501 Life Magazine | Making smart kid-friendly media choices
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Making smart kid-friendly media choices

by Brittany Gilbert

I was recently looking for a review on the new movie Maleficent. I wanted to know if it was kid-friendly and started wondering if there were resources that could help me out, specifically an app that I could quickly access.

I stumbled upon two apps: “Plugged In” from Focus on the Family and “Kids Media” by Common Sense Media.

“Plugged In” Free; Available for iPhone, iPad and Android

I really like how simple this app is to navigate. You click on the category you want — movies, TV, games, music, etc. — and search within the category. The negative is that the items aren’t in alphabetical order, so your easiest option may be to use the search bar.

Because this app is by Focus on the Family, there is a “spiritual content” section within the review. Their focus is to “protect families” and “help families navigate the entertainment world around them.” “Plugged In” reviews are also lengthy, which, depending on what you’re looking for, could be good or bad.

“Kids Media” Free; Available for iPhone, iPad and Android

This app has a lot of the same features as the other. It also features an “Apps for Learning” category where you can find educational apps for your kids and even purchase the app from the review.

“Kids Media” promotes expert reviews and detailed advice for every age. There is a “browse by age” option to only see the reviews for age-appropriate material. To make it even more personal, you can add your child’s age to the app in the “My Kids” section and receive tailored selections. This app also offers reviews for games, books and movies.

Both of these apps are very useful when trying to make the best decision for your family. I will probably alternate between the two apps, but right now I lean toward “Plugged In.” I really like that they offer reviews from a Christian perspective. At first I was disappointed that “Kids Media” has a recommended age limit on their selections and “Plugged In” does not, however, the review itself is so detailed, I know I can decide for myself if it is appropriate for my kids.


Brittany Gilbert is a former FACS teacher at Maumelle High School. She and her husband, Levi, have two sons and live in Conway. Brittany can be reached at b.gilbert37@gmail.com.