Website review by
Karen Wirsing, Common Sense Media
HowStuffWorks Website Poster Image
Excellent tool for kids with nuts-and-bolts questions.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn in-depth information about any subject ranging from culture to science. The Grand Canyon, diesel engines, fine china, Spiderman’s psyche, and vaccines all await exploration with just a few mouse clicks. In addition to the trademark “How Does [insert topic here] Work?” articles, companion pieces and videos can give kids a deeper dive into the subject matter. The site also covers more personal topics, including articles about relationships, drugs, and sex. On HowStuffWorks, no topic is too large or small to cover. Approach this treasure trove of information with a topic in mind to manage the content blitz.

Positive Messages

The site encourages learning the odds and ends of simple and complex topics for a better understanding of what makes the world go 'round.


Articles topics include dangerous animals, war, and violent crimes such as rape, as well as the history of particular weapons. Searches may result in links to iffy sites such ammunitions dealers in "sponsored results" ads.


Historical articles reference prostitution and break down the history of "kissing"; other article topics include orgasm and oral sex. There are also sections on human reproduction. Diagrams are anatomical, and animations are kid-friendly cartoons. The site includes a resource for parents explaining sex to kids entitled "Makin' Babies," with topics from conception to childbirth. There's a less-detailed version for younger kids. Searches for sex-related terms may turn up "sponsored results" ads for sexy screensavers, dating services, etc.


The site's consumer focus, while quite prevalent, is not force-fed. Along with links to commercial sites and many ads, an article page may also include links to the HowStuffWorks Consumer Guide, a partner site that offers product and price comparisons, reviews, and other articles.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Entries about illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco are informative, not glorified. Some even link to sites that promote a drug-free lifestyle.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 13-year-old Written byell123 September 13, 2019

Has a very explicit sexual health section

Some great stuff about science, but hidden in this website are very explicit sections about sexual health that is absolutely not child friendly and the website... Continue reading
Adult Written bysrfgirl March 31, 2012

Be afraid that this website will come after you

This place is garbage. Please don't allow your children to visit this site. They run the risk of having a copyright infringement case filed against them. I... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 3, 2013


Teen, 16 years old Written byscreambrentleyx3 April 27, 2012

How stuff works

This you tube video is good for kids because it teaches them how stuff works. It teaches them with things to how stuff works like toys and how to put together o... Continue reading

What's it about?

Attention-grabbing content is everywhere on the 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. 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.

Talk to your kids 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?

Website details

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