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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Zeega is a website that creative teens can use to put together blips of multimedia content, expressing themselves through text and moving images. It's a lot of fun. Some Zeegas play like short art films; others are just plain silly. The website is best for mature teens interested in how to use media to send a message. Here's why: though the majority of Zeegas are cool and experimental, there's no way to filter out inappropriate content, and many of the pre-made GIFs are violent or sexual in nature. Also, a scrolling screen filled with herky-jerky GIFs can be overwhelming for younger kids, and the content may be above their heads or just plain inappropriate.
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What's it about?
Zeega is a website that lets you "mash up" various types of online content -- including images, GIFs, and music -- to create your own piece of original media. What's a GIF? Basically it's a file that can contain a very short animation or video, and GIFs are often used online to express a feeling visually (think the classic "dancing baby" or the currently popular Nyan Cat, a pixelated cat flying through the air on a Pop-Tart). You can drag and drop popular GIFs from the daily favorites menu on the left side of the screen, pull from other aggregators such as Gifhy or Tumblr, or upload your own. Then you can add text and color filters and adjust opacity to layer images. Click the red cloud to search Soundcloud for a song; they've got everything from David Bowie to Bing Crosby to the Notorious B.I.G. Each Zeega is saved in your profile and can be shared through social media.
Is it any good?
Adding layer upon layer of moving images can get pretty trippy, but it's really fun. Mix a '60s-era Twiggy eating an apple in front of a sad clown with a sleepy kitten, or overlay a Jack Kerouac quote on a Mos Def soundtrack, and you've just scratched the surface of options. You can also create more straightforward content -- think I Can Has Cheezburger-type memes. The comic book-style text bubbles help kids easily follow steps to complete a Zeega. More and more, people seem to be communicating online with short bursts of images and text to express a feeling or an idea. Tumblr can be a hotbed of racy content, and it's not filtered for kid-friendliness at all.
The random bank of content found in Tumblr or Zeega's favorites lends itself well to kooky, fun creation but not so much to learning. Technically, it would be nice if you didn't have to play Zeegas frame by frame; an autoplay function would create a more seamless experience.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Subjects: Social Studies: cultural understanding, events
Language & Reading: following directions, presenting to others, storytelling
Arts: film, music
- Skills: Tech Skills: digital creation, social media, using and applying technology
Creativity: combining knowledge, imagination, producing new content
Thinking & Reasoning: collecting data, part-whole relationships
Communication: multiple forms of expression
- Genre: Creating
- Pricing structure: Free