JAWS

Website review by
ADK AccessAbility, Common Sense Media
JAWS Website Poster Image
Super screen reader a game changer for kids who are blind.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value
Kids with blindness can learn to use a computer as well as navigate the internet. They’ll use motor skills as well as patience and perseverance as they learn the many keyboard commands; there could be some frustration before they begin to experience success. Once that happens, though, they’re on their way to complete access to the computer, the digital world and are learning a life-long skill, and they’ll be motivated to learn even more. Kids familiar with JAWS will navigate Windows every bit as skillfully as their sighted peers.
Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that JAWS is a downloadable "screen reader" application that can enable a kid with a visual disability or blindness to completely navigate and use almost all programs on a Windows-based computer. Although kids as young as 8 can learn basic commands fairly quickly, using JAWS to its full potential requires a steep learning curve. This includes lots of memorization, complex sets of simultaneous key commands, and customization. However, it's the most popular screen reader on the market these days, and the promise of complete computer access and control should be a strong motivator for most kids.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's it about?

An extremely powerful and versatile program, JAWS can read text and graphic information on a computer in almost any application, providing both speech and Braille output. The software is controlled with keyboard commands that make it possible for a kid with blindness to navigate a computer, create and edit documents, and read Web pages.

\ \

 

\ \

You'll download the program onto your home computer, then set it up for your chosen Web browser (Firefox and Internet Explorer are currently supported). Kids can use JAWS's training program to learn the many keyboard commands required to use it and find out how to customize options for their own needs and preferences. Most kids will start out utilizing only the basic commands and add more as they need the additional power. Commands use combinations of keystrokes (for example, Insert + Control + F) to create actions such as "Move to Next Clickable Element" and "Show Recent Speech History." Other keys offer text narration in a male or female voice, plus the ability to customize pitch and speed.

Is it any good?

This is an outstanding, accessible software application for Windows-based computers; it's the most popular program of its type on the market for a reason. But there's a lot of learning to be done to use JAWS. Kids will have to understand the commands and memorize them and know how to use the various pieces of software on a computer. Luckily, there are good, accessible guides available that read aloud to support beginning users. 
 
Once kids get past the first hurdle of getting familiar with JAWS's layout and style, they should be browsing favorite websites and using their computers with ease in no time. Keep in mind that JAWS is designed for Windows, so if your family uses a Mac, you may want to look at other options. 
 
A bonus: JAWS now comes with JAWS Tandem, an additional screen-sharing tool that allows for incredible tech support.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Pick a very basic subset of commands to begin with, such as navigating and listening to a short story once it's on the screen.
  • Support your kids by working with them to customize navigation commands.
  • Staying a step ahead of kids helps them pick up new skills without all the frustration of trial and error.

Website details

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate