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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 this Christmas-themed site has made an effort to make sure kids have a safe experience. Kids can chat with digital elves, but they only receive pre-determined responses (kids can enter bad words, but they don't appear on screen and the elf won't respond to them). Some ads appear on the sides of the site.
Is it any good?
Launched in 1996 to offer a safe, clean Christmas site for kids, NORTHPOLE.COM features dozens of activities, recipes and holiday-themed stories. Users can click through various buildings in Santa’s Secret Village to visit different parts of the site -- including several interactive sections, such as Santa's Mailroom, where from Oct. 1-Dec. 24, kids can write a letter to Santa and receive a response, and Santa's Den, which creates personalized stories based on kids' first name, hometown, and favorite activity. The site creators also added the Elf Pal Academy, which contains puzzles, games, math problems, and a coloring book, after learning that teachers were using the site to teach reading, writing, and computer skills.
Online interaction: Users can chat with Santa's elves using ElfChat, a Java program that uses automated responses.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how to stay safe online.
Talk about good deeds. What does being "good" mean to your family? Are good deeds something to be doen only during the holidays or in exchange for gifts?
How can reading stories, playing games, and doing puzzles help you learn things? What kind of time limits on screen time does your family employ?
Talk about the advertising that appears on the site. How do advertisers try to get your attention?