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Quora

(i)

 

Vast Q&A site is fun to explore, but info can be unreliable.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn communication skills and digital literacy. Reading responses can help teens understand persuasive writing and may help them learn the difference between opinions and facts. However, there's no guarantee information posted on the site is accurate, and there's no clear breakdown of how to best use the site. Understanding what factors boost question and response popularity might help teens learn the basic principles behind clear, concise writing and conducting accurate research. Creating youth-specific sections that were separate from the main mishmash of topics would make Quora a better educational resource for teens.

Positive messages

A few sections include posts about healthy living practices; education; and writing and other creative pursuits.

Violence

An incarcerated killer has posted a response to the question, "What does it feel like to murder someone?"; other Q&A posts touch on disturbing subjects like necrophilia and drowning.

Sex

Users post and respond to questions about sex, such as "What is a threesome like?"

Language

Some posts are clean, but some users have added responses with words like "f---d," "s--t," and "ass."

Consumerism

The site isn't littered with ads, but users contribute movie, book, and other product reviews; people also comment on and post TV commercials, and user responses sometimes endorse specific products.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Keyword searches will turn up posts that touch on drug use, drinking, and other topics.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that teens register for this user-submitted question and answer site using Facebook, Twitter, or Google or by confirming a verification email. After registering, users select five subject areas to regularly follow; choices range from business to dating. Parents will most likely want to discuss teens' profile settings to ensure all site activity remains private. Teens can also block messages and post comments from strangers.

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What's it about?

QUORA is a community-based Q&A site. Users post questions on essentially any topic they're curious about, and other users provide the response. During registration, users are asked to identify five areas of interest to follow on a regular basis. Choices include a variety of subjects: everything from business to writing to history and dating. Registered users can post or respond to questions, post reviews, or add a blog about a topic. They can also follow other users and send them messages through the site.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Most of Quora's content is submitted by users; they even wrote much of the site's basic FAQ information. There's no regular screening process in place to confirm all information posted on the site is correct, and the site relies on users to designate helpful responses. That system doesn't always provide the best level of quality, and it can make finding a complete, accurate answer complicated at times.

But Quora does have some selling points: Its format gives users a chance to learn about a wide variety of topics (according to Quora, there are currently posts about more than 250,000), and some authoritative sources post responses, according to Quora -- including CEOs and journalists. Quora can be a place for people to pose simple questions and share personal experiences. However, parents may want to let kids know that some things they read on the site may not be factual.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about evaluating user-submitted information. How can you tell if a response that someone posted on a website is accurate?

  • How many sources should you check to make sure a piece of information is true? What words or phrases might indicate that an item is someone's opinion, instead of being a fact?

  • What's the best way to respond if someone posts a sarcastic or unfriendly response to your question? Should you reply to that user's post at all?

Website details

Subjects:Language & Reading: discussion, reading comprehension
Social Studies: cultural understanding, exploration
Skills:Collaboration: meeting challenges together, respecting other viewpoints
Tech Skills: social media, using and applying technology
Genre:Social Networking
Pricing structure:Free

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