Connecting kids to great content is just as important as protecting them from the worst. And it turns out that some of the very best content for kids is what experts refer to as “pro-social” information — ways that kids can help others, work towards a good cause and see things from other people’s perspectives. Other forms of pro-social content include stories of people overcoming adversity and experiencing good things. How exactly does this benefit kids? Research has shown that exposure to pro-social content can improve kids’ moods, sleep and helpful behavior. Here are some of our favorite sites and apps to help others, join amazing causes and truly make a difference.
Free Rice isn’t just highly unique way to fuse learning with charity, it’s also pretty much impossible to resist. Game play is basic in the extreme: Select your topic (parents of younger kids can opt for vocabulary and multiplication tables; older kids can select SAT prep and chemistry). Multiple-choice questions are then generated. For every correct answer, the site’s sponsors donate 10 grains of rice to the U.N. World Food Programme. Users can see a bowl of rice fill up as they accrue right responses. Millions of grains of rice are donated every month through the site.
Looking to learn how to code while making a potentially huge difference? At Free Code Camp, older kids can learn to code while helping non-profits. The site has in-depth learning opportunities to learn code through interactive courses and tutorials, and while learning, kids can work on real world programming jobs for non-profits. Kids connect with a huge community of developers who have donated more than $1 million in pro-bono code to date.
Be My Eyes is an app that connects the blind and visually impaired with sighted helpers from around the world via live video connection. Sighted people can accept real-time requests from the blind to assist seeing things via their phone’s camera. Challenges include anything from knowing the expiration date on a carton of milk to navigating new surroundings. Volunteer helpers receive a notification for help and, if they accept, a live video connection is established.