Website review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
Duolingo Website Poster Image
Popular with kids
Stellar game-based lessons make for solid language learning

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 23 reviews

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Educational Value

Speedy, straightforward lessons cover vocabulary, verb conjugation, sentence structure, and pronunciation. The self-guided, multi-stage program continuously challenges kids with interactive lessons and tracks their progress. Skill points, which help users advance levels, are awarded for tasks like finishing a lesson, and they encourage kids to reach goals. Duolingo provides excellent instruction, and it can be used by teens, adults, or younger language enthusiasts.

Positive Messages

The language program empowers kids to learn at their own pace and it rewards them both for the time they spend and the accuracy of their answers.


Some users have asked questions about sexual terms on some of the message boards; it's pretty easy to steer clear of these conversations.


Users can post swear words on the message board, but references primarily involve discussions about finding words like "f--k" in translation projects users worked on.


Duolingo is ad free.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A few users have posted questions to the FAQ about how to translate beer, wine, and similar words, but the site doesn't glorify or encourage drug or alcohol use.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Duolingo is a game-based language-learning website. Kids have to register to use the site, and they can use Google, Facebook or an email address to do so. They can also friend other users by clicking on any posts they've made to the site forum to access their profile. Users sometimes also post requests for other users to friend them. You can't directly email other users through the site, but some exchange email information on the forum. Under the CCPA law you have the right to protect your personal information. Make a Do Not Sell request to Facebook.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCW91 April 12, 2021


Duolingo is great for those who want to learn a new language and will have fun doing so. This would also be a great app for teachers to assign to their studen... Continue reading
Adult Written byCymonk April 2, 2021

Problem with Content

My wife downloaded this to help teach our kids Latin. Several of our kids loved this, the app itself is great. Then we ran across sentences like “The man has a... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byinvisible73 July 14, 2015

You can easily learn languages. :)

Using Duolingo, you can learn Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Turkish, Esperanto, Ukrainian and very soo... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byCam_and_Vyond April 29, 2021


Duolingo is good but here are a few things you need to know about the community. Lately, it has gone downhill. There are hackers trying to get people to click o... Continue reading

What's it about?

Duolingo is a game-based language-learning tool. Students first choose which language they want to learn. Beginners can start with "Basics 1" or more advanced learners can take a quick "Placement Test" to determine the appropriate starting point. Instructional practice activities cover all four skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) and require users to go back and forth between the target language and their self-identified native language. When students make an error, they see the correct answer and can open a user discussion related to the question for further feedback on the mistake. Users see their streak count (their number of days in a row spent using the tool) and their hearts (like lives remaining in a video game). Users earn experience points (XP) for their time in the app, and their user profile (visible when signed in) displays badges with their level and XP and flag icons representing the languages they're learning. Users can also switch to Immerson Mode to enter translations of key phrases and longer passages; this crowdsourced knowledge base plus an active message board make for a lively online community of language learners. English speakers can elect to learn Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, or Turkish; other languages have similar (if slightly more limited) options. Students can sign up on their own to use the Duolingo site or its corresponding app (which is how most users access the service); both are free. Most relevant to the classroom, students can also participate with a Duolingo for Schools account, which is also free and which lets teachers link to their students' accounts and track their progress. Teachers can sign up for a free account, add class sections, and share a link with their students to let them sign up to join a particular section. Once students enroll, teachers can monitor their progress (with an overall course view or a detailed list view) and assign homework targeted for individual students' needs.

Is it any good?

Duolingo breaks the complex details of language-learning into manageable, meaningful chunks. Users don't just read about how the language works; they're guided step by step through exercises and they get instant, detailed feedback. The lessons use several methods to help kids understand vocabulary words, usage, verb conjugation, and other elements. They view photos to learn terms, translate sentences back and forth beween languages, and type in phrases that a narrator reads aloud. If they make a mistake, they’ll see the correct answer, and their responses help the system customize future lessons. Kids can also opt out of sections if they're familiar with the material, making this an especially engaging, helpfully differentiated experience.

The site's clear, comprehensive format serves users with a range of abilities and language experiences. The game-like features -- like experience points, hearts, and streaks -- all help make the tool rewarding and addicting in equal measures. The teacher dashboard takes this progress tracking a step further and turns those scores into something meaningful and actionable for a teacher. It's easy to use this data to get a detailed, realistic sense of your students' time on task and their growing abilities across skills. Overall, this is a rigorous, appealing tool for supporting language instruction at all levels.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about interacting online with strangers. Should you ever accept or send a friend request from someone you don't know?

  • Duolingo helps people learn a new language. What are the advantages of being able to speak more than one language? How can your kid use any new language skills?

  • Learning another language can help strengthen understanding of your primary language. Talk about what English grammar, sentence structure, and other elements your child has learned recently in school. Are there any similarities between English and what your kid is learning on Duolingo?

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