Smore

Website review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
Smore Website Poster Image
Design hip virtual flyers with reasonably easy-to-use site.

Parents say

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Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational value

Kids can learn a bit about graphic design and how to organize information. Other people's flyers will introduce them to a collection of random subjects, like real estate, aviation, and fundraising. Making flyers gives kids hands-on design experience, and, with a bit of help, they'll also learn to present a message to a specific audience. Parents may not want kids to share their work on the site, so they'll still be able to create attractive flyers, but they won't get analytics, which supply the site's biggest lesson. Adding more marketing-related learning materials would help make Smore a better all-around resource.

Positive messages

The site promotes green practices by posting a tally of trees saved based on the number of e-flyers created.

Violence
Sex
Language

Users can include swear words in flyers but don't seem to; a browser search didn't turn up "s--t," "f--k," or other words.

Consumerism

Many flyers are created for promotional purposes, so kids could be exposed to a number of companies' products and services.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Smore is a website that helps users create online flyers. Kids have to register to use Smore by entering their first and last name, e-mail address, and a password. They also can sign in using Facebook. Users can allow or disable comments for each flyer; viewers can only comment using Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail, which may cause privacy concerns if other users access their profile on those sites.

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What's it about?

Choose a theme -- event, business, for sale, news bulletin, class, or anything else you need to promote -- and fill in a template to create a newsletter or flyer. Prompts offer some simple tips, such as, \"Titles are a must for all flyers.\" You can add text, photos, and audio from aural platform SoundCloud; YouTube, Vimeo, and Viddler videos; or a form. Once the design is complete, you can distribute designs to Craiglist or an email list, make them private, promote them on social media, or print them. Analytics help track reader response. Basic Smore is free; paid monthly subscriptions range from $19 to $99.

Is it any good?

According to Smore, more than 30,000 users access the promotional flyer-creation site daily. Most seem to be logging on to make flyers and newsletters for the products and services they offer. Flyers can be printed out and distributed, emailed, and shared on certain sites. Smore makes document design, creation, and distribution simple; its tool guides you through the process, and you can add some nifty extras, like videos and audio. Graphic and font options are modern and charming, which works well for kid-created flyers. However, without a paid subscription, flyers will contain Smore's logo, which can be a drawback for some users. Parents also may have concerns about kids' ability to connect with other users on the site. To comment on other flyers, kids need to first log in to their Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, or Hotmail account, which means other users can easily learn more about their identity and potentially contact them. Parents can alter kids' profile settings to make their flyers private; this will remove the analytics option and prevent kids from seeing which promotional efforts resonate best with viewers -- but it should make their experience safer.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about PR and marketing and how companies promote products and services to potential buyers. Ask your child for some examples of commercials or ads. How did they influence your child's interest in a toy or other product?

  • Discuss some issues that can arise from logging into a website using your Facebook account. How could strangers contact you if they can see your profile?

  • Users can make their flyers public or private. Ask kids what privacy issues they could face if everyone could see their work. Should everything that kids create on sites like Smore be for-their-eyes-only?

Website details

  • Subjects: Language & Reading: presenting to others, writing
    Arts: drawing, photography
  • Skills: Creativity: imagination, producing new content
    Self-Direction: initiative, set objectives
    Communication: conveying messages effectively, presenting
  • Genre: Creating
  • Price: Free basic version; $79/year for full version
  • Pricing structure: Paid, Free

For kids who love design

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