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 global social networking site doesn't pull any punches when it comes to discussing social and political issues. There are forums, chat rooms, message board, videos, information about local politics, and "channels" filled with news, debates, and resources dedicated to different causes such as violence, poverty, and religion. The content and discussions are frank and real which makes it a great place for activism-minded kids and young adults.
What's it about?
Many teens are passionate about changing the world, but don't know where to start. That's where YOUTHNOISE.COM -- a nonprofit social networking site devoted to global issues and activism -- comes in. Teenagers and young adults can learn about social activism, get involved with a cause, receive world news tailored to them and their interests, or just talk with others about issues they care about. The site's content is organized into 15 channels spanning religion, war, media, health, and more. Each topic page has links to outside organizations and articles, but the real draw is user-generated content. Users can communicate with others via blogs or message boards, where topics range from global relief efforts to war.
Is it any good?
The site is not for little kids, and sometimes not for the faint of heart. Real social issues are tackled with maturity and clarity, from sex education to child labor to terrorism. Youth correspondents known as CitiJos (citizen journalists), for instance, contribute content ranging from video interviews with local politicians to essays on the personal turned political, like one teen's struggle with intolerance of her homosexuality. Other site features offer not just information, but a call to action.
The amount of content offered on YouthNoise is staggering, and very little of it is filler, but tech-savvy budding activists should have no problem navigating through it, especially if they use the personalization features to drill down to their favorite causes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about each of the real issues that teens face that the site covers, from safe sex to environmentalism. Do you think you should have sex before getting married? How much should the minimum wage be? How does racial profiling contribute to terrorism? You can also talk to your kids about how they can use the resources on the site to become more involved citizens by turning their interests into actions.