It seems that every day we, as parents, are warned about the dangers facing teens on the Internet. Rare is it that you hear about a positive site aimed at these kids. I'm proud to have found one: TeenCentral (www.teencentral.net). This website is sponsored by KidsPeace, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children in crisis. It allows kids to post anonymously, was developed by experts in teen counseling and psychology, is professionally monitored, and provides “a password-protected, safe cyberspace for teens to work out their issues.”
Teens have a lot of options here: from writing their own stories (anonymously), to listening to teen podcasts, and exploring and learning about topics like:
- How To Quit Smoking
- Alcohol Awareness
- Growing Up Military
- Interfaith (where kids can learn about different faiths)
- Domestic Violence
- Dating Violence
- Weight Issues
One of the coolest features is the Search-O-Matic where young adults can search by a keyword. So, for example, if a teen types in the word “parents,” any teen stories that feature “parents” comes up. These could be stories about parents favoring one child over another, divorce, parents who promised music lessons but didn't follow through, etc.
Kids can also share videos on Teen Central, however they are warned that because the site values anonymously and safety, it will “not post any video that contains your actual name, where you live or any contact information such as email address or phone numbers.” Furthermore, they stress that “if you submit a video that you are visible in, people will see your face and therefore will be able to identify you.”
There's also a section called Just Ask Me that features a series of videos called “More Than Just Sex” and was created by Community Healthcare Network's Teens P.A.C.T. program in New York City. These videos are targeted to empower teens to make positive decisions, create social change, and positively impact the rates of teen pregnancy, STD's and HIV.
Lastly, the site features links to national and international help lines, thus ensuring that help for troubled teens is only a phone call away.
Kids can register on TeenCentral for free in order to gain full access to the entire site. Since it's interactive, it stores what they tell it and customizes topics to their life. BUT since it's totally anonymous, teens can feel free to share what's going on in their lives and because email addresses are not given, no one can track the kids down or spam them.
Pass this website’s address on to a teen you love. And if you'd like to learn more about KidsPeace, visit http://www.kidspeace.org.
Note: This article first appeared on the website www.thegeekparent.com. Visit me there!