A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that everyone in the family can and should enjoy Sumopaint's image editor. However, the site's community gallery pages are definitely not for little ones. The site's separate community pages include public galleries, interaction and profile pages a la Facebook. This feature's dicey content includes the occasional inappropriate picture and the ability to freely interact with other members. When in dount, just enjoy the image editor, which opens in a separate window, and ignore the shared content pages all together.
What's it about?
SUMOPAINT is a free browser-based application with capabilities often found in more expensive image manipulation programs, including tools that subtly smudge, tint, and alter images and filters that blur and create other effects. Users can also perform basic edits like cropping photos, and can draw their own images. Kids should be able to easily figure out how to use the application and can also share their creations.
Is it any good?
Move over Photoshop, Sumopaint lets you in on all the effects that up to now have been reserved for the pros, or those who wanted to drop a few hundred bucks on imaging software. With this site you can do it all, from painting a pretty picture to creating mesmerizing effects with tools like the symmetry brush and kaleidoscope filter. These tools are sure to bring out the kid in everyone. Forget about the possibilities for wowing audiences with school reports, cartoons, and professionally done design work, this online application is just plain fun to experiment with. The computer app does all the work, making you look like a design pro without even trying.
Users can post comments on profile pages that exhibit artwork. Sometimes (though rarely) users harshly criticize pieces. Gallery comments aren't filtered, so parents may want to watch out for questionable posts. The profile pages are like social networking profiles and users can collect "contacts" like friends, but the only way to connect is on the profile page.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about experimenting with technology. Are you intimidated to try new programs or do you dive right in? How do you think technology helps you to express yourself? Do you think there will still be a need to learn how to draw and paint if computers can help us to mimick these talents so easily? Is there value in learning how to draw and design away from the computer?
On this site users can post their creations and recieve feedback on the content. How would you react if someone criticized your work? Do you think it is wise to open yourself up to the opinions of millions of users or should you reserve sharing your pieces with people you know who support you? How can online criticism veer into cyberbullying territory?
Because there are social networking elements on this site, it's important to know some safety rules for using interactive sites like these. What is information that's safe to share, and what info is off-limits? At what age is it Okto begin interacting on social networks?
For kids who love plugged-in creativity
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