A typical review gives an age rating and a star rating. It breaks down the content in a work and tells parents what they need to know about it. It summarizes the plot, explains if the work is good, and says what families can talk about after experiencing the work. Users can also add their own reviews that are separate from the main reviews.
Common Sense Media has a history of being reputed as a Moral Guardian haven on the Internet for seemingly New Media Are Evil views. Despite having softened this approach and giving rational advice anyone can agree to, please remember the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgement.
Common Sense Media provides examples of:
- An Aesop: One of the things they look out for is what positive messages or ideas a work gives to the audience.
- Alliterative Title: They have a movie review series called Movie Minute, which repeats the letter M.
- Audience Participation: Parents and kids can upload their own reviews to the website, though they are kept separate from the main professional review.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Whenever a movie has the word "movie" in the title, you get videos like "The LEGO Ninjago Movie: Movie Review" or "The Emoji Movie: Movie Review".
- Excited Show Title!: They have a video series called Watch Out!, which has an exclamation mark.
- Family-Unfriendly Violence: They rate the amount of violence and scariness a work has.
- Fanspeak: They have a video that explains Minecraft fanspeak and jargon to parents.
- Good Parents: They have a few videos showing good mothers and fathers throughout different media.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: "Common Sense" is repeated in the titles of the three websites. The websites are Common Sense Media, Common Sense Education, and Common Sense Kids Action.
- Let's Play: They have a few videos showcasing different Minecraft Let's Play channels that are good for kids to watch.
- Please Subscribe to Our Channel: The featured video on their channel is "Subscribe to Common Sense!", which tells viewers to subscribe the channel.
- Product Placement: This is one of the things they look out for. They rate the amount of commercialism a work has.
- Questioning Title?: Used for a few of their videos which ask what a certain kids' website is.
- "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: They have a guide on how parents can get their kids to think reading is fun. This can be done by reading aloud, enjoying the entire series, finding a good genre, finding a favorite author, reading classic books, reading books about what you're into, reading funny books, reading comics, reading ebooks, and reading as a family.
- Top Ten List: They have a few of these on YouTube, such as a list of Good Parents, a list of good Let's Play channels, etc.
- Video Review Show: Several of their reviews have video versions on YouTube.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: They suddenly stopped reviewing music, seeing as how their last review goes all the way back to 2014 with Sia's 1000 Forms of Fear album.
- YouTube Kids' Channel: Discussed. Their review of YouTube Kids explains how iffy or mature channels manage to slip through the filters and become visible to kids.