Archive for Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Web Site helps kids navigate net

September 18, 2007


Your report on the solar system for science class is due - tomorrow! - and you are just getting started. You need information, and you need it fast.

The first place you might look is the Internet, but be careful. On one site you visit, a man says he was abducted by aliens at age 7. It might have happened, but should you include it in your report? How do you know if it's true?

A much better place to start looking for information is, a Web site created by the U.S. government to steer kids to other helpful sites on the Internet. Most of the sites linked to from are those of government agencies.

"We want (kids) to know that as they grow up they can use government information that is fun and useful in their everyday lives," said Martha Dorris, an official with the General Services Administration, which provides space and services for federal agencies and, sometimes, the public.

One of those services is The site has recently been updated to make it easier for kids to use and understand. Information is divided into three categories: for kids in kindergarten through grade 5, for grades 6 to 9, and for teachers.

All of the Web sites linked to have been reviewed by its staff to make sure the material is OK for kids to see. There are few ads to clutter your computer screen, and the material that's there doesn't slant toward a particular view.

A big plus for kids is that you can search by topic in addition to searching for one word or phrase. For example, if you Google "solar system," you get more than 35 million links. If you search for it by topic on, there are 21 links to sites including NASA's. (None confirms any alien abductions, by the way.)

Many of the sites also have games. Yes, they are educational games, but you might have some fun, and you won't be lying to your parents when you tell them you are working on that solar-system project.


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