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Know Your Meme
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Know Your Meme documents, researches, and describes Internet memes and viral content. An Internet meme is something, such as a saying or an idea, that gets passed around and used by multiple people and evolves along the way. Viral content also gets passed along but does not change. Registered users can post suggestions, which the editorial staff then reviews and either rejects or researches and documents. Other users also can contribute to the research and post their own information. Meme posts, but not comment sections, are moderately reviewed to filter out egregious violations of the content submission guidelines. And, importantly, much of the content contains a wide range of quite adult material. There are multiple instances of content (videos, phrases, images, and more) that many parents likely would consider inappropriate for kids.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
KNOW YOUR MEME is an ever-evolving encyclopedia of catchphrases, pop culture phenomena, and other content that gets shared by so many people on the Internet that it goes "viral" or becomes a "meme." Registered users and the editorial staff introduce content, which gets reviewed, researched, and commented on through posts, blogs, forums, chats, and videos. Memes are categorized as confirmed, in research, rejected, popular, or recently submitted. The staff also produces and posts video episodes wherein they review recent popular content.
Is it any good?
Know Your Meme has an interesting model for reviewing and documenting the amazing power of the Internet to influence large numbers of people without geographic boundaries. The possibilities for user contributions create a community in which users can feel like an integral part of this research-and-documentation process. The setup and premise are actually nice, with great potential for engagement, developing research skills, and feeling empowered as playing a role in documenting something bigger than yourself.
The problems lie in the content that gets posted. There are some minimal guidelines, which keep out really horribly offensive stuff, but anything that's not extreme is fair game -- not to mention that what one person considers extreme is really subjective. For some, Know Your Meme will seem like a meeting place for some of the worst elements of what the Internet has to offer, from offensive language, to sexually explicit images, to just generally offensive content. Know your teens' maturity level well, and approach with extreme caution.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why some of these things (videos, phrases, and so on) become so popular -- for a short time, at least. What is it about them that appeals to so many people?
Watch carefully with your teens to see what memes they're into. Discuss any questionable themes that come up.
Work with your teens to track and document interesting phenomena in your community. Are there catchphrases or particular ways of doing things that get passed along?
Discuss how teens feel about the language, sexual content, racism, or other elements of the memes. Why are certain themes a part of these particular memes? Are they necessary? What messages do they convey?
For kids who love memes
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