Paper.li

Website review by
Polly Conway, Common Sense Media
Paper.li Website Poster Image
Tailor online newspaper to your interests; watch content.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to improve their research skills; they'll refine searches and narrow down exactly what they want their paper to contain. They'll also learn lots of details on whatever subject they want, whether it's archaeology, soccer, or One Direction. Although Paper.li isn't your average newspaper, it does give kids some idea of how traditional journalism works, and curating content works in a similar way to how many online publications now function. Paper.li can be helpful for kids who really want to keep up on a particular subject, but it's a bit finicky and requires a lot of adjustments to give you the content you're seeking.

Positive Messages
Violence
Sex

Searches for "sex," "porn," and related subjects resulted in an abundance of papers on the topics, and, if users want to, they can even tailor their own papers to search the Web daily for any taboo subjects they like.

Language

Since Paper.li pulls its content from the Web, there's no way to prevent the appearance of profanity. If kids choose their sources well, however, they can create a paper that reflects mainstream media's general obscenity rules.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There are papers on cocktail and marijuana culture, but they don't make up the bulk of the site's content.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Paper.li is an online platform that lets users create their own newspaper made up of content found on the Web. As with many of these online newspaper/magazine creators, there's a lot of inappropriate content floating around. Popular papers include "The Model XCams Daily," and a search for "sex" brings up lots of graphic imagery.

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What's it about?

PAPER.LI makes it fairly easy to gather information from the Web into your own newspaper or magazine. To start your paper, click the Create a Paper button. You'll choose a name, a topic, and any description; then you'll be taken to a dashboard. Type in a topic -- for example, \"cats\" -- as well as the source you'd like the content to come from (options include Twitter, Facebook, RSS, YouTube, and more). A list of links will appear; choose the ones you'd like to add to your paper by clicking the plus sign next to each. When you've added all the sources, Paper.li will take a few minutes to \"print\" your paper, bringing together all those links into a tidy page. Papers are visually customizable; you can choose formats and fonts to personalize design.

Is it any good?

Although Paper.li isn't your average newspaper, it can give kids some idea of how traditional journalism works, and curating content works in a similar way to how many online publications now function. Paper.li may be helpful for kids who really want to keep up on a particular subject, but the site can be a bit finicky and requires a lot of adjustment to produce the right content.

Overall, it's a novel and interesting way for kids to gather and curate informaiton on the Web. However, the "Staff Picks" are kind of odd; are "Equestrian Express" and "NCIS Fanatic" really the best examples Paper.li has to offer? You also have to be careful about which sources you choose, as your paper will continue to draw from those sites even if their scopes change. A site may have an article on Harry Potter one day, but the next day it may have an article on something entirely different -- your paper doesn't know the difference and will populate with whatever content is new.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Talk to your kids about the way information is shared on the Internet; for example, a story may start on one site and then spread to 100 others. 

  • If you're still a subscriber, check out the local newspaper with your kids. What kinds of articles do they publish? 

Website details

For kids who love news

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