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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 site's interface is a little hard to use. It's not always clear what needs to be clicked in order to select a game or video. Ads appear before and after the selected videos. Kids can watch whole episodes of Nickelodeon shows on the site, so if you don't want kids to watch Mr. Meaty or another show, you may want to keep an eye on them while they surf around.
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What's it about?
TURBONICK offers kids a chance to watch popular Nickelodeon TV shows on their computers. Full-length episodes of series such as SpongeBob SquarePants, for example, can be viewed and rated. Sign up for a free nickname, and you can "snag" favorite videos and save them to your own private collection. Besides the available TV episodes, kids can see short features on Nick's kid celebrities, plus go behind the scenes of movies. Think you could be a Nick animator? Let your creativity shine in "Mash-Up Central," where you can select video clips, graphics, transitions, and music to make your very own Nick-inspired movie. This fascinating tool also lets you save your best work and email it to a friend. If yours is exceptional, it might even end up on TV! Other games are a letdown after Mash-Up. They include Nick-themed hangman games, as well as Simon-like memory activities. Registered users can post to the message board, which is really offsite at the "regular" Nick.com.
Is it any good?
The site's user interface is designed for low reading skills. Kids click on pictures rather than words. Unfortunately, the interface is a little hard to use. It's not always clear what needs to be clicked in order to select a game or video. Select a "channel" on the left; more choices will pop up on the right of the channel area. If you want to play a video, look for the "play" arrow inside that video's window. The Games section has a different set of controls on the top right. A more consistent user interface would be a welcome addition.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how to plan their mash-up movies in the games section. This fun activity is less of a game and more of an interactive, creative movie-making session for families. How do you choose a theme for your mash-up movie? What elements do you like to include in your movies?