If there’s one thing that always annoys me about “˜teenager’ websites, it’s that they’re all the exact same. Very stereotypical and stereotyping. Patronising and “˜dumbed-down’. They also seem to only offer what older folk might assume would appeal to teenagers. Quite often, they miss the target completely.
What’s even more frustrating is when teenager websites have little or no value. Nothing we can take away from the experience there. Over the past few years, I’ve found three teenager website which have either helped me or have been recommended by friends and have heaps of value.
On the technical side of things, this website is just like any other forum. But the community and the content is much, much different. Instead of “˜Celebrity Gossip’ and other such superficial threads, realistic topics such as “˜Life Advice’, “˜Technology’, “˜Entertainment’ and of course your standard conversation area add depth to the discussions.
It’s run by a guy called Shane who is a teenager himself. Thus, he’s cut of all this excess fat which many other teenager sites deem to be ultra-important in the average teen’s life when in fact, they are not. Some people may be into that stuff, and that’s fine, but Teen Forums is aimed at your average, run-of-the-mill person who needs a forum with a very active community and great moderation.
This site has been running for a number of years and is held in a very high regard by many people. It’s nothing special to look at. In fact, it appears as though it was first designed in the 1990s and hasn’t been given a facelift since. However, it does have an active owner who takes questions from young people (and some older people as well) and answers them honestly on the site. He also has plenty of guides, tips and surveys on the site.
As you have probably assumed from the title of this teenager website, the main theme is sex and related issues. Because the website has been running for so long there is an enormous bank of previously answered questioned in reverse-chronological order. You can also submit your own via email. The site is divided into male and female sections and then divided further into sub-categories to address certain issues.
The guy who runs the site is a Christian and that does come into play. However, I’ll make it clear that he neither promotes his own faith or suppresses others. He merely addresses issues which some religious teenagers have which is understandable when it comes to sex, in a separate section of the site.
Overall, this site is probably one of the best resources in its genre. Others are less personal, biased or patronising. With Healthy Strokes, clear answers are given. Nothing more.
I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record here but it cannot be denied that many “˜glossy magazine’ style sites demean teenagers. That’s why I think Wire Tap Magazine is such an excellent website for teenagers who like to be informed, have opinions and read high-quality content about stuff that matter and more importantly, stuff that matters to them.
The website’s tagline, “Ideas and action for a new generation” pretty much sums up the whole website. Topics such as education, environment, immigration, racial justice, elections and lifestyle are all addressed in great detail by a team of analysts, columnists, reporters and writers.
You can also write for them yourself and be paid for the privilege. Their submissions guidelines are on the website and they actively encourage readers to submit stories and columns for publication. They also have a video section which is regularly updated with reports and case studies.
So there you have it! Three teenager websites that are in fact useful! Do you know of any other websites or web apps which are useful for teenagers? Jackson has some great suggestions in his article ‘Top 8 Things for Bored Teenagers to Do Online‘.
Image Attribution: ChuckP