Goodreads

Common Sense Media says

Mostly safe spot for teens to share their love of books.

Age(i)

2
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5
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9
10
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13
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17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Goodreads promotes a love of books for readers of all ages, which is great for kids to see. Sending a message that reading is fun, important, and worth talking about, the site really celebrates literature and all its benefits.

Violence

Kids may come across reviews or book descriptions that feature violent acts while browsing Goodreads.

Sex

Sometimes the sidebar ads (all for books) can be a bit racy both visually and textually, and they can pop up no matter which Goodreads section you're viewing. Also, kids can find groups like "Kindle Smut," "Erotic Enchants," and "BSDM Before Bedtime" where facets of sexuality are primarily discussed in a literary context, but still may be quite alluring to curious kids.

Language

Goodreads is an online community that anyone can contribute to, both kids and adults; because of strong opinions as well as varying book content, profanity is definitely in the mix here.

Consumerism

All books reviewed on Goodreads have a link to purchase from Barnes & Noble or other online retailers. Additionally, there are sidebar ads on each page advertising books of all genres.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Depending on the book's content, kids may come across reviews that discuss drinking, drugs, or smoking as related to classics like On the Road or newer YA content. There are only a few groups dedicated to drug-related lit; for example, "The Psychedelic Reading Group" is mostly scientific but does promote drug culture.

Privacy & safety

There are no safety measures for kid users, which is why we recommend Goodreads for teens. Personal information is well protected and the site is secure; however, the mix of adults and kids reviewing books -- even kids' and young adult titles -- requires parental attention. Profile information can easily be tinkered with for maximum privacy, but its defaults do include first and last name as well as location. Additionally, kids can befriend anyone on Goodreads (and vice versa), so monitoring is highly advised. However, private messaging appears to be available only between friended parties.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Goodreads is an excellent place for teens to discuss their favorite books with fellow readers online. The site is geared primarily toward adult users with no special "kid section," so your teens may be connecting with readers of all ages. Teens should be cautious about what they share and use privacy settings to minimize contact with strangers. However, Goodreads is very focused on literature and the bulk of communication occurs within reviews, not private discussion or email.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • discussion
  • forming arguments
  • reading
  • text analysis

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making
  • making conclusions
  • thinking critically
  • applying information

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • friendship building

Collaboration

  • respecting other viewpoints

Responsibility & Ethics

  • honoring the community
  • respect for others
  • following codes of conduct

Tech Skills

  • social media

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

With heated conversations going on in every corner, teens can tap into their passion for favorites like Harry Potter with a group of equally invested readers. They'll also get excited about adding books to their growing library.

Learning Approach

Teens can have in-depth discussions about character and theme. (They can also just chat about vampires.) They'll be able to transfer the skills they develop using Goodreads to write persuasive essays later on.

Support

When you first log in, the site walks you through how to create a library and rate books. The FAQ is extensive and organized, and the home page features boxes with tips on how best to use the site.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • discussion
  • forming arguments
  • reading
  • text analysis

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making
  • making conclusions
  • thinking critically
  • applying information

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • friendship building

Collaboration

  • respecting other viewpoints

Responsibility & Ethics

  • honoring the community
  • respect for others
  • following codes of conduct

Tech Skills

  • social media

Kids can learn how to create an online library and discuss books with a community of readers. To review a book, teens have to think critically about their opinions and find the best way to share their feelings in writing. Teens can learn how to deal with differences of opinion while discussing books in a forum setting. Using Goodreads can enhance teens' reading experience and help them become thoughtful, enthusiastic readers.

This Learning Rating review was written by Polly Conway

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Goodreads is a website for book lovers to review books, share recommendations, and track reading history and goals. It's also a social network where kids can see what their friends are reading and can join discussion groups for their favorite books. The bulk of the site is review-based, but there are also quizzes, quotes, and biographical author information to delve into.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Goodreads is the largest and most popular site of this type online, and it shows. It's a well-designed outlet for book lovers to share their likes and dislikes, and the recommendation system is spot-on, spurring kids to read even more books. Young bookworms will love the related activities, including quizzes like "The Ultimate Percy Jackson Quiz" and "Awesome Harry Potter Quotes," and can join groups to discuss every detail of The Hunger Games.  Every book imaginable is reviewed here, and kids can explore their favorite genres with ease.

Which brings us to the trouble with Goodreads and kids: there's no real filter between kid and adult content. While 13 is the recommended age for signing up, there's nothing stopping a teen from joining the "Fifty Shades of Grey Support Group." It's surprising that they haven't come up with a more kid-focused sister site. But as long as parents help teens establish responsible social networking habits, Goodreads can be a fun and safe place for teens to share their love of books.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what information it's OK to share online. Why should you be cautious about what you share in online social networks? Check out our Social Networking Tips for more discussion ideas.

  • Take your kids to a book signing at the local bookstore; they'll love to see and hear their favorite authors in person.

  • Share the books you loved as a child with your kids, then have a family discussion or read-aloud evening. Getting kids to talk comfortably about books will help them with the in-depth analysis they'll have to do in school.

Website details

Genre:Social Networking
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Goodreads was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

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; OK 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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What parents and kids say

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A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byTechrev August 2, 2013
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Horrid site.

This is a horrible site. Their mods and policies allow users to freely insult and slander other users freely. It is, probably, the most biased and horrible site on the internet. Definitely not appropriate for children. Bad language and inappropriate behavior are not only allowed, but encouraged by the staff.
Teen, 16 years old Written byrebma97 September 20, 2013
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

A Great Site For Bookworms

This is a really cool website. I found it via Facebook and just joined to check it out. It's the perfect place for bookworms to show off their love of books; you can review titles you've read, mark ones you want to read, and rate them. There's even a forum where you can discuss certain novels. As far as content goes, this site is probably not best for anyone under 13. It seems that you can check out any book, and of course you can get into inappropriate titles. A good thing to keep in mind is that people on Facebook and Twitter can join; that means you should probably be at least 13 before getting onto the website
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written bymcashd55 December 16, 2013
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Good is Goodreads?

Goodreads is okay. People can interact with one another while having fun. You can role play, play games, rate books, check on your favorite authors, create your own group and send messages to both friends and authors. Goodreads gives you a chance to make your own groups. While it is fun to have our own groups, it is also unfun. You have to deal with people who aren't active even though they joined your group. For the most part Goodreads is an okay website for teens and adults. There is a little language and explicit contents.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Safety and privacy concerns

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