Go Ask Alice!

Common Sense Media says

Health professionals tackle personal questions with candor.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

All questions are taken seriously and answers make askers feel normal and valued for their curiosity. Answers often suggest talking to a health professional in person and give references for additional health resources.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

The target audience is college kids, and there are many frank questions about sex including preferences, desires, concerns, relationships, and puberty. Some are more innocent (kissing) than others (fetishes, sexual variety).

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

All types of drug- and alcohol-related issues are covered in the Drugs & Alcohol section, from use and abuse to effects on personality and sexual desire.

Privacy & safety

The Q&A is "mostly anonymous;" if a question contains a name and location, they'll change it to something else (An example given by the site is "Jose in San Diego" might be changed to "Jorge in San Francisco").

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this award-winning health reference website, fully produced and funded by Columbia University, seeks to provide reliable, accurate information in a sincere and sensitive way so people can make informed decisions about their health and well-being. Go Ask Alice! receives over 1,000 very honest and frank questions each week in seven categories: alcohol and drugs, emotional health, fitness and nutrition, general health, relationships, and sexual and reproductive health. Every question is read, and each week a handful of health professionals give five new thoughtful and thorough answers. The site takes pride in being ad- and sponsor-free, respects privacy, and does not answer questions asking for medical diagnoses. Questions come from students, parents, teachers, professionals, and other adults; however, most topics cover issues concerning college students.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • biology

Skills

Emotional Development

  • handling stress
  • identifying emotions
  • self-awareness

Health & Fitness

  • body awareness
  • fitness
  • mental health

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

You remember how it was -- and teens today will be relieved to browse a wealth of information on sometimes uncomfortable topics. Links to related entries appear at the bottom of each answer, encouraging kids to jump among subjects.

Learning Approach

Friendly and trust-inspiring "Alice" can make teens feel they're being heard. Topics are discussed in depth, allowing readers to learn facts beyond their original questions. Given the site's reach, the quiz section could be more substantial.

Support

The site's archive is organized into six sections and many subsections. Navigation is easy, and users can search by keyword. Fact sheets are available in the Resources section, though some are only available to Columbia students.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • biology

Skills

Emotional Development

  • handling stress
  • identifying emotions
  • self-awareness

Health & Fitness

  • body awareness
  • fitness
  • mental health

Kids can learn about topics related to alcohol and drugs, emotional health, fitness and nutrition, general health, relationships, and sexual and reproductive health. Go Ask Alice! has been rewarded several times over for its approach to health issues. Kids can find accurate, honest information within its answers plus activities like games and polls that bring up important topics they may not think about. They can also search for answers to questions or ask questions themselves. Go Ask Alice! takes an encyclopedic amount of health information and gives it a personal feel.

 

This Learning Rating review was written by Michelle Kitt

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

All of the site’s main features are accessible from the home page. Kids can read New Q&A to find questions answered that week or browse questions by topic in the Q&A Library. They can click “Ask Alice” if they have a question; however, with so many questions submitted weekly, users are always referred to the library first. Kids can answer a few short questions in a Quick Quiz, respond to a poll, and explore the Theme of the Week where answers about a particular topic are grouped together.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

For anyone who longed for a cooler, older sibling to not laugh at your questions and tell you the answers, she’s here and her name is Alice. Originally designed for college students, Go Ask Alice!’s accurate, friendly, and sometimes humorous answers say “you’re OK!” to a curious audience. Teens who visit the site may sigh in relief that someone else has the same very personal question they do. Some have criticized the site’s openness as condoning inappropriate behavior, but it’s not all weird stuff (for example, how to deal with the loss of a pet, stress, roommates) and it can be a good resource for parents who need to talk to their kids about sex. An independent study from Stanford University lists Go Ask Alice! first among websites for reputable and credible reproductive health information on the web. However, some questions are definitely more “out there” than others, so it’s best to leave the independent browsing to older teens.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about body image. Talk about developing a positive self-image and recognizing misleading messages in the media about getting and having the “perfect body.” Read Common Sense Media’s Girls and Body Image Tips and Boys and Body Image Tips.

  • Families can talk about sex. Kids will start asking questions long before they’re officially teenagers, and not just about puberty and kissing. Many resources can help nervous parents arm themselves with answers for their kids, or approach the topic with their teens. 

  • When the media features alcohol and drug use, it affects kids. Ads or movies may make alcohol look cool while reality-TV rehab presents the dark side of addition. Check out Common Sense Media’s Alcohol in the Media Tips for advice about how to discuss drug and alcohol issues with teens.

Website details

Genre:Educational
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Go Ask Alice! was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 July 9, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

go ask alice

Families can talk about sex. Kids will start asking questions long before they’re officially teenagers, and not just about puberty and kissing. Many resources can help nervous parents arm themselves with answers for their kids, or approach the topic with their teens.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old August 6, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

NO THANKS

I THINK I'LL ASK THE MAD HATTER INSTEAD
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educator and Parent Written byStacy623 January 2, 2015
AGE
17
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Very Poor in Science Education!

It is very poor website with respect to science education. I would rather recommend http://adidarwinian.com/ from my personal experience for science, especially, biology education for teens of all ages.
What other families should know
Too much sex

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