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 online dictionary of slang terms can delve into areas of sex, drugs, and violence. But it also has its finger on the pulse of of-the-moment expressions and can be humorous and thought-provoking. The content can also be shocking -- the site's guidelines say
it will "publish racial and sexual slurs" because "people use slurs in
everyday speech" -- but will reject racist and sexist entries. (Editors
are encouraged to approve terms that document but don't endorse
discrimination -- which can be a fine line). The site's usage terms say
the content "is frequently presented in a coarse and direct manner that
some may find offensive" and suggest the site isn’t for users under 13.
However, kids can easily find a number of edgy definitions; the terms
are listed alphabetically, and there's also a search function.
Is it any good?
The Urban Dictionary gets points for encouraging creativity, and some of the tamer terms are funny or feature earnest definitions. However, while the site might help increase your tween's interest in words, the risk of your child running across some made-up monikers that you won't want repeated is pretty high -- so supervision is recommended.
Online interaction: Users can instantly chat live -- via text or video -- with other users. There's no language filter, and conversations can get heated.
Talk to your kids about ...
What is a slur? What kind of words and terms -- involving gender, race, appearance or other things -- should you not say to offend people or hurt their feelings?
If you hear someone else use a term that you think may offend people or hurt their feelings, is it OK to repeat it -- or is that just as bad as saying it? Is there a difference between talking about discrimination and actually discriminating against people -- and how do you not cross that line?
Why would you not want to video chat with a stranger? What kind of things could happen that would be different or not as safe during a chat if you're able to see the person you're chatting with, instead of just typing back and forth?