Common Sense Media Expands to Reach Latino Families
March 8, 2016
Common Sense Media has launched Common Sense Latino, a dedicated page for Spanish-language videos and articles. The initiative seeks to offer Latino families information and resources to navigate and thrive in our digital world.
In creating Common Sense Latino, we’re responding to the overwhelming evidence that Spanish-speaking families want—and need—the latest information, guidance, and recommendations on media and technology. Today, according to the Census, Latinos represent 17 percent of the U.S. population, numbering approximately 50 million people. By 2060, that percentage will almost double. In 2015, one in four kids age 0 to 18 are of Latin origin, and in the California and Texas public school systems, Latino kids represent more than 50 percent of students.
As Common Sense Media’s director of Latino content and outreach, I’m both honored and proud to lead these efforts. To meet our audience’s needs, I strive to ensure that our content is culturally relevant, grounded in research, and true to child-development principles.
At Common Sense Latino, Spanish-speaking parents can find easy-to-understand, relatable content that speaks their language, understands their values, and recognizes their unique relationship to media and technology.
The page offers a mix of original content and translations, properly framed for this audience, from Common Sense Media’s English-language site. You can find advice, product reviews, and educational articles to help Latino families use technology to learn and to support academic goals.
One component of this work is our national joint campaign with Univision’s Clave al Éxito educational platform called “Avanzamos Conectados” or “Connected, We Advance.” The campaign aims to promote broadband access for Latino families, given that only 56 percent of these families in the U.S. have access at home, as well to promote the safe and smart use of technology at home.
When we were planning the campaign, Common Sense conducted focus groups with Latino parents and teenagers in Chicago and Sacramento that revealed some of the disparities in technology access many families contend with. One of the conclusions stated, “Parents say that their own lack of experience with the Internet and technology creates concerns and makes them want to supervise their children, but this proves difficult because they can’t all the time. Students lament that their parents’ lack of knowledge can result in misperceptions and potential overprotection.”
During the focus groups, I heard from Latino moms that for their kids to complete their homework, they needed to spend hours in public libraries or find retail stores and restaurants with free Wi-Fi. Kids without computers had to do their assignments on their smartphones. The recent report released by the Cooney Center and authored by Victoria Rideout and Vikki Katz titled Opportunity for All: Technology and Learning in Low-Income Families reveals great data about these families’ realities and clarifies our purpose.
María Alvarez is Director of Latino Content and Outreach at Common Sense Media. Her Latino-focused parent advice has been featured on ¡Despierta América!, Noticias Telemundo, and CNN en Español and published in La Opinión, El Mensajero, and La Raza, among many other outlets. She has produced dozens of articles and features on commonsensemedia.org/latino that provide Latino parents with simple, actionable advice to help them learn how to choose and use media and technology wisely. Prior to working at Common Sense, Maria was a television executive producer and reporter in Venezuela, Honduras, and Chile for CNN en Español, Univision, Telemundo, and the Associated Press. Maria earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Universidad Central de Venezuela and her master’s degree in communications from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. You can follow Common Sense Latino on Facebook and follow María on Twitter @mariaoxalvarez