My five-year-old says she has two brains. A girl brain named Sarah on the right side and Michael, a boy brain on the left. With no comment on which is the creative one, I put Sarah and Michael to task reviewing youth oriented web sites. Granted, at five, my daughter is still too young to find these sites with no help – but Amy is my little expert on content.
The web contains literally thousands of sites written by folks who would love your kids to visit them. The motive is money. The kid market is huge and the web is a favorite medium for kids from families with disposable income. Case in point: (www.mercuryrecords.com/mercury/artists/hanson/). Basically a computer generated commercial for the youth music group Hanson, this is Mercury Records way of getting your kids to buy more product. (i.e., Call MTV and your local radio stations to request they play Hanson’s new single, “I Will Come To You”) Amy’s rating: Stupendous boring.
A whole level above crass commercial sites like the one for Hanson is Kids @ National Geographic dot com (www.nationalgeographic.com/kids/). It’s literally a gateway to world, aimed at educating grade-school-age children. Amy’s rating: Fantastic, but needs more pictures of animals. (It IS geared more for the 8-12 year-old eager to take geography quizzes)
Another sure bet is Tidewater Parent Magazine on-line at (www.family.com/Local/tide/). This is the local edition of Family dot com. From Canada to Key West, this site gives useful information to parents and lists local activities. Family dot com is also directly linked to Amy’s all time highest rated destination, Disney dot com (www.disney.com). If you’ve never seen Disney’s web site, do it today! Even if you’re not a parent who can resist those cute little toons!
While waiting for dad to finish this particular column Amy is having a discussion with Sarah and Michael. They all agree it’s time to go to the playground.