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Wikihow

Website review by
Carla Thornton, Common Sense Media
Wikihow Website Poster Image
Ample information, but accuracy and topics can be iffy.
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about a variety of subjects. The content generally falls under categories such as arts and entertainment, vehicles, finance and business, food, health, hobbies and crafts, home and garden, and others. Some guides offer instruction on how to make things; others provide background knowledge. Because users submitted the content, some items are more informative than others; kids may have a hard time telling which guides will provide the best know-how.

Violence

There's no murder or mayhem, but despite a brief suggestion to avoid fighting if possible, some articles, such as "How to Beat a Taller and Bigger Opponent in a Street Fight," suggest mild vigilantism. Advice on killing characters in popular video games is also provided.

 

Sex

While many items are instructional, the site covers a variety of sexually related topics in pieces such as "4 Ways to Make Sex Last Longer" and "How to Make Sex Better," and wades into questionable territory with articles like "How to Make Your Girlfriend Want to Have Sex With You."

Language

Generally, the site seems pretty clean; user questions are reviewed before being posted, but message board and article discussion comments appear immediately, so it's possible to include swears.

Consumerism

The ads aren't intrusive, but the Google listings that appear can be X-rated. For instance, enter "seeing Internet porn" into the search field, and links to sites that promise free pornography downloads appear. Kids don't need to register to read articles, but they may want to, as they don't have to submit an email address to do it -- and registered users won't see the ads that otherwise appear below, before, and beside articles.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Articles touch on growing medical marijuana, drinking, and smoking; while some tout ways to quit, others assume readers are interested in using the substances.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know Wikihow is a reference site for various subjects. It contains some material parents may find objectionable, such as articles on alcohol, drugs, and smoking. Users can discover articles about fighting, which could suggest vigilantism. There are advice articles about sexual content, as well as the possibility that kids could potentially be exposed to Google ads for sexually explicit sites. But kids can register and avoid seeing ads; and the site offers a significant amount of acceptable content, including fun projects they can undertake. Kids as young as 13 are allowed to sign up, but the site provides no parental controls.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLu I. August 31, 2016

encourages kids to be disrespectful and to insult other people / stubborn and smug community

Not suitable for kids. This website encourages kids to be disrespectful, to insult other people, to annoy teachers, friends, siblings and so on. If you don... Continue reading
Adult Written byJune Days November 1, 2012

Review by a wikiHow Lover: Honest and true

wikiHow is a how-to manual that gives people every day advice. While reading the site is fun, it's even more fun to write on it! I think that wikiHow giv... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old August 8, 2010

Brilliant Idea =]

Great Site, Really Good. It Tells You Everything You Need (Or May Need) To Know How To Do. Like If You've Fallen Out With A Friend, Just Search "How T... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old June 28, 2010
There is a lot of good and a little bad. Very educational. Kids can learn a lot. GREAT WEBSITE.

What's it about?

Users contribute how-to guides, which are listed on WIKIHOW under categories such as arts and entertainment, cars and other vehicles, family life, and health. Many contain a list of references, responses to user questions, and other elements. Users can also edit any of the guides to fix mistakes or add information; and they can submit requests for guides on certain topics. The site says all content changes are examined by volunteers; items with a green checkmark have been reviewed by subject matter experts, such as a lawyer or doctor.

Is it any good?

Users may benefit from reading a number of the how-to guides on this site, but parents should beware because some of the info and articles can have iffy content. Wikihow users can quickly learn to create a time capsule, for example, make no-bake breakfast cookies, or get traveling tips. Some items feature clearly written instructions and visuals, and users can post questions, if they have any, to obtain more information.

WikiHow's content poses a couple of concerns, though. Kids can easily come across guides on topics that aren't appropriate for younger (and possibly some older) viewers -- such as "How to Spice Up Your Sex Life" or "How to Get Drunk Fast." And while some items have been reviewed by licensed social workers, veterinarians, and other qualified professionals, with users able to basically edit anything, content quality can't really be guaranteed. The site says the average article has been edited by more than 20 people and reviewed by more than 15, but it's not always clear if those are legitimate staff members, experts, or just random site users. In addition, although the information in many articles comes from legit publications and organizations, some refer to more questionable sources; an article on drinking scotch, for example, links to a random person's blog about his experience imbibing the drink. Parents may want to sit down with kids before they use the site to explain why some items may not be as factual as a news article or other trusted resource -- and then surf wikiHow together to ensure kids don't stumble onto material that's strictly meant for a mature audience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how wikis are, by nature, not completely reliable sources of information. How can kids know when information is trustworthy and when it is wrong? Where can they check their research? (See our tips for using Wikipedia.)

  • What's a polite way to express a differing thought? How can you express your opinion if you don't agree in a respectful way?

  • How can kids respect free speech while using common sense?

Website details

For kids who love research

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