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SmartNews: Local News Break

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
SmartNews: Local News Break App Poster Image
Read latest news with different views without data or Wi-Fi.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids will read about current events, building vocabulary along with a better understanding of the world.

Ease of Play

Bright colors and easy to follow tabbed formatted make news easy to find and read.

Violence

Content depends on the news sources chosen by individual users and the stories posted by those news sources. Violent content and images may be part of some stories.

Sex

Content depends on the news sources chosen by individual users and the stories posted by those news sources. Sexual content and images may be part of some stories, though only in the context of news.

Language

Content depends on the news sources chosen by individual users, and the stories posted by those news sources, so there could be strong language.

Consumerism

Clicking through to read articles takes teens to the sources which may contain ads.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Content depends on the news sources chosen by individual users, and the stories posted by those news sources. Discussion about alcohol, drugs, and smoking as well as images portraying any of those topics may be part of some stories.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that SmartNews: Local News Break curates news articles from a variety of sources, sends push notifications (if enabled) for top stories, and allows readers to read articles directly from the source's site or via a "smart" version that loads quickly and without an internet connection. The terms of service for SmartNews: Local News Break specifies it is for ages 18 and older, but it could be a solid resource for younger teens with parental involvement. Options for language and content include United States English, International English, and Japanese. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

SMARTNEWS: LOCAL NEWS BREAK lets readers customize their news. They can choose from a variety of news topics and create tabs for each (or use the defaults -- Top, Entertain, Lifestyle, U.S., Politics, Sports, World, Biz, Tech, Science, Buzz, Social, and Social. There's also a Discover tab that highlights some new sources that are trending or of special interest. Within each tab, there are dozens of current news articles, and readers can choose to read the "smart" version of the article -- a quicker-loading, mostly text version of the story, or read it directly from the source's site. In settings, if readers choose (default) to have the app refresh continuously, those "smart" versions of the stories are available even when not connected to data or Wi-Fi. 

Is it any good?

Choosing the sources and topics for the news you want to read, and being able to read that news without blowing through data is smart. The interface is easy-to-read with large but uniform headlines accompanied by photos on each tabbed subject. Readers can clearly see, too, the source for the article. The colorful tabs are easy to navigate, but even better, easy to customize. Readers can choose to receive push notifications for news or not, making this a truly design-your-own approach to staying up-to-date on news. It's a great tool to help teens interact with current events so they can explore a variety of sources about the main topic -- and discuss with you!

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can use SmartNews - Local News Break together to read about special interests and current events and discuss. Ask kids: What do you think about what's happened? Why? Are there other opinions about it?

  • Talk about the different sources included and how each presents different content and different prespectives. Use the app to encourage news literacy by comparing the approach of varied sources.

App details

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