By Erin Brereton,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
News site with good intentions but some iffy content.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
The site's goal of educating young people about current issues and empowering them to take action is a proactive stance on presenting the news.
Violence & Scariness
Since the articles involve local and national news, some touch on topics like police brutality and gun-related violence.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One video features a naked man yelling racial slurs on a subway train.
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Some songs featured on the site contain slurs and words like "f--king."
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Products & Purchases
Part of the site plugs new music from various recording artists; the Pepsi Refresh Project is also a featured sponsor.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One video involves Montel Williams discussing medical marijuana use; another article insinuates that the prison sentence given to a marijuana user was too harsh.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that kids may encounter mature content on 99problems.org, including language, news articles dealing with violent issues, and an occasional video with nudity. Kids can post comments on any of the news articles without registering. They're just asked to enter a name and e-mail address; without having to first select a username, there's a chance kids could enter their real name and identify themselves to other site users.
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Is It Any Good?
99PROBLEMS.ORG was launched in 2009 by The League of Young Voters Education Fund, which encourages young people to vote and create change on a local and national level. The site serves as a sounding board for users to learn about and comment on current news, with content ranging from video clips and links to news articles about topics like women's rights in Saudi Arabia, immigration, and police brutality.
Some of the articles are great -- topical, informative, and written in a conversational, friendly tone teens can identify with. However, the design could use some tweaking -- there's a lot going on with the site's homepage, including a column of posts that seems a little too long. Also, some of the site content, such as a video someone took on their phone of a naked man, really miss the mark -- and aren't appropriate for younger users who've come to the site for news (not nudity).
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about why it's important to be informed about what's going on in the world. What news topics interest you?
The site covers a variety of topics, including criminal justice, being green, and immigration. What kind of problems in your community -- or country -- are you concerned about?
How can you tell the difference between stories from traditional news outlets -- like the clips posted on the site from "Good Morning America" and other TV news shows -- and videos that are not from reputable news outlets (like something a person uploaded from their cell phone)? Is "news" from citizen journalists valuable?
- Genre: Civic Engagement
- Pricing structure: Free
- Last updated: November 5, 2015
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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