Juror Manual

How to Evaluate Children's Media Using KIDS FIRST! Criteria

Every title you evaluate will receive both a rating (endorsed/not endorsed) and a ranking (1 to 5 stars). Titles which do not meet baseline criteria are never endorsed.

KIDS FIRST! Baseline Criteria

At the bare minimum, any title that you recommend for endorsement must meet or exceed the following criteria:

  • NO gratuitous violence or abuse
  • NO inappropriate sexual behavior
  • NO inappropriate language
  • NO bias in terms of race, gender, culture or religion
  • NO condescension toward children
  • NO replicable unsafe behavior
Explanation of Baseline Criteria
No gratuitous violence or abuse, including both physical and/or verbal abuse


  • Gratuitous violence is violence for the sake of being violent. Usually assocciated with low budget movies and cult videogames. Given without need, often unrealistic.
  • Sometimes gratuitous violence is hidden under the guise of cartoons or animation. We sometimes overlook violence in cartoons without realizing that violent words or actions are still communicated to an audience. Children are highly affected by violent programs, which may encourage them to act out in aggressive ways or desensitize them to others' pain and suffering.
  • When evaluating programs that may contain gratuitous violence, pay attention to interactions between characters, types of weapons used, injuries or pain, "cool villains," funny violence and conflict resolution. Does the violence help to get across a message central to the plot, or is it just blood, gore and guts? If a program contains more violence than a Juror feels necessary, reject the title with a specific description.
  • Name-calling, teasing, slapstick humor, foul language, hitting, punching, kicking, causing bodily harm, property destruction and disrespect are all types of abuse that seep through the cracks of children's media and into the eyes, ears and minds of children. Children learn to model these types of negative behaviors. As a KIDS FIRST! Juror, it is your challenge to spot this type of abuse and identify it. There is no cut-and-dry rule here. Some "rough-stuff" may be used good-natured, or some may be central to the plot, making a point. This all depends on the context of the program and how it is used.
No inappropriate sexual behavior

Inappropriate sexual behavior, or sexually aggressive behavior, is a term which encompasses a variety of behaviors, including obscene gesturing, touching or hugging another person, exposing body parts or disrobing, and masturbating in public.

No inappropriate language

Profanity has crept into our language even in programming meant for a youth audience. Some mild profanity may be deemed acceptable for older kids, ages 12 and up but certainly, not for our younger viewers - those 11 and under. You will need to use your own judgment for this. Certain words, such as the F* word, are inappropriate under any circumstances. Use the qualitative portion of the form to define any marginal words you find and point out their usage.

No bias in terms of race, gender, culture or religion

Bias is defined as prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair. Bias can be seen as the overarching definition of stereotype and prejudice, because it is how we associate traits (usually negative) to a specific group of people.

Bias affects children in ways we might not realize. Research indicates that:


  • Children as young as age two notice and begin to classify differences in gender and race.
  • Children as young as age three are susceptible to believing stereotypes.
  • Children at age five understand cultural identity and can identify stereotypes.
  • Children at age nine believe stereotypes are correct unless they experience a major life experience to
    the contrary.

Religious bias in media promotes one religious point of view and discourages any other religious beliefs or considers them unacceptable. It is important to notice how people’s differences are portrayed and what, if any, stereotyping you see.

No condescension towards children


  • The definition of condescending is acting in a way that shows a superior attitude. An example of condescending is a parent who speaks to her grown child as if he were still a toddler. YourDictionary definition and usage example.
  • 10 Behaviors People Find Condescending Explaining things that people already know. ... Telling someone they "always" or "never" do something. ... Interrupting to correct people's pronunciation. ... Saying "Take it easy" ... Saying you "actually" like an idea. ... Doling out compliment sandwiches. ... Demeaning nicknames like "Chief" or "Honey" ... Patting people on the head.
No replicable unsafe behavior

Unsafe behaviors that are "replicable" are those in which kids could become intrigued by what they see enough to try it on their own.

Examples of unsafe behavior are: Those that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence. Sexual behaviors related to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection. Alcohol and other drug use. Tobacco use. Unhealthy dietary behaviors. Inadequate physical activity.


Pay attention to the KIDS FIRST! baseline criteria when evaluating films or other media. You will be giving everything both a qualitative and quantitative score. Use the qualitative portion to explain why you gave the score you did.

Evaluation Process
Using KIDS FIRST! Criteria
Evaluation Format
Rejecting a Title
Review Reminders
Stay in Touch

Entertainment News for Kids:
Join KIDS FIRST! on Twitter Join KIDS FIRST! on YouTube Join KIDS FIRST! on Instagram Join KIDS FIRST! on Tik Tok Join KIDS FIRST! on Facebook