Help Your Hero Website Poster Image

Help Your Hero

(i)

 

Learning(i)

Secure social network transforms sick kids into superheroes.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Kids who are seriously ill get inspiration and support from family, friends, and a personalized superhero-centric story.

Violence & scariness

The site advises users to keep hero/nemeses' rough-and-tumble action to a level their audience is comfortable with. 

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language

The site FAQ tells users that it's "never appropriate to use foul, obscene, derogatory or discriminatory language anywhere on Help Your Hero's site, even within stories."

 

Consumerism

An online store sells T-shirts and other items; users can purchase bulk quantities for events or for family and friends. But kids won't see a ton of ads.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that registration for this social-networking site for families and friends of seriously ill children is free; operational costs are funded through merchandise sales, ads, and sponsorships. A terms- and privacy policy-related permission form via a third-party document website during registration must be filled out by parents only; relatives and friends can't sign kids up. If a child is under 13, a parent or legal guardian needs to first create an account and then register the child. Once an account is set up, kids can receive support from loved ones as well as explore the "Hero-verse." 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • discussion
  • reading
  • writing

Skills

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • persevering

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • friendship building

Tech Skills

  • social media

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Kids should enjoy choosing their superhero personae and connecting online with family and friends in a personalized space. The site makes it easy for out-of-state relatives and friends to stay updated; users also get points for SuperFriend actions that can help them advance to higher hero levels.

Learning Approach

The site doesn't include direct educational materials to drive the communication and other lessons home. However, by using it, kids (and adults) will automatically gain some social-networking, reading, and writing experience. Users also get help writing their superhero stories.

Support

Users can connect with other kids' friends and family members, providing an extended network of additional resources. Kids also can download coloring and comic-book pages and take a quiz. A guide provides ideas and tips for families hoping to raise funds for medical expenses. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • discussion
  • reading
  • writing

Skills

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • persevering

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • friendship building

Tech Skills

  • social media

Kids will learn about communication and social-media use as family members and friends express compassion and support. Once parents set up a home page, supporters can communicate with each other and with other site members. Blogs, comments, and other items provide reading, discussion, and writing experience. Kids select a superhero avatar, and SuperFriends are encouraged to document the child's story on the site, which also can help build emotional-development skills such as resilience and overcoming obstacles. Some of the privacy and safety precautions may limit the writing lessons that kids under 14 learn; but thanks to the site's rigorous screening process, parents can feel generally safe about sharing their hero headquarters with family and friends. Creating a Help Your Hero community takes a while to set up and organize, but the rewards are well worth it. 

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Brereton

Kids say

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What's it about?

HELP YOUR HERO is a free website that allows seriously ill children to become superheroes in an online community comprising friends and family. Parents and legal guardians can create a Headquarters -- essentially, a group-specific sub-site -- for family and friends to share information and support for a seriously ill child age 18 or younger. Once a parent sets up an account for a kid, he or she will get to choose a superhero avatar. They'll then be able to explore the "Hero-verse," including the fictional city of Unity, while getting messages, photos, and support from family members and friends. The Headquarters can include a kid's personal story (kids and families are encouraged to create a superhero-style backstory), blog posts, and pages with original content. Parents also can let four other users edit site content and can connect with other users through the site's internal messaging system. They also can make certain sections private -- for example, restricting photo-comment access -- and kids younger than 14 can't make wall posts. ​

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Help Your Hero has a simple yet effective premise: Provide a place for a seriously ill child's family members and friends to connect, share updates, and collectively provide support. Registration takes some time, but that's due to a series of precautionary measures to ensure site users can communicate with each other in a safe environment. (Help Your Hero isn't messing around; adults have to virtually sign an extensive permission document and create a profile to register kids 13 and under separately.) Visually, the site delivers; it's comic-book colorful and designed to be a refreshing, fun place for a sick child to visit. Help Your Hero's focus on safety precautions may make registration and set-up feel a bit overwhelming at first, but, ultimately, it should help give loved ones the opportunity to provide some much-needed encouragement to safely bolster kids' spirits during a difficult time.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can discuss what a child is feeling, whether he or she is ill or is friends with someone who is ill. Does your child sometimes feel scared? Talk about healthy ways to deal with fear and stress.

  • Communication on the site is fairly safe, but not all sites pay as much attention to privacy concerns. Which red flags should kids look for on websites that let them instant-message or email other users? 

  • If your child has a friend who is seriously ill, talk about ways your child can show support. Help your child make a card, letter, or other item to express how he or she feels.

Website details

This review of Help Your Hero was written by

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Quality

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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.

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Educator and Parent of a 14 year old Written by21diamondk@gmail.com July 8, 2015
LEARNING

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What other families should know
Too much sex

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