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 health-focused kids' site provides good information on nutrition, exercise, and related topics. Parents can choose kids' user names and must activate their accounts -- either a free account or a premium membership that costs up to $5 a month. The site frequently prompts kids to upgrade their accounts and also encourages them to email friends about joining (kids can "earn" a free iPod Shuffle if three of their friends sign up for premium accounts). A virtual world with filtered, monitored chat is available to premium members. Kids could feel rejected if their requests to be friends or to chat are ignored.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
An educational Web site focused on kids' health, WISENHIMER.COM dishes out a generous serving of facts about nutrition and exercise. With a free account, kids can create an avatar and play games, quizzes, and trivia challenges. Paid premium membership serves up extra features like a virtual world, friends, chat, and more. All users can earn points through activities, but only premium members can redeem them. Adults get their own accounts and can gather in the Parents' Corner to exchange ideas in forums or pick up activity suggestions.
Is it any good?
This site wins points for making health a family affair. Parents and kids can agree to participate in healthy challenges like visiting an orchard or farm, doing stretches every morning, or writing thank-you notes (the site treats kindness and responsibility as an integral part of health). Kids will enjoy the fun, food-themed arcade games, but without the premium membership, they'll breeze through the rest of the content pretty quickly. And the constant prompts to upgrade -- and invite friends to join -- may try parents' patience.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about healthy eating and exercise habits and how the whole family can make adjustments for better health. How does the media promote -- or undermine -- positive health choices? Where else can you go online to learn similar information? Parents can use the site's WiseChallenges to help kids take charge of their health -- for example, teaching them how to read nutrition labels.