Parents' Guide to

Storybird

By Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Fun, free way to be creative; writing help may cost more.

Storybird Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this website.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 5+

Unsafe chat/messaging model

Storybird is an okay platform for engaging children in storywriting, but has a lot of limitations. What I am more concerned about is it's commenting/chat model. Storybird allows all users to comment on each other's stories platform-wide and allows all users to be tagged in comments. There is no way to disable these features, nor is there any way to limit commenting only to a particular classroom. There is also no way to limit comments to be within a particular age group. My child commented on a story, and the writer has been sending her daily messages in a mature adult voice, asking her personal details about her after school activities, favorite ice creams, age, grade level, city, etc. This other user initiates every conversation, and asks increasingly probing personal questions. There is nothing specific inappropriate about the questions themselves -- but the entire thing feels inappropriate for there to be someone asking my 7 year old child personal questions (in an adult voice) and for me to not be able to turn off the commenting. When I contacted Storybird, they told me that their site purposely has no restrictions on commenting, that they encourage relationship building between children and adults who are strangers to each other. They said that every comment is moderated by their team -- which is fine for preventing something completely inappropriate or sexual, but which does not solve the problem in general.
age 8+

Really not worth it

This site was absolutely amazing a few years ago; before they made their grand update, but there are so many mistakes and irritating things now. I'll list a few of them for you: - You have to buy membership to create something with their artwork, so poetry is no longer free for anyone to write - Long stories can't be longer be more than a specific amount of words unless you buy membership - When a story is "too mature" they'll tell you, which is great considering kids are on this site, but they don't tell you what the mature content is, so you won't always know what to change and you can edit your story hundreds of times without it helping - Before the update, you could see and reply to comments when you expanded the notification box, but now you can't, so you sometimes have to scroll 30+ comments down on your story to find the comment you haven't seen - There is no good and easily understandable guide to how to post stories that aren't finished. If you post a few chapters, but you want to make more, it's easy to write them, but when they have to go through the review process it's not specified how to only send the new ones to review - The new poem idea is just really bad. The whole idea of having to make a poem with random words was amazing. It would teach children (and you) to think, to create sentences and to be creative in general with the little you were presented with. This new thing where you can just write whatever words you want has completely robbed us of the creativity in using what you've been given instead of what you've chosen - "Following" and "followers" has been removed. Before the grand update (in 2017? 18?) people were friends on Storybird. You could easily talk to each other in comments, and you had a section where you could see stuff from people you were following, so you could support your friends, but now with that gone, friends aren't easy to have there more. You have to click on people to see their stuff, so you won't do it as much. The whole socializing and supporting each other has almost disappeared from the site All in all: BAD :(

Privacy Rating Warning

  • Personal information is not sold or rented to third parties.
  • Unclear whether personal information are shared for third-party marketing.
  • Unclear whether this product displays personalised advertising.
  • Unclear whether data are collected by third-parties for their own purposes.
  • Unclear whether this product uses a user's information to track and target advertisements on other third-party websites or services.
  • Unclear whether this product creates and uses data profiles for personalised advertisements.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (32 ):

This impressive creative writing-centered site offers an easy-to-use tool to help kids make picture books, longer books, or poems. With Storybird, writers can share items with other users and get feedback or choose not to. Colorful illustrations featuring items ranging from animals to mermaids can help spark their imagination, along with story suggestions offered by the site through writing challenges, in case kids can't think of an idea. There's also plenty on hand for them to read, including some stories that feature ethical and moral messages with titles such as "Fun Is for Everyone."

The book creation tool has a couple of odd features: Kids have to publish the first chapter of a long-form book, either for their eyes only or for everyone, to add a second chapter; and they can't upload and use their own art, which would allow for additional creativity. Neither aspect, though, is a huge drawback. Moderators review each story and poem before they're posted live, so kids are only able to share and see appropriate content. To help kids select items they feel they can handle, challenges also include information about the recommended age and whether something is advanced, beginner, or immediate level. Some challenges cost money -- kids who don't have a paid site subscription can use crowns, though. They earn five a day for writing, and a number of challenges cost 25, so paying with site currency to participate isn't impossible. Parents really don't need to splurge on a paid membership for kids to be able to have a great time using Storybird. While the membership does provide access to a few interesting learning aids, such as a video course on writing song lyrics from a School of Rock instructor, if kids have plenty of story ideas, designing and sharing books is completely free -- and can be a lot of fun.

Website Details

  • Subjects: Language & Reading : reading, storytelling, writing, Social Studies : cultural understanding, events, exploration, Arts : script writing
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning : defining problems, making conclusions, problem solving, Creativity : imagination, making new creations, producing new content, Self-Direction : personal growth, self-reflection, Emotional Development : empathy, labeling feelings, perspective taking, Communication : conveying messages effectively, multiple forms of expression, Responsibility & Ethics : embracing differences, respect for others, Tech Skills : digital creation
  • Genre: Creating
  • Pricing structure: Free to try (There's a 7-day free trial then individual accounts start at $8.99/month or $59.88/year. There's a family plan for 2-5 members available as well.)
  • Last updated: March 21, 2022

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