What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Figment provides a creative outlet for teens who like to write. They can post their own stories and read works by other young authors. Writers are encouraged to use their real names, and profiles can include location, links to blogs, and other personal details. The site's policy about user-created content states that "bigoted, extremely violent, or pornographic content is not OK," but acknowledges that context and storyline can influence the appropriateness of content.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- presenting to others
Thinking & Reasoning
- thinking critically
- defining problems
- producing new content
- academic development
- conveying messages effectively
Engagement, Approach, Support
A peer community with shared interests builds synergy in teens. The site will appeal to those who want to write and offers a variety of ways to get started and get excited about the experience.
Teens can practice writing and get peer feedback. An Educators section gives teachers the tools to set up writing workshops wherein teens can share with their classmates or the world.
Navigation is easy, as is getting started. Figment encourages the use of social media, so kids can engage with a community of like-minded peers.
Is it any good?
Journalists Jacob Lewis and Dana Goodyear created FIGMENT as a platform for creative self-expression, with a social networking twist. It's easy to get started creating a story, and the site offers options for cover and page design. Users can "heart," comment, and review stories as well as "follow" other writers à la Twitter. Overall, the criticism stays constructive; it helps that the site doesn't allow anonymous users to post. In addition to readers' creations, the site has a blog that features advice on writing from authors like Kathryn Erskine, who won a 2010 National Book Award. Overall, Figment is an excellent place for young writers to express themselves and work on improving their craft.
P.S.: Wondering who owns the rights to these stories? Figment notes, "Posting to the site grants Figment the right to display your work (until you decide to take it down), but does not mean you are giving up your ownership of your work."
Online interaction: Most of the feedback on stories is positive, with users offering encouragement or constructive criticism. It feels like a friendly, supportive community.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about teens and their "digital footprint." This site encourages writers to use their real names. What are the advantages of doing that? What are the potential drawbacks? Parents can encourage teens to think about their digital footprint when sharing stories, photos, and other personal content.
Families can also talk about respecting others' creative work online.