What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this browser is a safe, ad-free window onto the Web for tweens. Racist, pornographic, and overtly violent content -- as well as chat -- is automatically filtered by software. In addition, sites are vetted by a human team of parents and educators. Kids aren't completely shielded from reality -- some of the sites, such as PBS and ABC News, cover the same world events, local tragedies and pop culture as the 6 o'clock news. But in general the sites are fine for kid consumption, and do an especially good job of appealing to older tweens' more sophisticated tastes. While kid-oriented browsers offer parents peace of mind, they won't completely restrict kids from accessing the Internet, either by getting around your computer's filter or doing it at someone else's house. So parents should use kids' browsers in combination with their own rules about safe and responsible Internet behavior.
Is it any good?
KidZui, another kids' browser that's been out longer, has better parental controls. But Tweens Browser has more educational sites and it's free. Tweens displays Web sites almost full screen, like a real browser, without a lot of toolbar clutter. It serves older kids by providing plenty of "grownup" sites out of the box, such as PBS. The Tweens News blog, a categorized collection of G-rated YouTube videos and cute stories updated daily by two of the creator's own children, is a nice touch.
Tweens has a homemade look and, oddly, a clock that displays military time, but it's hard to argue with the quality of its content. With prescreened sites ranging from Barbie to BBC History, Tweens does a good job of bringing the best of the Web to kids 7 to 12, and that makes it an attractive choice for safe tween browsing.
Online interaction: Kids can leave comments in The Tweens News, a blog where YouTube and article links are posted by the browser's own teen staff. Unlike some other kids' browsers such as KidZui, this one does not come with social networking tools. However, kids can safely chat and network on several of the browser's featured sites, such as Disney.com and Miss O & Friends.
Families can talk about...
This browser helps restrict inappropriate content and offers parents peace of mind, but kids need to learn responsible online behavior so they can stay safe online.
Discuss why it's important for kids to focus on fun, educational -- and most important, safe -- Internet content in their formative years.
Internet filtering software is another way to control what kids do on the Web. Read our tips.