What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mad Science Kids Club is a science-themed social networking site with robust parental controls that make it safe for younger kids. Despite its name, the site isn't purely educational; there are plenty of just-for-fun games, goofy photos, and songs from popular teen performers. Parents may not be too keen on the junk food ads included in the videos -- or the fact that they have to pay for their kids to access premium features.
Is it any good?
Mad Science is an international, for-profit franchise that delivers science education programs to schools, parties, museums, and more. Its new online venture, MAD SCIENCE KIDS CLUB, aims to create a science-based social networking presence that's safe for younger kids. It certainly scores in that regard, offering age-appropriate content and extensive parental controls. The social aspect hasn't really taken off yet; the site's groups and user-generated content aren't particularly robust. More engaging are the games, which range from arcade-style offerings to educational puzzles and word exercises. The site also offers several intriguing applications, such as Lab Rat, in which scientists answer kids' questions; visitors must pay to access them.
Online interaction: Kids can make friends, post comments, and join and create groups. Interactions are friendly and respectful.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Internet safety with social networking sites and review privacy guidelines. What information is OK to share, and what information should you keep to yourself? What would you do if someone was bothering you on a social site?
Families can also talk about being smart about advertising targeting kids. How can you recognize advertising targeted at kids? Why would companies direct advertisements at children?