05/30/2011 09:01 pm ET | Updated Jul 30, 2011

Making Digital Citizenship a Reality in Los Angeles

Children today are growing up in the midst of a technological revolution that is changing the very nature of childhood. Our kids can be connected 24/7 to everyone and everything, whether it's through the computer in their homes or the mobile devices in their pockets. This immersion in media and technology profoundly shapes their social, emotional, and physical development.

That's why Common Sense Media exists: to help families, educators, industry leaders, and policy makers educate, empower, and protect our children. Through our ratings and reviews, parent advice, educational curriculum, and policy initiatives, Common Sense Media is empowering kids and families with the tools they need to thrive in a constantly changing media landscape, both nationally and in local communities around the country.

Last night, Common Sense Media held a wonderful event in Los Angeles, at the spectacular home of Kelvin Davis, to talk about our efforts and our future in Los Angeles. Over 60 people attended including, John Emerson, Mike Tollin, Robert Miller, Bill and Eva Price, Paul Orfalea, Marshall Tuck, Dr. Harvey Karp, Bruce and Martha Karsh, and many other producers and engaged Hollywood media leaders.

But the reality is: Common Sense Media has already made a big mark in the Los Angeles area, thanks to the help and support of some very forward thinking people - including Ray Cortinez, former superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District -- who recognize the need to educate, empower, and protect our kids in this digital age.

The Los Angeles Unified School District partnered with Common Sense Media last year as a demonstration district to implement and evaluate our digital literacy and citizenship curriculum, "Digital Citizenship in a Connected Culture" with select schools. We were so lucky to have the support of former Superintendent Cortinez in this effort - Ray is an inspirational leader who truly understands the role technology plays in expanding the educational opportunities of students. And there are a lot of them in LA, more than 1 million students in LAUSD alone. The education technology team that Ray put in place is continuing to work with Common Sense to expand the reach of our curriculum and to ensure that students throughout the district are given the opportunity to learn how to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in our ever-changing digital world.

Thanks to the fruitfulness of this partnership, we are so excited to announce our plans to open a Common Sense Media office in Los Angeles, to continue our work.

Many thanks to the event co-hosts who helped us put on this incredibly wonderful event:

  • Gene Sykes, Managing Director of Goldman Sachs & Co.
  • Marcy Carsey, Founding Partner, Carsey-Werner Productions
  • Michael Tollin, Founding Partner, Tollin Productions
  • Geoffrey Cowan, Director, USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy
  • Wendy Wachtell, President of the Joseph Drown Foundation
  • Bill Price, Co-Founder of TPG
  • Bob Miller, President and CEO, Miller Publishing Group

In a world where our kids now create as much media as they consume, it's essential that parents, educators, and policymakers do everything they can to ensure that our children will be responsible and literate digital citizens. It is Common Sense Media's mission to help our kids find the best in this world and learn to think critically about the media messages and content they consume. And we're so lucky and grateful to have such dedicated support to carry out that mission, in Los Angeles and beyond.

To get involved in Common Sense Media's work in Los Angeles, email Lauran Eastman at