A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that it's difficult to sort out this site's "real" content from the many "ads by Google." They crop up everywhere; in fact, some appear right in the main menu. Kids who join as members can have free online journals, complete with personal profiles. Several that we looked at included kids' real email addresses and links to their personal (and off-site) home pages, some of which contain inappropriate content. That said, the journals on the Poetry4Kids site itself seem fairly well-screened for inappropriate content. Personal profiles are another story; if they're needed at all, HTML should be banned, as well as email addresses. Because of this, and the discussion boards, we recommend that young children do not become members.
What's it about?
Poet Kenn Nesbitt's \"poetry playground\" features poetry lessons, funny poems, interesting contests, and even an easy-to-use rhyming dictionary. Nesbitt invites kids to rate his own poems, which in turn creates a \"Most Popular\" poems collection of witty verse. Members can join the site for free and get access to other content, such as entertaining MP3 audio recordings of Nesbitt reading his own work. Each member gets her own online journal in which to keep her writings, and discussion boards are also a feature of the \"members only\" side of the site.
Is it any good?
This site is an example of a good idea that has gone off-track. It's difficult to sort out the real content from the many ads, which pop up everywhere. Next to a poem about cleaning your room, you'll find more than 10 automatically served Google Ads about "Mops" and "Cleaning Supplies." This takes away from the site and costs it at least one star.
Parents should also take note that members' journals may be private or public, and if they're public, other people can and will comment on the entries and the comments will be public as well. lso, in the discussion forum, which has sections for both kids and adults, most of the topics are poetry-related, but others are off-topic. In one, for example, members discussed the pros and cons of anorexia.
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