What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that HowStuffWorks.com is an award-winning educational site that provides historical information about many age-appropriate topics (these topics include, but aren't limited to, animals, culture, automobiles, politics, money, science, and entertainment). Articles use simple terms to be accessible to a wide age range. The topics that are iffy for younger kids -- drugs, alcohol, sex, weapons, etc. -- are handled in a scientific or historical way. Parents should be aware that sponsored search results and Google Ads may contain inappropriate content.
What's it about?
Attention-grabbing content is everywhere on the HowStuffWorks.com homepage to the extent that kids may be initially overwhelmed. Content is grouped into eight categories: Adventure, Auto, Culture, Entertainment, Home & Garden, Money, Science, and Technology. It's further divided into subcategories. Kids can choose from enticing articles, games, quizzes or polls, videos, and more. They can also enter topics in the main search box for an organized list of related articles, images, videos, expert reviews, and web results. Note that search results include all content that contains a particular search word. A search for “newspaper” returns an article about editorial pages and a video about newspaper recycling, but also a story about a man who reads a particular item in a “newspaper.”
Is it any good?
Along with being noted as Time Magazine's "25 Web Sites We Can't Live Without," HOWSTUFFWORKS.COM is also the rightful winner of multiple Webby awards. The site provides a wealth of information and is an excellent learning tool for kids with lots of nuts-and-bolts questions. HowStuffWorks.com is a great source for researching school projects or just discovering something new. It has successfully covered articles on both everyday stuff (energy drinks, laughter, allergies) and not-so-everyday stuff (black holes, lie detectors, symbiosis). That said, the site definitely sells and promotes more than free knowledge (Consumer Guide is a partner), and searches also scour the entire web, offering sponsored results (aka places to spend money), followed by the site's links. Users should understand that some material is not for younger kids, but overall this is a sanctuary that gets to the heart of comprehending many of life's inquiries.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how to find reliable information on the Internet. What are safe sites to browse? How can you tell which sites are trustworthy?
Families can also discuss the importance of safety online. Who is -- and who is not -- OK to share information with?