Boys' Life

Website review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
Boys' Life Website Poster Image
Grab bag of fun Scout-style activities and articles.

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Kids say

age 5+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about wilderness skills, ranging from fishing to first aid, and they'll practice reading. Projects will provide practice following instructions; some science-related magic tricks illustrate concepts such as air pressure, centrifugal force, and gravity. Most of the original site games are just-for-fun activities, but a few have some educational value. A merit-badge guessing game, for example, provides word recognition and language practice; a sandwich-making game reinforces time-management skills; and an online chess game involves logic. Morse code games can help kids improve listening and communication skills. Boys' Life is a well-rounded resource for all things outdoorsy.

Positive Messages

Various sections promote books, reading, and basic survival skills and offer other helpful resources.

Violence & Scariness

A few games involve fighting and shooting, but kids generally don't see any blood or gore.

Sexy Stuff

The site contains only a couple minor references to sex: Two years ago, a user posted a comment under the username "sex"; and a list of requirements for the Family Life badge encourages discussion about "how the body changes, and making responsible decisions dealing with sex." But kids won't see any sexually charged content. 

Language

Photo captions and other comments are approved before they go live. However, a couple of swear words have somehow slipped through over the years; two users posted comments with the word" s--t," in 2007 and early 2014. 

Consumerism

Kids can subscribe to Boys' Life magazine on the site, and they'll see a few ads. Gear-buying guides list specific products but don't link directly to websites that sell them; some posts in the Ask the Gear Guy blog, however, suggest specific brands.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some archived magazine articles advise against steroid use, smoking, drunk driving, and other topics.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Boys' Life is the companion website to the classic magazine published by the Boy Scouts of America. It has projects, blogs, games, jokes, and lots of outdoorsy advice and activities aimed toward boys. The site screens blog comments before they go live, reducing the chance your kid will come across bad language, links to inappropriate sites, or other iffy content. Even non-Scouts can get lots of ideas from this jam-packed site.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 10 years old September 2, 2017

Awesome

This is a great magazine for boy scouts the promotes good messages.
Kid, 10 years old September 2, 2017

Awesome

This is a great magazine for boy scouts the promotes good messages.

What's it about?

The Boys' Life website, geared toward 6- to 17-year-olds, is an online counterpart to the Boy Scouts of America's official print magazine. Kids can check out jokes; submit funny photo captions; view pictures of scout troops, nature, and more; and access gear checklists for different outings. Blogs provide information on books, fishing, and other topics. Kids also can play more than 60 games, read past Boys' Life issues dating back to 1911, or learn how to, for example, build a box kite or fashion a table out of branches.

Is it any good?

BOYS' LIFE has an impressive amount of content for a free online magazine, ranging from wilderness survival advice to camping tips and book reviews. An in-depth projects section is one of the best offerings; it includes instructions for dozens of creative endeavors, ranging from making snowshoes out of pipes and cords to baking homemade dog treats. Some activities also feature an encouraging note about a Boy Scout troop that's tried the project.

You don't have to be a scout to access or enjoy the site. Kids will see some troop-activity photos and can learn about scouting, but most of the information focuses more on outdoor-living examples and instruction. A few items feel a bit short; surprisingly, videos on sharpening knives and axes don't contain a warning or much safety information. 

But, overall, kids will find plenty of interesting, informative reading selections, and they can safely share their thoughts via moderator-approved comments. Adults write the content and edit the magazine, but the site really feels like it was custom-made for kids -- which should help grade-school and teen boys enjoy learning about potentially useful topics such as first aid and handling emergencies.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about posting photos and comments online. Boys' Life encourages you to use a nickname. Why would that be safer than using your real name? 

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  • What kinds of pictures or information should you avoid posting on sites that also list some of your personal information, such as your name? 

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  • Some of the examples on the site can potentially be dangerous, if handled incorrectly. Talk about basic safety rules and having an adult involved, and ask how your child would handle a situation such as cooking outdoors or sharpening a knife.

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Website details

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For kids who love the outdoors

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