Comcast and Common Sense Media have announced a multi-year partnership agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, Common Sense Media will furnish reviews and recommendations for children’s programming, across a wide variety of distribution vehicles owned by Comcast.

Comcast is the nation’s largest cable television company and provides a wide variety of entertainment, information and communication services to consumers in over forty states.  Among its services are cable television, broadband internet, telephone and home security. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Comcast also owns significant states in cable television networks like “E!”, “Style” and the “Golf Channel.”  In 2013, they completed the purchase of NBC/Universal, significantly increasing their access to programming to distribute across their wide spectrum of distribution outlets.

Common Sense Media, which started in San Francisco, is a non-profit corporation that advocates for children and family issues, and studies the effects technology and the media have on children. Common Senses offers reviews for books, videos, television programs, video games and other content, and rates them on their suitability for children. Suitability is determined by a scale that takes content elements into account, elements like sex, violence, mature subject matter, age-appropriateness, role models, profanity and more. Common Sense Media distributes its content to more than 100 million households in the US, via a wide variety of technological platforms. The organization is funded by grants from foundations and donations from media partners.

Adding ratings and reviews

With the increasing availability of programming available through a large spectrum of technological platforms; consumers today can access programs, videos, and games through their home televisions, video game consoles, desktop personal computers, laptop computers, tablet computers and smart mobile telephones. As the number of hardware platforms have increased, so has access by children to all of this material. Comcast felt it made perfect sense to add ratings and reviews to their various channels of program distribution, to help families make sensible program choices for their children.

This is another positive step for Comcast assisting families with programming choices.  Previously, they have introduced “kid-friendly” channels with exclusive content that is ‘child-friendly’ in nature.  Additionally, there are a number of parental controls that can be instituted by subscribers to Comcast services, such as “blocking” specific programs or entire channels. Blocking prevents access by children to the channels or programs that parents don’t believe to be healthy choices for their families. These types of services are available packaged into Comcast’s cable tv deals.

Additional controls

Additional controls of a similar nature are available to users of Comcast’s broadband internet services, whereby parents can assist their children in making constructive, healthy choices in internet surfing, and as is the case with cable television, there are tools available to parents to place various limitations on their home internet service, to protect their families from offensive websites.

Adding Common Sense Media recommendations and ratings to Comcast’s distribution channels is another positive step Comcast has taken to make sure the needs and wants of all of their customers are met and satisfied.  The wide variety of programming available to all users of nearly any technological hardware platform or distribution outlet makes it necessary for parents to have tools that help them influence their children’s choice of programs, games, and internet content.