SMITHTeens

Website review by
Carla Thornton, Common Sense Media
SMITHTeens Website Poster Image
Site challenges teens to summarize their lives in six words.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to distill their emotions and experiences into six words. It may be a challenge for chatterbox teens, but they'll quickly understand the emotional punch of brevity. SMITHTeens gives kids time to reflect, process those feelings, and then express them with a few words. Kids will also be surprised that a complete story can be told in one sentence, and they'll have fun making it happen. Perusing other entries will confirm they're not alone; memoirs cover a range of topics from first love to suicide. SMITHTeens creates a welcoming, interactive space to capture the fleeting moments and feelings that make up an adolescent life.

Positive Messages

Haiku-style writing fun, creativity, and self-expression are the goals of this storytelling site.

Violence

A few submissions are violent: "I will f--k you up, bitch."

Sex

Nothing worse than "making love."

Language

Teens write the way they speak, and submissions and comments are unregulated. In fact, "f--k" is used so frequently, it's included in the word cloud of terms you can search on. Watch out for "asshole," "bitch" and "s--t," too.

Consumerism

A "Store" link takes teens to the online shop on Smith Magazine, the owner of SMITHTeens. There, they can purchase T-shirts with the site logo and collections of six-word memoirs published by Smith Magazine.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking is mentioned only occasionally. There are probably other references we missed, but kids are more likely to mention cutting or suicidal thoughts.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this creative writing site is the teen version of respected online indie pub Smith Magazine's Six-Word Memoirs project. Kids will find a largely supportive community of similarly creative teens and a fertile environment in which to exercise their short-form writing skills. The uncensored submissions do contain some offensive language, but overall the content is funny and inspiring. Entering a memoir automatically gives the writer a chance to be in a future SMITHTeens anthology of six-word memoirs.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12 year old Written bygadgetman49 July 20, 2009

May be good for older teens.. no observed security

We're not sure whether to continue letting our daughter use this site (she will be 13 next month). It is a way for some parents to find out issues in their... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bySmithtenner January 13, 2010

Smithteener

Honestly, I think this site is amazing. I have my own user account. I think it should be used for only teens who know the limit on what content to put, like no... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byYellow Carnation August 4, 2012

SMITHteens :D

Well, obviously, it's a site for teens. Join any younger and you would undoubtedly feel immensely out of place. The site got a "facelift" as we,... Continue reading

What's it about?

SMITHTEENS is an online platform for teens age 13-19 to share personal stories in the form of \"Six-Word Memoirs.\" An offshoot of the grown-up site Smith Magazine, originator of this storytelling form, SMITHTeens is a great place for kids to vent about teenage ups and downs. Their brief contributions are organized by tag and published immediately onto the site. Kids can write as many memoirs as they like; SMITHTeens also contains forums with idea prompts and discussions.

Is it any good?

Anyone who thinks today's teens can't write is in for a pleasant surprise at SMITHTeens, a storytelling site that tasks kids with the seemingly impossible: summarize your life in six words. Kids rise to the occasion with gems like "I never take my own advice," one of more than 50,000 entries currently posted. As easy to use as it is addictive, SMITHTeens lets kids enter as many "memoirs" as they like along with a profile photo and comment on each other's work. According to creator Larry Smith some members use SMITHTeens as a daily journal.

Like the submissions themselves, comments are largely unregulated. However, teens are mostly supportive of each other’s creative efforts, and when kids use submissions to express suicidal or other depressed thoughts, their peers try to comfort them. A technical beef: the pages aren't numbered, but organized as "Newer Posts/Older Posts." The latter means you can't tell how many more entries there are to read before you're done with, say, all the submissions on "love." But these navigation problems are easy to overlook in an otherwise terrific site for aspiring young writers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Which six words would your teen use to describe his or her life?

  • Discuss what your teen might gain from participating in a writing project like SMITHTeens. Families can talk about whether creative  expression is enhanced or harmed by profanity, the challenge of writing to length, and the introspection that a memoir of any length requires. Read our tips on creating with digital media.

Website details

For kids who love writing

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