A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this safe, supportive social network is a virtual place for seriously ill teens to come together and find a sense of community. Here, teens with life threatening or chronically ill medical conditions can connect with each other through moderated chat rooms, profiles, and bulletin boards. Whether they’re in the hospital or holed up at home, teen users will discover a wealth of activities such as contests, polls, videos, and games to help pass the time -- and a community of supportive kids to look to and lean on, including kids who share the same diagnosis or who are undergoing similar procedures. Created by the Starlight Children’s Foundation, the site is a tool (in a very large toolbox) that the foundation uses in its mission to improve the lives of children affected by serious illness and life-altering injuries.
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Is it any good?
Being a teenager is tough enough already. Saddle a child with a serious illness, and the rigors of doctor visits, hospitalizations, and treatment can strip kids from friends, favorite pastimes and social activities. StarbrightWorld provides a private, safe place for teens to congregate and commiserate with others who relate and empathize. Straightforward and frank, illness is acknowledged -- not sugarcoated -- and members are treated with respect and dignity. Users will find a wealth of ways to reach out for help and support as they’re navigating their illness. A simple search can connect teens who share the same diagnosis or who are undergoing the same treatment. Specialized “vent chats” give users the chance to rant about anything on their minds, all under the guidance of a mental health expert. For teens with a serious illness, StarbrightWorld provides a place where they’re never alone.
Online interaction: Teen members will find abundant social interaction and activities -- chats, clubs, games, collecting friends, and more -- but the biggest benefit may be the supportive network created on the site.
Talk to your kids about ...
How social networks can create a sense of community and compassion among different groups of people. How do you think teens who are ill feel when they discover an online resource like this? What other websites help provide support for people?
Why it’s important for this website to remain private and only for those who are seriously ill. Why do you think privacy matters to the people who create the site and who use it?
How staying connected has become such an integral part of life for kids. Ways technology helps keep kids who are ill connected to their friends, family and school. Would you deal with your illness differently if you didn’t have digital tools to stay in touch?