Health Websites for Children
Thanks to the convenience and marketing appeal of junk food, electronics, and social media temptations, our children are not getting the nutrition and exercise needed for healthy minds and strong bodies. Many health organizations have responded by providing websites for children that are filled with educational games, videos, music, puzzles, and interactive activities.
Kids discover online health and safety tips regarding allergies, asthma, arthritis, chemical safety, disabled, drinking water, rabies, safe sun habits, and even head lice! With names like “The Yuckiest Site on the Internet,” how could a child (or adult) resist?
“First there was mud. Then there were worms. And now there is Yucky! Test your skills with Whack-A-Roach. All you need to know about barfing, belching, and blackheads!” explains the home page of The Yuckiest Site on the Internet. Visitors learn while exploring Toxic Waste, Your Gross and Cool Body, as well as other games and articles on this Discovery Kids website.
Health education has been cleverly slipped into what seems like regular interactive entertainment for kids. In fact, emotional, physical, social, and behavioral issues are woven into the material on kids’ websites. Many governmental sites have joined the movement. These groups include the American Heart Association, the Office Women’s Health, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Catchy titles appeal such as “What am I really drinking?” and “The Best Bones Forever!” appeal to youngsters.
Because obesity is a growing epidemic affecting our children, many kids’ websites such as Food Champs, Small Step Kids, and Nourish Interactive, offer activities that highlight the benefits of healthy food choices.
Girls have unique health concerns and this site provides information on everything from relationships to bullying and from menstruation to substance abuse. Girls have questions about their bodies as they grow and mature and several sites address their physical and emotional concerns. These sites include GoGirlGo!, Girls Health, and Girlshealth.gov: Be Happy. Be healthy. Be You. Beautiful.
Personal hygiene is in the spotlight on Scrub Club where visitors get to navigate around the salmonella, flu, bacteria “villains” along their playful journey.
Children sharing with children is what Coping Club is all about. Families can learn how others deal with cancer, diabetes, chronic diseases, and other conditions. Those who want to contribute their own experiences are able to submit a video to help others.
And it’s not just children that are addressed on these sites. Adolescents are, too, with sites like “BAM! Body and Mind” which appeals to 9-13-year-olds by using comic strip graphics. KidsHealth and TeenHealth sites provide doctor-approved articles, animations, games, and resources to help kids learn more about their bodies and maintain healthy lifestyles.
One of the long-time family stations, PBS, has joined the quest to bring health awareness to children and their families. They’ve designed a PBS Kids site filled with activities and video programming. For example, “Lunch-O-Matic” allows kids to select items from the display to meet the ingredient demand such as vitamin C, calcium, protein, or carbohydrates.
Visitors to PBS Kids can navigate through “Germinator” to get the germ into the mouth, dodging spit creatures that can trap the germ and mouthwash that destroys the germs. Once through the mouth, the player advances to the next level where he must get the germ through the bloodstream to infect the lungs. The game continues, introducing antibodies, B cells, macrophages, and killer T Cells.
PBS Kids encourages parents and teachers to preview all websites for children. Help your child surf the web to discover which kids’ websites appeal to them. Engage your child in a discussion about what they are learning. You may just learn something, too.