A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that StumbleUpon filters and presents Internet content and articles based on users' self-reported interests, click histories, and ratings. StumbleUpon doesn't create its own content but rather links to third-party sites such as Imgur, Buzzfeed, Vimeo, YouTube, and countless blogs, entertainment feeds, pseudo news sources, and more. There don’t seem to be any guidelines on what content can be linked and what's prohibited, meaning there's no oversight over what might show up in your Stumble list. Comments sections are entirely open forums, with all the aggressive, nasty language that's so common in unmonitored online comments. And, being fed content expertly customized according to what will most capture your interest, it's easy to spend hours clicking through story after video after blog post.
What's it about?
STUMBLEUPON gathers information about users' interests and preferences to provide customized blogs, articles, pictures, and other Web content. When users create a profile, they choose areas of interest to get started. Then they rate each article presented; StumbleUpon constantly updates the algorithms for determining what new content should capture that user's interest. Users can share, comment on, bookmark, or organize content into lists. Keep clicking the stumble button to see what you'll stumble across next.
Is it any good?
StumbleUpon doesn't create its own content, so the quality of what you see is only as good as the sites it brings you. Most sites seem to be popular, highly trafficked stops, geared toward adults rather than kids and featuring lots of empty, superficial material, but there's also some enriching, inspiring, or useful content. The more you use StumbleUpon, and the more feedback you provide, the better its filters get in delivering content that fits you. For that, StumbleUpon is pretty cool, and it can be a great time-saver, searching the Web for things you'll actually like. But there's a downside: With pre-set filters, it's easy to miss something truly enlightening that falls outside your defined interests. Also, an important part of learning is using your own filters to wade through information until you find exactly what you're looking for. StumbleUpon is a great way to find Internet content that interests you, but there are no guarantees on the quality of what it shows you.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the many varied stories that come up. Why is a particular post, article, or video interesting or not interesting? What does it make you think about, or how does it make you feel? How does it relate to your life?
How do these Internet algorithms work? What kind of data do you think you provide knowingly and unknowingly to help refine which articles -- and ads -- show up?
Reading things on the Internet is fun but can easily become all-consuming. Discuss setting and adhering to screen-time limits, and make sure to do plenty of things that don't involve screens.