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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that SmartGirl mixes educational, science-oriented content with first-person contributions from teens, who sometimes write about heavy subjects like self-injury and sex. The site doesn't review content before it's posted, but users generally keep it clean and positive. Parents of tweens will want to preview the large library of links, which includes resources about sexual health and substance abuse.
- Parents say
- Kids say
Is it any good?
Run by the Women in Science & Engineering Program at the University of Michigan, SMARTGIRL is a mix of educational info that encourages girls to get involved in the sciences and more typical teen fare, such as horoscopes and relationship advice. There's a lot of content on the site, but it's not organized -- or designed -- in a way that's very appealing. Graphics are minimal and there aren't any multimedia features, except for some games hosted on outside sites. SmartGirl clearly means well, but it may be too basic for tweens and teens who are used to more sophisticated experiences online.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about careers, and about the fact that women are underrepresented in technical fields such as engineering. Talk about some of the reasons girls may be less likely to choose careers in engineering. This can open a discussion about gender, stereotypes, and individuality.
Some users express concerns about sex and relationships on this site. Families can talk about media messages about sex. What TV shows and movies offer a realistic depiction of these issues?