Reach Out

Common Sense Media says

Peers offer support and information for teens in crisis.

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This site helps teens make educated, healthy decisions in different social settings based on facts and positive advice. 

Violence

The site includes real-life stories of violence in the context of peers sharing with peers. Teens will also find tips on how to respond constructively to cyberbullying and information about suicide, abusive relationships, gang violence, and where to get help. An informative "sexual violence" page teaches teens about predator awareness and safety.

Sex

Topics on the site include safe sex and engaging in age-appropriate sexual relationships. Also, a "Facts" page gives information about sexuality and STDs.

Language

Teens can voice their opinions on a blog page. The word "s--t" pops up (both from users and in articles and fact sheets on the site), but is used in a non-threatening tone to further emphasize the points being made. There's also an occasional "f--k" in user-submitted essays; the offensive terms used are basically just the unfiltered language not uncommon with teens.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teens visiting the site will find a fact sheet for different types of drugs, detailing their effects both long term and short. Substance abusers share their stories, but they are educational and not glamorized.

Privacy & safety

Moderators review postings, but once comments are posted they cannot be deleted by those who post them. Those who sign up to take part in the Reach Out community do have the option to include their full names and an image, although they are advised against it. Only positive comments are posted. Also, the site's privacy policy states that it may disclose personal information without a user's consent if, for example, a visitor makes statements indicating intent to commit self-harm.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Reach Out  is an educational site that offers support and information for teens who struggle with mental health issues, and features real stories about real teen issues. Although these stories are explicit and chock-full of sex, drugs, and violence, they serve a greater purpose. These stories offer optimistic solutions and healthy options for teens who are surviving difficult times. This site was created to offer struggling teens with insight to leading a more positive life by improving their mental health.  

Parents say

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Kids say

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QUALITY
 

REACH OUT is a remarkably supportive site for teens and parents alike. Although social networking continues to evolve, teens in crisis may feel as if they don't have any outlets. Reach Out promotes healthy decision-making to maintain positive mental health. Videos of teen biographies and personal stories lets teens know that they are not alone with their thoughts, that their emotions are indeed validated and shared by others. Pages such as "Help a Friend" and "Types of Treatment" list a variety of information about helping struggling teens, as well as counseling, mental health services, and free treatment options. There are also 24-hour hotlines available for those who need to talk to someone immediately.

This is not only a site for those struggling with mental health issues, but it is also a guide for physical health. The "Being Positive" page is dedicated to helping teens find a healthy balance in their lives. This page emphasizes the importance of exercise, eating healthy, and the value of alone time. Reach Out is a timely, relevant website that any teen experiencing crisis or supporting a friend should consider essential.

Online interaction: Site visitors can comment on blog posts and reply to one another's opinions. All comments are screened by site staff before being posted, and only positive and supportive content is posted. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the different ways a person's mental health can be impacted by technology. How have social networks and mobile phones changed the dynamics of communication, when what used to remain personal, like bullying on the schoolyard, no longer ends when the school-bell rings at the end of the day? Now teens can attack one another at any time of the day or night in their private space at home, via mobile devices or on the Internet free for world to see.

  • It's important for teens to have a place to turn to that teaches them how to constructively address these issues.  Do you know anyone who has been cyberbullied? What should you do if you are a victim of cyberbullying?

  • Parents can talk to teens about coping mechanisms and positive ways to deal with stress.

Website details

Genre:Educational
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Reach Out was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • 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.

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Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2011
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Amazing

I see this ad in the mall all the time, and its amazing site. I twill help you feel better and different. If its like having a baby, being bullied, getting abused, it will help you. Though it talks about sex. you don't have to visit those pages.
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