A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Channel Kindness is a philanthropically minded blog site designed to promote positivity. There aren't any ads or other questionable content containing violence or sexual behavior; But there is a strong focus on positivity and treating others well -- which will hopefully resonate with kids who view the site. Kids don't have to register or share any personal information to view info. They're able to click on buttons to share posts on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets, but they can't comment on posts or hook up with strangers -- or even find an email address for a post's author -- on the site; Overall, it provides a pretty safe browsing experience.
What's it about?
CHANNEL KINDNESS, launched in spring 2017, features posts about acts of kindness around the U.S., which it hopes will balance out some of the sensationalistic stories that get news coverage. Content is submitted by a team of reporters age 16 to 24 and grouped into categories like kindness at home or kindness in the community. The Born This Way Foundation, founded in 2012 to support young people's wellness and provide them with more positive surroundings, is sponsoring the effort.
Is it any good?
This site/blog contains a mix of written pieces, videos, and audio clips, which should help engage kids to make a difference in their community. The different types of content include narrative stories about receiving kindness, a Q&A with a teen about how she views the topic, and commentary from a politician about his initiative to spread respect for others. Overall, the items are well-produced. Some contain statistics that offer research-based support for encouraging kindness, and the site gets kudos for using stories contributed by real teens that kids can relate to. The site is new, so there isn't a ton of content -- there are currently just about 21 posts from March and April 2017. That's likely to become less of an issue, though, as more items are added. Links at the end of posts direct kids to the foundations that are mentioned, which can help them learn more about the organizations.
But the actual posts aren't always overly descriptive about what needs the organizations fulfill. A post about NICU donations, for example, doesn't go into too much detail about what a neonatal intensive care unit is or does, which younger users may not know. To make the site even more of an educational resource, Channel Kindness could incorporate ideas to help kids get involved in their community and/or start committing their own acts of kindness to drive the point home, helping them both develop and share a sense of compassion for others. Additional information about some of the causes mentioned would also give kids a bit more background -- but that type of content, much like the overall amount of posts, may be something that will increase in time.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about being compassionate and caring in everyday life. What was a recent time you were the recipient of an act of kindness? How did that make you feel?
What are some ways you can start contributing to the community on a regular basis? What potential impact could that have?
Random acts of kindness sometimes involve strangers, which isn't always the best scenario for children to participate in. Is it OK to do something nice for a stranger if a parent is present? Or other times? Discuss how to identify situations in which kids can be kind – and also stay safe.
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