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The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that most video clips on the site were broken at the time of review. There is no advertising on the site, although it may entice kids to follow more TV programs. The games featured are for different age groups: "Harold's Crayon" is recommended for ages 5+, the "Deadwood Mysteries" is for 13+, and the rest of the games are a better fit for gradeschoolers.
What's it about?
This site from HBO Family acts as a companion to the network's programming. Interested in a particular show? Check the page about it and you might find suggested activities and books as well as links to read up more about the subject online. Kids and parents both have an opportunity to comment on the shows in the "Speak Up" section. It's not a real live discussion board but rather a place to read other users' comments and submit your own. There are also useful Educational Program Guides that accompany some documentaries about kids, and parents may also want to look over the guides to Middle School Confessions and Smashed: Toxic Tales of Teens and Alcohol, both programs in HBO Family's revealing Parent Handbook documentary series.
Is it any good?
The site invites you to watch QuickTime or Real format videos and clips, but unfortunately, most attempts to open the media returned a "File not Found" or a similar message, whether we were using a Mac or a PC or various browsers. The ones that work are 20-second previews of shows, so if technical problems persist you know you're not missing much.
For some fun that works well -- as long as you have the latest Shockwave and Flash plug-ins -- click on the "Games" section, which includes"Deadwood Mysteries," "Harold and the Purple Crayon," and the addictive "Magnet Dude." Other games are similarly entertaining and will engage a wide variety of age groups.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about themes in the shows. The Parent Handbook documentary series is geared toward discussion and includes educational guides to a few programs including one on alcohol abuse and one on September 11. Games from the grade school-focused Crashbox series can lead to questions about history, culture, and more.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.