A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Seventeen.com -- the online companion to the best-selling teen print magazine -- provides a highly interactive forum for young teens. Capitalizing on universal topics that capture the attention of teen girls – boys, clothes, makeup, and gossip – the site offers advice, tips, quizzes, polls, trends, videos, contests, and blogs. It also features an abundance of advertising, coupons, offers, and outside links. Though it does have some useful information related to health and college, it’s mostly comprised of lightweight fluff such as celebrity gossip, makeup trends, finding the perfect prom dress, and the hottest guys in Hollywood. There is frank and honest advice (from experts, editors, and real-life visitors to the site) about serious topics such as how to flirt and kiss, great pick-up lines, and knowing when you’re ready to have sex.
- Parents say
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Is it any good?
Teen girls typically begin to pick up Seventeen magazine well before they’re actually 17. This is also probably true of its companion website, which is easily accessible, instantly engaging and bursting with entertaining activities with universal girl appeal. Boy talk, fashion, celebrities, gossip, quizzes and contests will not only draw them in, but keep them riveted for a while. Mixed in with the fluff about beauty products and fashion makeovers are some relationship topics that might be better suited to the older teen, including a “hook-up handbook,” “flirty text message ideas,” and “30 days to making him yours.” There’s no shortage of Q&A. Users over 13 can create a free account in order to post questions or provide advice. Topics run the gamut from “Do boys care about chest size” to “What should I wear to my winter formal." Though advertising is rampant (and often cleverly disguised as contests, fashion finds and featured products), the website masterfully speaks to teens in a relatable voice and touches on the subjects that are top-of-mind for girls. But once they’re here, pulling them away may prove tricky.
Online interaction: Questions posed typically are about topics that teens can easily relate to and cover the basic issues, from dating and sexual relations to fashion and friend troubles. Those who post answers are frequently supportive and encouraging, but because the Q&A forums are unmoderated, there is strong potential for inappropriate language and offensive posts.
Talk to your kids about ...
How magazines and their online counterparts are both entertaining and sales tools. How does a website draw you in, keep you there and try to convince you to shop? How can you be a savvy Internet user and be smart about the many marketing messages you encounter.
Why it’s often easier to seek counsel and advice anonymously. Why is that? And do you trust the responses and advice you find online? Why or why not?
How magazines – both in print and online -- often portray girls and women? Why do magazines put super skinny models and celebrities on their covers? How does this imagery make you think about your own body? Do you think magazines would sell as many copies or attract as many website visitors if they showed people who look more like you or your friends?