Causecast

Website review by
Elizabeth Crane, Common Sense Media
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Linking kids with causes, this site makes philanthropy cool.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

This site is specifically designed to involve young adults in social causes. To that end, it provides news stories in print and on video, and role models demonstrating their good deeds.

Violence

Violence is kept to the limits of the average evening news story. You will see soldiers in some videos, as well as poverty, disease, and other stark conditions, but it is all presented as news and information, not as entertainment.

Sex

There is no direct sexual content on the site. A topic tangential to sex -- like a story about AIDS in third world countries -- might appear, or a piece of art might display a naked breast, but that's about as sexual as it gets.

Language

Causecast is not for younger kids, so viewers will find words like "bitch" and "hell" used casually.

Consumerism

Clickable ads on the site are from Causecast itself or from other non-profit Web sites. Sponsor organizations are all registered non-profits like Heifer International and Stoked. Visitors are asked to donate money.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Among the current videos in the health topic are a story about a proposed tax on marijuana and another about a lung cancer vaccine (featuring a picture of a burning cigarette). Drugs and tobacco are present but only as they relate to news, not as pleasurable pastimes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Causecast promotes a definite point of view. Users are urged to get involved in a cause that interests them and to share their thoughts and feelings about their choice of philanthropy. Positive role models -- like actor Matthew Modine or Lukas Haas -- present their views on videos and in regular blogs.

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What's it about?

CAUSECAST provides a way to connect budding philanthropists with people interested in the same cause and with the cause itself. By using lots of video content, the site appeals to the younger generation who might not get as excited about reading a news story as they would about seeing a celebrity (like J-Lo conducting an onscreen interview). Relevant print stories are gleaned from news sites like the Associated Press, the Huffington Post, and a wide variety of fringe information organizations like treehugger.com.

Is it any good?

Causecast is like YouTube with a conscience. The original videos present perspectives on important social issues, and users are encouraged to upload videos of their own. First-person accounts from participants all over the world really bring the message home. The original content is genuine, heartfelt, and meaningful, and even the celebrity involvement doesn't feel forced.

 

Make sure to check out the two kids among the Causecast leaders, young teen Pat Pedraja and his little brother Tucker. Pat organized a nationwide marrow donor sign-up campaign which will no doubt help inspire visitors of any age to donate, participate, and get involved.

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • If you already talk about global issues, then this site can inform your dinner-table conversations. It can be difficult talking about poverty and hunger when you are comfortable and well fed, but you can steer the conversation back to positive actions like contributing money to a non-profit that provides food, or volunteering time at a homeless shelter.

Website details

For kids who love giving back

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