and I am proud to be a member of their board of advisers. Their new report, “Digital Literacy and Citizenship in the 21st Century: Educating, Empowering, and Protecting America’s Kids,” and […]

The Parents We Mean to Be: How Well-Intentioned Parents Undermine Children’s Moral and Emotional Development

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to Richard Weissbourd, author of The Parents We Mean To Be: How Well-Intentioned Adults Undermine Children’s Moral and Emotional Development, for giving me permission to post this thoughtful conversation about parents, children, and what does and does not […]

Which is Dirtier — ‘Land of the Lost’ or ‘Hangover?’ (Spoiler Alert)

posted by Nell Minow

The Hangover and Land of the Lost opened on the same day. Other than that, they have little in common. The Hangover is a raunchy comedy about the aftermath of a Las Vegas bachelor party that would have been unforgettable […]

PBS Resource on Media for Parents

posted by Nell Minow

PBS has an excellent online resource for parents about the way that media shapes children’s views of the world, with separate sections for preschoolers, grade schoolers, pre-teens and teens, with tips for each age to help children understand media and […]

A Terminator Costume for Little Kids?

posted by Nell Minow

Cinematical reports that Toys R Us is selling a Terminator costume for little kids who, of course, are too young to see the movie, which is rated PG-13 and is just a millimeter away from an R. I understand that […]

Parking Lot Rules — Parenting Book from Tom Sturges

posted by Nell Minow

Tom Sturges is the author of Parking Lot Rules & 75 Other Ideas for Raising Amazing Children. It is one of the most insightful and useful parenting books I have ever seen and I recommend it highly. I guarantee that […]

Dr. Toy

posted by Nell Minow

Stevanne Auerbach is better known as “Dr. Toy,” and she and her website are great resources for parents on issues of toys and ply. Her book is Dr. Toy’s Smart Play: How To Raise A Child With a High PQ […]

Has ‘Pimp’ Become an Acceptable Term for Children?

posted by Nell Minow

“G-Force” is an upcoming PG-rated comedy from Disney about a crack team of super-agents who happen to be guinea pigs, assisted by a mole and a fly, with voice talent including Tracy Morgan and Steve Buscemi. The trailer makes it […]

More Marketing of PG-13 Movies to Little Kids

posted by Nell Minow

My friend Liz Perle has a wonderful piece at Common Sense Media about the latest efforts to market PG-13 movies to young children. The first Transformers movie, which was rated PG-13 but lent its brand to Happy Meal toys aimed […]

Disney’s First African-American Princess

posted by Nell Minow

The Disney Princesses, each the star of her own movie, are now a team and something of a marketing juggernaut. They have transcended their individual stories and now appear together in a wide range of merchandise. And now Snow White […]

‘Honey I Wrecked the Kids’ — Parenting Advice from Alyson Schafer

posted by Nell Minow

One of parenthood’s toughest challenges is finding a way to communicate clearly with your children about our expectations and standards while also communicating our unconditional love and support. This is especially difficult when it comes to incentives and discipline. We […]

When Not to Watch Movies, Part 1

posted by Nell Minow

I was recently reminded of an incident I wrote about three years ago for the Chicago Tribune and it inspired me to re-post the essay: My husband, daughter and I had just settled in for lunch at one of our […]

Dora’s Makeover, Part 2

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful comments on the new “Dora.” I promised to follow up, so here is the latest picture of what the older version of Dora will look like. As I have said, I am keeping an […]

Does Facebook Make Us Colder and More Impatient?

posted by Nell Minow

Social network sites risk infantilizing the mid-21st century mind, leaving it characterized by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathize and a shaky sense of identity, according to a leading neuroscientist. The UK paper The Guardian reports that Lady Greenfield, […]

Dora’s Disappointing Makeover

posted by Nell Minow

Here is the opening paragraph of a new press release: Mattel, Inc. (NYSE:MAT) and Nickelodeon/Viacom Consumer Products (NVCP), announced today that Dora the Explorer™ is growing up! The companies have introduced a whole new way to look at Dora for […]

Teen ‘Idols’ — How to Talk to Jonas Brothers Fans

posted by Nell Minow

Do you have a Jonas Brothers fan in your family? Or maybe a fanatic? Some parents have found their children’s devotion to the latest pop stars a little disconcerting. One father suggested that his daughter’s enthusiasm might merit a discussion […]

Inappropriate Themes in ‘Ratatouille’ and ‘Nancy Drew?’

posted by Nell Minow

Two movies for kids coming out this month devote a significant amount of story-telling time to plot twists involving secret out-of-wedlock children whose fathers were never told that they existed. One is the PG “Nancy Drew” and the other is […]

Previous Posts

Tonight on PBS: Memorial Day Concert
On the eve of Memorial Day, PBS will broadcast a star-studded lineup for the annual Memorial Day concert and tribute to the military. For over 25 years, this multiple-award-winning television event has honored the military service and sacrifice ...

posted 12:00:37pm May. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Movies for Memorial Day
I've already written about great documentaries and feature films about the military to watch on Memorial Day.  These recent documentaries about our 21st century conflicts give the military a chance to tell their own story.  They are not ...

posted 8:00:08am May. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Batkid Begins
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/JMUw4Ndpbdw?rel=0&controls=0&showinfo=0" frameborder="0"] The amazing Make-a-Wish story that captivated the world is now a movie, and I've been looking forward to it ...

posted 8:00:33am May. 23, 2015 | read full post »

A Clip from A.D. The Bible Continues -- Jesus Appears to Saul
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHhESz-i9wY[/youtube] Jesus appears to Saul to turn him towards righteousness in this clip from Episode 8 of "A.D. The Bible Continues," premiering Sunday, May 24, 2015, at 9/8c on NBC. ...

posted 10:52:40pm May. 22, 2015 | read full post »

Tomorrowland's Inspirations
Brad Bird's gorgeously imagined "Tomorrowland" is not just inspired by an area in the original Disneyland, celebrating its 60th anniversary this week, it is a tribute to the sensationally imaginative work of the "imagineers" and artists who ...

posted 8:03:49am May. 22, 2015 | read full post »

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