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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Aplus is directed, among others, by Ashton Kutcher, the actor-turned-social-media-entrepreneur. It features short articles about pop culture and "feel good" topics, with captivating headlines, can't-miss graphics, and videos. Aplus' stated mission is to inspire, motivate, highlight social issues or the beauty of our world, encourage personal growth, or just make people smile. Articles don't feature violence, sexual content, foul language, or drug references due to the site guidelines, although there may be allusions to this content or references by users in commentary. Most articles are written by the Aplus on-staff editorial team, though registered users also can submit stories. Submitted stories are reviewed and edited and can potentially bring monetary reimbursement for the author. Each article has a comments section, open to all registered users, and can be shared through all the major social-networking sites. A warning to all: Article headlines are optimized to elicit the most clicks possible. A quick glance at the site can easily turn into a marathon session before you know it.
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What’s It About?
APLUS features articles that focus on positive, inspiring, or fascinating topics with text, images, and videos. Articles are promoted through attention-grabbing headlines of the "you won't believe what happens next" or "this video will change your life forever" kind. Kids can browse, create an account to comment on articles, or even write their own. Submitted articles go through the editorial staff before they're posted. Submitting authors receive payment if their articles get a certain number of clicks from third-party promoter sites.
Is It Any Good?
Aplus has a great focus on positive, feel-good, and inspirational stories. Articles are best described as "human interest," and though there are some that touch on serious issues, there's also a lot of pure fluff. What kids get out of visiting Aplus has a lot to do with which stories they focus on and what they do to follow up on what they read. For instance, parents can use the articles as discussion starters to help expand on themes that come up.
The system for submitting articles may be appealing for kids interested in writing. There's a very easy template and easy-to-follow instructions for crafting articles. Plus, kids can feel super empowered to see their articles published. Some parents may have issues with the attention-grabbing -- and sometimes purposefully misleading -- headlines model. It can be overwhelming, to say the least. The comments sections are sometimes full of hateful language, so parents might want to help kids avoid these sections. Aplus does a decent job of presenting positive stories to kids, many of which can turn a quick browsing session into hours of viewing entertainment. It's only unfortunate that the comments and misleading headlines bring the site down.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about themes that come up in the articles. What do kids think about each article's message? How does a particular article make them feel?
Discuss the site's business model. How does the site make money? How do its users knowingly or unknowingly contribute?
Talk about the attention-grabbing headlines. Are they always an accurate representation of the actual story? How do kids feel to be bombarded with headlines screaming, "Click me!"
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading comprehension, writing clearly
- Skills: Creativity: producing new content, Tech Skills: social media
- Genre: Blogging
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Science and Nature
- Pricing structure: Free
- Last updated: November 5, 2015
Our Editors Recommend
Slightly sensationalistic news, social networking.
News for teens by teens, with access to adult topics.
Smart site dissects sexism in the media.
For kids who love news
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