Ruby Skye P.I. Website Poster Image

Ruby Skye P.I.

(i)

 

Quirky web series starring a teen digital detective.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn about piecing clues together to tell a story. Following Ruby's investigations can help kids develop critical thinking skills and understand storytelling elements like sequential order. Topics such as Internet scams, water bottle waste, body language, and the Because I am a Girl female rights initiative are also covered. Granted, the site is geared toward girls more than boys, and users could benefit from getting more feedback on their guesses, but most items reinforce the lessons Ruby is learning. Fun webisodes and detective work encourage critical thinking skills.

Positive messages

A scam file lists recent Internet scams to watch out for; the site also features info about the waste single-use water bottles create, filed under a tag called the Skye Sisters' Campaign.

Violence

A documentary video in the site's scam section has some references to violence.

Sex

A documentary video in the site's scam section warns that it contains a nudity (including a couple of glimpses of bare backsides, women in lingerie, and exposed breasts); the site tells younger kids to grab a parent to watch it with them.

Language

Comments appear instantly, but the site policy says administrators will remove any containing bad language. A documentary video contains words such as "piss" and "s--t." "S--t" is also used in reference to religious customs ("Besides, is any of this that much weirder than s--t like communion and circumcisions?").

Consumerism

Ads precede some of the videos and site sponsors get some promotion, but an ad policy reminds kids "buying something Ruby owns won't turn you into a detective or make you more like Ruby."

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

During a tribal ceremony in a documentary video, a participant drinks what looks like an alcoholic beverage from a bottle, then offers a swig to a crying baby.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Ruby Skye P.I. is a web-based series for tweens staring a 15-year-old detective named Ruby Skye who tracks down Internet scams. A documentary video on the site warns younger kids to watch with a parent because it contains some nudity; it also contains iffy language and alcohol. Kids need to submit their email address when posting a comment; however, the site doesn't share email addresses with any vendors or external sources.

Parents say

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What's it about?

The RUBY SKYE P.I. online series follows the adventures of a 15-year-old gumshoe, told in brief episodes that showcase Ruby's inquisitive nature. The teen conveys a sense of excitement and curiosity during investigations; the installments also have a subtle self-empowerment vibe. Created for kids in fourth to eighth grade, the site also has supplementary materials that can help kids learn more about the skills needed to solve mysteries; a section featuring items about a girls' rights organization also offers a dose of girl power.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

RUBY SKYE P.I.'s brief webisodes -- they're roughly 4 to 6 minutes long -- are professionally filmed and center around an ongoing storyline in which Ruby tries to track down the source of an Internet scam. (The quest actually begins with Ruby trying to figure out who stole her brownies.)

The show is entertaining and hits the right tone; Ruby is just clever enough without being condescending to anyone she interviews. The series also contains a fair amount of factual (and topical) info about Internet scams. Mystery solved: Ruby Skye P.I. is a ton of fun to watch!

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how to know when it's OK to submit your email address to post a comment on a site or sign up for an e-newsletter -- and when it maybe isn't. When should you check with a parent first? Help your middle schooler develop safe online behavior.

  • Ruby does some serious detective work on the show. What's the difference between the kind of investigating she does -- and just plain snooping? Would, for example, be going through you sister's room considered detective work -- or a violation of privacy?

  • Ruby investigates Internet scams; the site also has a section listing recent ones. What is an Internet scam? How can you tell if someone is trying to scam you?

Website details

Subjects:Math: fractions, measurement
Language & Reading: using supporting evidence, vocabulary
Skills:Emotional Development: moving beyond obstacles, perspective taking
Thinking & Reasoning: investigation, logic
Genre:Video Sites
Pricing structure:Free

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Teen, 13 years old Written byviolet-roses October 1, 2011

Educates.

I have explored this website a bit, and it seems to really educate kids and teens about internet safety and other things.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages

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