"It's My Life" Launches on PBS Kids Online
New Site Helps "Tweens" Explore Crucial Real-Life Issues
ALEXANDRIA, VA (April 15, 2002) - It's My Life, an innovative new Web site on PBS KIDS® Online, offers visitors age 9 to 12 a much-needed resource for information, community, and interactivity related to the social, emotional, and physical issues that most affect them. The site is available at www.pbskids.org/itsmylife/.
There are approximately 16 million "tweens" in the U.S. today. According to a September 2001 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 4 out of 5 of them spend time online. However, among the countless sites offering children homework help, chat, games, and information about TV, movies, and music, there is almost nothing on the Web addressing the biggest activity of them all: real life. It's My Life plans to fill that gap. The launch of It's My Life coincides with the launch of the re-designed and expanded PBS KIDS site at www.pbskids.org/.
"There's a lot going on in the years between 9 and 12," says Jennifer Castle, executive producer of It's My Life. "This is the time that they really struggle with issues like relationships and social skills, self-esteem, ethical choices, and a rapidly changing body." Recent studies also show that kids this age are increasingly faced with problems more often associated with older teens, such as eating disorders, sex, drug abuse, and depression. Adds Castle: "What we've found is that tweens recognize all the challenges out there, and are hungry to learn how to deal with them."
It's My Life is a safe yet fun place for kids to explore a wide variety of topics, from handling divorce to getting teased by bullies; from fighting with friends to learning about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and smoking; from depression and grief to dealing with a pesky younger sibling. When tweens go to It's My Life, they'll be able to read stories, watch video clips of other kids talking about their feelings and experiences, play games and offline activities, take quizzes and polls, get advice from older teen "Mentors" and experts, and contribute their own comments and questions. It's My Life will also feature interviews with celebrities about their own experiences with the tween years. The site emphasizes solutions, communication, and empowerment -- with just the right amount of humor thrown in.
It's My Life is organized across three content "channels": "Family," "Friends," and "School." Two additional channels, "Body" and "Mind," will be added during Summer 2002. Also available is a section for parents and teachers, featuring "Quick Discussion Guides" to help caregivers explore the It's My Life topics with children.
It's My Life is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's "Where Fun And Learning Click" initiative, a $1.7 million effort to create educational Internet projects targeted at youth ages 9-12.
Cheryl Williams, CPB vice president for education, said public broadcasting is uniquely positioned to provide Web content that educates children, rather than markets products to them. "Parents and educators can trust these sites to be safe havens where children can learn, share ideas and have fun," she said.
The site is produced by CastleWorks, Inc. in partnership with BlueWire Interactive, a Web design firm specializing in Web content for young people.
About CastleWorks, Inc.
CastleWorks, Inc. is best known for producing In the Mix, the long-running and award-winning teen documentary series airing nationally on PBS. For the past seven years, In the Mix has tackled the issues most relevant to today's young people, including drug abuse, alcohol, smoking, sex, depression, self-image, gun violence, media literacy, and the events of September 11. CastleWorks, Inc. also produces the series' award-winning companion website at www.pbs.org/mix.
PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 349 public television stations. Serving nearly 90 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at PBS.org
CPB, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, develops public radio, television and online services for the American people. The Corporation is the industry's largest single source of funds for national public television and radio program development and production. CPB, a grantmaking organization, funds more than 1,000 public radio and television stations. More information about the "Where Fun and Learning Click" initiative is available at www.cpb.org/ed/5sites.
# # #
Kevin Dando, PBS
Jennifer Castle, CastleWorks, Inc.