PopSugar

 
(i)

 

Gossip site's guilty pleasure fun isn't always G-rated.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The site doesn't set the best example of how to spend one's time online. It glamorizes the celebrity lifestyle and encourages young women to shop for expensive items their favorite stars like. 

Violence

References are no worse than a daily newspaper's. Example: a story about Stevie Wonder’s son being arrested for felony domestic violence.

Sex

More than a little mature content, including a sex advice column called Hump Day, Cosmo tips on sex positions and Nicole Kidman's nude scenes from Eyes Wide Shut. Copious coverage of celebrity baby bumps, relationships, and make-out sessions. Responsible sex education in the form of well-written pieces on birth control and a fascinating photo retrospective of female protection ads through the years.

Language

Some rough language in member posts such as s--t and f--k. One instance of "scum-sucking bastard."

Consumerism

Shopping is so intertwined with content that it can be hard to tell legit stories from product pitches.  Most pages have an ad at the top, in the middle, and occasionally disguised to look like a blog entry, plus text links by designer name to ShopStyle, a sister shopping site. More product name dropping occurs in the blogs, which cover celebrities favorite booty and where you can buy it. (Lindsay Lohan fan? Pick up her new tanning lotion and a pair of her fave leggings.) Then there are Bookmarks, a set of blogs that are nothing more than fashion, beauty, fitness, pet, food, gadget, and baby product descriptions with links. Members can earn points bookmarking their own online finds and can spend the points buying virtual gifts. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Passing mentions in member posts but not glamorized. Food section includes alcoholic drink recipes.

Privacy & safety

Pretty good privacy is possible but setup isn't obvious. By default, user content is fairly exposed. Site moderators can be counted on to remove obscenities or threats and users can keep their status private. But profiles are public and users can't delete or withdraw their own blog entries or comments once posted, or even close down their own accounts without site intervention. The best way to keep posts private is to create a group, an option hidden under the TeamSugar tab, and make it invitation only.

None.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this humongous gossip site combines celebrity news, online shopping, and social networking, most of it harmless fun but some parts fairly adult in nature. The avatar bloggers and the guessing and matchup games could have been designed for celebrity-obsessed tween girls. But the sex advice, nudie movie clips and links to expensive designer brands are for the amusement of adults only.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

PopSugar has grown from a modest little celebrity gossip blog to a sprawling network of professionally wriitten blogs supplemented by a nice set of social networking tools. Navigating the site -- actually more than a dozen spin-off sites including BellaSugar (beauty coverage) and FitSugar (exercise) accessed from one tabbed interface -- is not easy. Sometimes it's not clear where posts end up or what some tools do. But the writing is crisp, the photos gorgeous, and the day's news filtered through the prism of celebrity, making this an addictive site teens will want to visit again and again. PopSugar is more than just beefcake shots of Robert Pattinson, though. It's also sex advice and content way beyond teens like child care and marriage communities. Despite the cartoonish avatars, PopSugar is for women, a demographic it serves well.

Online interaction: Users can interact lots of different ways: email, guestbook entries, sending and receiving virtual gifts, posting to a Twitterlike “chatter” public stream, message boards and blog comments. (When we visited in August 2009 the live chat room wasn’t working.) Moderators seem to do a good job of cleaning up any personal attacks, threats, spam or lewd images, and users have a flagging tool at their disposal. As a result, interactions are mostly friendly and respectful.

Families can talk about...

  • Discuss what celebrities have that most people don't. Are these attributes to be admired and sought after at any cost, or can people be happy with what they have? Help kids see through the hype.

  • Ad-proof your kids with our tips on decoding marketing messages.

Website details

Genre:Social Networking
Pricing structure:Free

This review of PopSugar was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Celebs and shopping dominate fun but shallow teen site.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass