A lot or a little?
Parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Issuu is a website where people can browse thousands of user-designed magazines or upload and share their own. It's very visual and interesting, and it's stocked with all kinds of content. However, it's not a site where you want your kids randomly clicking around. There are some magazines for kids, but the search function doesn't make them easy to find. Some magazines are more professional than others; since anyone can put their content on Issuu, there's a lot of mediocre stuff to wade through.
What's it about?
ISSUU is a digital publishing platform that people can use to create their own free online magazines. Not everything uploaded to Issuu is an actual magazine; there are lots of catalogs, brochures, and menus, as well. To add your own magazine to the site, you have to design it using your own software; Issuu is more of a host than a design tool. However, you can customize the cover as well as add audio content on the site. Magazines can be up to 500 pages in length, and the site lets you track how many people are reading it and other statistics.
Is it any good?
The selection is incredible. It's like browsing the world's largest newsstand, except everything is free. Looking for a high-design magazine all about Star Trek? It has it. A magazine about golf in central Florida? It's here, too. However, unlike a magazine shop in the real world, inappropriate content isn't hidden behind the counter. It comes up pretty easily, even with the Safe Search setting on. However, the site has some outstanding content for kids -- it's just a matter of finding it. There's no specific section for kids, and a search for "kids" brings up everything from Russian lingerie catalogs to a KISS Kids comic book (yes, the band).
It can be hard to find particular topics; a more defined category system would be really helpful, especially for kids trying to find the content meant for them. If kids want to contribute their own magazine to the site, they need to design it using their own software and then upload it, which could feel like extra work. The main concern, however, is what happens when kids casually browse Issuu; inappropriate content is easy to come across, whether it's explicit sex manuals or marijuana-growing guides. A separate site, like an Issuu for Kids, or an effective filter would make this a much safer place for young people to explore their interests.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the difference between online and print magazines. What's good about having something available online? Are online magazines more environmentally friendly than print publications?
If your kid could create a magazine on any subject, what would it be? Issuu's content proves that people are interested in all kinds of subjects and that there's an audience for any idea, no matter how small or unusual.
- Subjects: Language & Reading: presenting to others, reading, writing
Hobbies: collecting, cooking, fashion
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: collecting data, strategy
Creativity: innovation, making new creations, producing new content
Self-Direction: set objectives
Collaboration: respecting other viewpoints
Responsibility & Ethics: honoring the community
Tech Skills: digital creation, evaluating media messages, using and applying technology
- Genre: Creating
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
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