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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that you must be 13 or older to register -- or at least enter an age that's 13 or older. Enter an age under 13 and you're told you can't register -- and refreshing the screen and trying again won't work. When creating an account, teens enter their e-mail address (once) and a screen name. However, oddly enough, you can opt during registration to show your age to other users.
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What's it about?
BEDRED.COM has some interesting content -- most notably "The Gap Year" series, which lets users track the adventures of a group of young travelers around the world via photos and frequent blog posts. Some of the best content is from TeenInk, an online publication produced by another site with teen-written movie reviews, book reviews, poetry, and more. Most of the site's unique content involves quizzes and celeb news, which is short and very photo-driven and is repeated in different sections (the movie section will likely contain items from the home page, for example).
Is it any good?
JSYK--formerly AOL's BeRed site -- stands for "Just So You Know." Spend some time on the site, and you'll know a considerable amount about teen celebs like Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift (both have entire sections dedicated to them). However, you'll also learn about some other teen-centric news from around the U.S., covering topics like Facebook usage and teen depression. The articles are worth a look: Their tone is just conversational enough to hit home with teens, who can vote on what they think about the story or post a comment after reading it.
The site was clearly intended for older teens; some of the subject matter (STDs, teen pregnancy) is way too adult for younger users. Similarly, some of the other AOL teen sites JSYK links to, including Teen Ink --containing original stories about topics like kidnapping and murder -- really aren't meant for kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this site is sponsored by AOL, which also offers one of the most popular instant messaging services. Why and when might you need to block someone on IM? What does it mean to be harassed? And why would it be dangerous to get an IM from someone you don't know?
What's OK to share with someone on IM, through e-mail, or in chat? What's better to keep offline?
When registering, you're told that if you check a box, you can share your age with other users. Why might it be a bad idea to let people you don't know on a website know your age -- even if you're just posting a random comment about a news story?
For kids who love gossip and fun
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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.