A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this free online video site is not a great choice for kids. Raunchy content can't be filtered and the site has as many commercials as network TV. Kids can't upload an unlimited number of videos to this premium site, which features "best of" content, nor can they make videos private like they can on YouTube. With supervision, kids can have fun watching the safe stuff on Metacafe -- singing dogs, PBS, and old TV shows like the Partridge Family and the like. But they can find all that and more on YouTube plus instantly share homemade videos with family and friends.
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Is it any good?
Metacafe has been around two years longer than YouTube yet has only a fraction of the content, not to mention popularity. What gives? Not a video-sharing site, Metacafe is a video "destination" that separates the good stuff from the chaff and features only the best user-uploaded videos. While the quality claim is debatable -- the selection looks a lot like YouTube's only skimpier -- handsome Metacafe does have a much more elegant look, while YouTube still has that stripped-down Craig's List vibe. But that's where the advantages end, at least for families. Metacafe's content filter is useless -- unless you happen to think soft porn is fine family fare. And Metacafe has no privacy option for users who don't want the whole world seeing their clips. The site's endless commercials could drive anyone batty. Sleek and well organized and worth a look if you're an adult out for a little video entertainment? Yes indeedy. But Metacafe can't compete with the people's choice of YouTube.
Online interaction: Users can flag objectionable videos and comments but there are no special protections for kids. Comments are usually civil but can be lewd, depending on the video being discussed. The site doesn't monitor emails between users.
Talk to your kids about ...
YouTube is one of the most popular Internet sites of all time and for good reason. Watching and uploading videos can be enormous fun, especially for kids, but not all YouTube content is harmless, so parents should supervise as necessary. Common Sense has put together several guides to help parents and kids get the most out of YouTube. Help gradeschoolers manage their YouTube use. Guide your kids’ digital media creation efforts, and stay on top of what your teens are doing on YouTube.