A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Imgur is a wildly popular meme-creation and -sharing site. If you're wondering "What's a meme?", ask your kids. They may not know what the word means, but most likely they've seen and snickered at a few. Ever seen Grumpy Cat? I Can Has Cheezburger? These are memes -- often humorous pictures with overlaid text that makes a point or joke.
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What's it about?
The IMGUR main page serves up a collection of images and GIFs sortable by most viral, user-submitted, most popular, newest, or highest scoring. Random mode picks memes for full display and allows for linear browsing. Kids can down-vote, up-vote, favorite, flag, or submit a comment on any meme. Registered users upload images or start with existing memes, then choose to keep private or share after email confirmation using six link methods including those for message boards, forums, and Reddit comments.
Is it any good?
According to Wikipedia, Imgur serves up more images in 10 minutes than there are images in the Library of Congress. In 2012, 300 million images were uploaded, 364 billion image views were counted, and 42 petabytes of data were transferred -- scary and amazing. The site is really for young adults, and teens love it because it's mature, edgy, and accessible; if they create a successful meme, it means at least 15 minutes of fame, if not a spot on late-night TV. OPs (original posters) vie, at a minimum, to make the main page.
Imgur has adult-level content and commentary, including casual references to sex, images of joints and AK-47s, and cursing. But bullying seems absent, and comments are mostly about memes being LOL funny (others not so much). The warning from the developer that only "safe for work" (SFW) content is permitted should be message enough that kids aren't the intended users, although they're not asked their ages at registration.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the temporal quality of memes. They're often created in response to a news item or another timely event, and their popularity is explosive but doesn't last long. Why do you think people create memes if they're bound to fade into Internet history?
Challenge your teens to explore the idea of going viral. Research the most popular media outlets, or analyze what makes images compelling. Is quality always a factor in a viral video?
- Subjects: Language & Reading: presenting to others
Social Studies: cultural understanding, global awareness
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: thinking critically
Creativity: producing new content
Communication: conveying messages effectively, multiple forms of expression, presenting
Responsibility & Ethics: following codes of conduct, learning from consequences
Tech Skills: digital creation, evaluating media messages, social media, using and applying technology
- Genre: Social Networking
- Price: Free for Standard account (225 images, small and large thumbnails).
- Pricing structure: Free, Paid