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Collaborative reference: Research with caution.
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What parents need to know

Positive messages

Rigorous ethics guidelines are administered; but sometimes people with agendas get into entries and twist things to their versions of their own truths.


In general, searches limited to school topics are presented in an academic manner, but main entries may include links to iffy content on and off the site. Watch for less conventional topics including violent video games, gangs, and adult media of all types. Occasionally malicious contributors add violent content, which is usually, but not always, removed quickly.


Ranges wildly. Includes encyclopedic-type entries for porn stars, R- and X-rated movies, explicit song lyrics and more; some adult pages, pages relating to sexual activity or anatomy include very sexually graphic images. Searches limited to school work and kid-specific media are safer, but entries may include links to other age-inappropriate content on and off the site. Occasionally malicious contributors add sexually gratuitous inappropriate content, which is usually, but not always, removed quickly. It's a gamble.


Entries for topics including TV shows, films, video games, music, celebrities (and much more) may include inappropriate language (like video and song downloads with explicit lyrics and crass humor). Wikipedia entries that seem age-appropriate may include links to other Wikipedia entries with sexually graphic language or expletives. Occasionally malicious contributors ruin entries by inserting bad language, which is usually, but not always, removed quickly.


Entries for commercial products; some external links lead to commercial-heavy sites.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Entries and associated content may include discussion and images of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Wikipedia entries are compiled by users -- not an editorial staff. It's a constantly evolving collaborative encyclopedia and kids use it all the time to do research. The site employs no age filters. Kids who roam through the site can research anything from Galilleo to graphic sexual practices. Searches may return great information or words or images that are not for kids under any circumstances.  That said, most kids are asked to use this resource for schoolwork.  The most important thing kids have to realize is that even though many people look at entries, that doesn't guarantee that what they see is accurate. Kids must be encouraged to think critically about what they read and double check facts and sources if they are using anything for a homework assignment. While the millions of topics include many well-researched, kid-friendly entries, Wikipedia also has some material that is absolutely not appropriate for kids. The site does monitor the material posted, but it's just so enormous that the potential for kids to stumble upon age-inappropriate -- or inaccurate -- text and photos exists. Entries can also include links to outside sites, and kids can post and receive unedited messages in the discussion areas. Mostly, kids start surfing through the site and travel as their interests dictate. That said, some of those "interests" can be "TMI" for kids.

What's it about?

WIKIPEDIA.ORG fuses those 12 old-school volumes of hardback encyclopedias into one URL with a wealth of information on geography, the arts, history, and other standard encyclopedic categories, along with kid-friendly, pop-culture entries on comic strips, toys, and TV shows.

Is it any good?


The most important thing to know about this collaborative encyclopedia is that anyone with an Internet connection can edit entries, and while the site does have rigorous guidelines and a system to catch and eliminate bad content, they just can't keep up with the millions of constantly changing entries. (Malicious content is removed as quickly as possible and hard-hit entries are locked down from further editing.) And you can guarantee that your curious kid will find all the detailed entries you wished he hadn't (pornography, explicit song lyrics, long-winded definitions of dirty words). The carefully researched, comprehensive entries do exist, but a disclaimer states that stuff may be wrong and to use the site as just one of many reference tools. You might also want to check out the discussion areas before your kid freely posts or gets any messages.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the nature of a collaborative encyclopedia. Why is it important to use Wikipedia simply as a launching pad for more extensive research? Families can also talk about the ways to double-check a Wikipedia entry against more formal references. How do you navigate through such large amounts of information and find what's important?

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Kid, 11 years old October 3, 2010

The Worldwide Encyclopedia of Everything.

Wikipedia is one of those sites where you never know what might come up. If I could, I would have clicked 'I think this website is ON for ages ?'. It really depends on what you search. If you search 'Lego', 'chickens' or 'Xbox LIVE' you'll be okay. If you search 'striptease', 'first-degree murder' or 'full-frontal nudity', maybe not. The most inappropriate thing on there gets this a +17, but just DON'T SEARCH FOR INAPPROPRIATE THINGS!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educational value
Kid, 7 years old August 6, 2010


great website there is an wikipedea app
Adult Written byjared.mara April 11, 2010

Definately for teens and older.

This is an easy one. On the bright side, Wikipedia is a site where you can see articles of information written be users who like the topics they wright about. Also, areas like Wiki Project: Spam; AfD discussions, and discussion pages, the articles are ensured to be kept in the highest condition. However, you must realize that Wikipedia can accept any article. Another child reporter said that there was explicit articles on Wikipedia. However, the articles fell under Wikipedia's policies and were accepted. Wikipedia is not obligated to take something down just because of it's topic, which is why young children should be cautioned about certain articles. So it is right to use this sight once you are old enough, which in my opinion is 13+.


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