A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
Kids will learn how to structure online content by listing links visually; they can develop organizational skills that might transfer to other realms. Symbaloo's main page provides a limited amount of news coverage, which may expose kids to current events in the U.S. and other countries. Ultimately, it's a fairly simple site: users create pages that showcase their favorite websites, but it doesn’t really offer a ton of extras, and the content quality on other users’ pages varies. At the very least, kids can get some reading practice as they explore online, and make choices about what to add to their webmixes, and sharing pages with friends could also help kids develop communication skills. While pretty basic, Symbaloo's a reasonably helpful tool for older kids who want to organize their online faves.
The site's news page can encourage kids to conduct research, read, and follow current events.
Violence & Scariness
Kids could potentially access sites with graphic photos, which appear in Google ad links when users search for Symbaloo pages on crime and related topics.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Searches for words such as "sex" and "xxx" turn up public Symbaloo pages that link to online adult toy stores, dating websites, and sites with nude images.
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A few Symbaloo names contain words such as "s--t" and "a--."
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Products & Purchases
Major retail shopping sites, including Amazon, eBay, Target, and Best Buy, are offered as quick-add link options for users.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some pages cover drug and alcohol education and abstinence, but other public Symbaloos support drug legalization, smoking, and drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Symbaloo is a visual bookmarking site that kids can use to organize their online favorites. Kids need to enter a name, an email address, and a password to register and then click on a verification email to use all site features and change their preferences. Kids also can connect Facebook and Twitter to a Symbaloo account to facilitate sharing pages or individual links. It's not too difficult for kids to keep their own content private, but the bigger concern is what they'll see when they view other people's pages; you can certainly find inappropriate stuff (links to violent, sexual, and drug-related sites) if you go looking for it.
Is It Any Good?
Essentially, Symbaloo is a more picturesque version of a URL bookmark list. As a way to compile information from the Web, its tile-based layout works just fine. But for kid users, it may not be the best place to aggregate content. On one hand, looking at various websites can provide kids with reading practice, and, if they share links with friends, they also could potentially get communication experience. But Symbaloo doesn't offer much instruction or guidance in those areas; the site's educational value likely will depend on the links kids select.
Kids can use Symbaloo to compile bookmarked sites in one, browser-accessible location, instead of having to transfer bookmarks to several devices. This convenience factor might be a big selling point for young users; however, parents may not be so thrilled about how easily kids can access inappropriate images. Search publicly posted webmixes with a keyword such as "sex," and you'll be able to find pages that link to sites with nude photos. Some pages also support drug legalization, smoking, and drinking.
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