There are a million stories on the naked Internet — and at least 100 times as many websites. How do you know which ones are safe for your kids?
Start with Common Sense Media, which has rated more than 1,000 sites for positive messages, privacy, safety, language and more. Here’s a small sampling of CSM’s top picks for kids from toddlers to teens.
Age 2 to 5
Forget the boob tube. Curious George, Thomas the Tank Engine, Clifford, Elmo and many more are waiting for your kids online.
For $8 a month, kids can access more than a dozen interactive math, science and language games that meet core curriculum standards adopted across the United States.
Create playlists of educational videos focusing on life and social skills, art and language, or math and science — no YouTube necessary.
Animated instruments teach your kids about music via games, videos and more.
Age 6 to 9
This low-tech site from the University of Illinois uses photos and narration to takes you on a nature walk. It’s the next best thing to living next to an old-growth forest.
Write and illustrate original stories using these free online tools, and then order them in hardback for $25 apiece.
Do you miss Schoolhouse Rock? You won’t after spending some time in Grammaropolis. Costs $4 a month or $20 a year.
An endless quiz that feeds families and your child’s curiosity at the same time. For every correct answer, the site donates 10 grains of rice to the U.N. World Food Program.
Age 10 to 13
Do your daughters think a career in engineering is a) boring, b) too difficult or c) just for guys? They won’t after visiting this site.
Fight social injustice and other real-life evils with this youth-oriented volunteer nonprofit. Muggles welcome.
Learn how to build websites from the ground up with this interactive programming tool, created by the brains behind the Firefox browser.
Your kids could toil for years in Hollywood hoping for their big break. Or they could sign up for Magisto and weave together mini-featurettes using photos and videos from their phones.
Those are just 12 of Common Sense Media’s picks that stood out for me. If you’re looking for more excellent sites that are safe for your kids, you can find plenty at Common Sense Media.
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