Want to know how lewd that PG-13 movie is before your teenager watches it? Are you ever at a loss recalling geography facts during your child’s homework time? Do you wonder what you can do to motivate your child to read? If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, you will find the websites below extremely useful. With Internet access right at our fingertips-either at home or at work-parents of today can retrieve a wealth of information in no time.
Kids in Mind (www.kids-in-mind.com)
It’s hard to determine what type of content your child will see when they sit in front of the big screen. Although movies are rated, many PG-13 films still include some profanity and violence. To get a more detailed account, visit Kids-In-Mind. This site rates movies in three different categories (profanity, sex/nudity, and violence/gore) on a scale of 1-10 and supports its ratings with a list of relevant instances. For example, the site gives Rush Hour 3 a 5 for violence and notes an instance where “A sniper takes position on a rooftop and shoots a man in the chest.” Kids-In-Mind arms parents with this information so they can feel at ease when dropping their children off at the nearest cinema.
Reading Is Fundamental (www.rif.org)
We know kids should read. However, we don’t always know how to get them to do it. Reading is Fundamental, or RIF, provides parents with information that can help their children read better and enjoy doing it. Just click on the Parents link and you will find strategies, categorized by age-group. RIF also provides reading check-up guides to identify the literacy-related tasks a child should be completing at his or her age. It can also help you choose books for your young readers. One of the most parent-friendly education sites, RIF is packed with information and resources.
CIA World Factbook (www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/)
Geography is usually difficult for us, let alone our children-memorizing a list of facts about countries all around the world. The World Factbook, provided by the Central Intelligence Agency, is a comprehensive list of facts and statistics about countries worldwide. The site provides information about each country’s geography, people, government, economy, and military. The CIA World Factbook even includes rankings of topics such as unemployment rate, AIDs-related deaths, and the number of Internet users per country. You may help your child use this site as a resource for social studies projects or use it on your own to prepare for questions, such as, “Where is Pakistan?”
NetSmartz Workshop (www.netsmartz.org)
Provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, NetSmartz Workshop is a great site for parents wanting to help protect their children from online sexual predators. Parents can learn more about the issues of online risks and access safety tips to prevent their children from online stalking and cyberbullying (harassment over the Internet). There are also links to children’s games and activities, teaching kids how to be more cautious of opening e-mail, chatting online, and creating a solid password.
Talking with Kids About Tough Issues (www.talkingwithkids.org)
More and more parents are talking to their children about sex, drugs, and alcohol at an early age. Talking with Kids About Tough Issues is a national initiative by Children Now and the Kaiser Family Foundation, promoting conversations between parents and their children about issues, such as drugs, sex, and violence. This site provides parents with strategies and downloadable booklets on how to talk to your kids about tough issues. It also provides additional websites related to these issues just in case parents need a refresher on some of the facts. Please note-children alone should not use this site to learn more about these topics.