What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this creative writing site is the teen version of respected online indie pub Smith Magazine's Six-Word Memoirs project. Kids will find a largely supportive community of similarly creative teens and a fertile environment in which to exercise their short-form writing skills. The uncensored submissions do contain some offensive language, but overall the content is funny and inspiring. Entering a memoir automatically gives the writer a chance to be in a future SMITHTeens anthology of six-word memoirs.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- producing new content
- personal growth
- labeling feelings
- perspective taking
- conveying messages effectively
Engagement, Approach, Support
These little poems are addictive! Teens will find the super-short writing exercises on SMITHTeens entertaining and satisfying. They can keep the tone light and silly or delve into some darker places; it's all good.
What feels like an amusing diversion actually reinforces all kinds of skills. As kids learn to make every word count, they'll take that economy into English and speech classes. "Getting published" is always empowering as well.
SMITHTeens' concept is pretty simple, so they've got a basic FAQ answering technical questions. The Forums offer a bit more creative support, with user-created writing prompts and official contests.
What's it about?
SMITHTEENS is an online platform for teens age 13-19 to share personal stories in the form of "Six-Word Memoirs." An offshoot of the grown-up site Smith Magazine, originator of this storytelling form, SMITHTeens is a great place for kids to vent about teenage ups and downs. Their brief contributions are organized by tag and published immediately onto the site. Kids can write as many memoirs as they like; SMITHTeens also contains forums with idea prompts and discussions.
Is it any good?
Anyone who thinks today's teens can't write is in for a pleasant surprise at SMITHTeens, a storytelling site that tasks kids with the seemingly impossible: summarize your life in six words. Kids rise to the occasion with gems like "I never take my own advice," one of more than 50,000 entries currently posted. As easy to use as it is addictive, SMITHTeens lets kids enter as many "memoirs" as they like along with a profile photo and comment on each other's work. According to creator Larry Smith some members use SMITHTeens as a daily journal.
Like the submissions themselves, comments are largely unregulated. However, teens are mostly supportive of each other’s creative efforts, and when kids use submissions to express suicidal or other depressed thoughts, their peers try to comfort them. A technical beef: the pages aren't numbered, but organized as "Newer Posts/Older Posts." The latter means you can't tell how many more entries there are to read before you're done with, say, all the submissions on "love." But these navigation problems are easy to overlook in an otherwise terrific site for aspiring young writers.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Which six words would your teen use to describe his or her life?
Discuss what your teen might gain from participating in a writing project like SMITHTeens. Families can talk about whether creative expression is enhanced or harmed by profanity, the challenge of writing to length, and the introspection that a memoir of any length requires. Read our tips on creating with digital media.