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PBS KIDS® ONLINE UNVEILS A VARIETY OF NEW CONTENT GEARED TO SCHOOL-AGED KIDS

New Features Allow Web Surfers to Try Their Hands at TV Production, Learn the Tricks of Madison Avenue and How to Survive Being a 'Tween'

Alexandria, Virginia, April 15, 2002 - PBS Beginning today, PBS KIDS® Online -- one of the most popular children's Web sites in the world -- provides a host of new content, activities and games especially for kids ages 6-11, augmenting its existing online offerings for preschoolers. In addition to a new look for www.pbskids.org, the site will offer these slightly older visitors many new features, including the chance to create an on-air spot that will be seen by millions of PBS KIDS television viewers across the country.

As part of this relaunch, PBS KIDS Online also will throw open the curtains on Web-only sites addressing significant aspects of school-aged children's daily lives: 1) media, pop-culture and advertising in a site called "Don't Buy It" (www.pbskids.org/dontbuyit/); and 2) the social, emotional, and physical issues inherent in the lives of "tweens" in a site called "It's My Life" (www.pbskids.org/itsmylife/).

Featuring companion Web sites for PBS KIDS series, including ARTHUR, CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG, CYBERCHASE, DRAGON TALES, SESAME STREET AND ZOOM, PBS KIDS Online also will offer improvements for pre-readers, with one-click access to popular games, stories, music and coloring pages.

"In keeping with the PBS KIDS mission to address the needs of children ages 2-11, we've revised site navigation and content to better serve both preschoolers and school-aged kids," said Michelle Miller, director, PBS KIDS Interactive. "On-going feedback from kids played a major role in the changes we're rolling out today."

Among the features available on the new PBS KIDS Online:

  • "Get Real" offers a weekly poll connecting what kids see in a PBS KIDS television program with something in their real lives.
  • "Behind the Scenes" challenges kids to think critically about media, with "Get Your Web License," along with a new feature called "Make a Short." In that section, kids can learn about the animation process and contribute their ideas to help build an original PBS KIDS on-air spot. After collaborating on the characters, setting, storyboards and music, visitors may view each completed short online, with select spots airing on local PBS stations beginning this fall.
  • Leveraging kid-friendly Web resources related to primetime PBS programs such as Ken Burns's JAZZ, the "Did You Know?" area will stimulate kids' interest in learning facts about the world around them with a weekly quiz.
  • Integrated tune-in information and ties to on-air themes throughout the new PBS KIDS site will better connect Web users with what they experience on TV.

The new "Don't Buy It" site, from KCTS/Seattle, challenges kids to question advertising, evaluate media and become smart consumers. Using humor, games and clever advertising parodies, Don't Buy It "sells" media literacy to youth ages 9 to 12. The site helps kids learn about the modern media marketplace by showing them how to use the very same advertising tactics used by Madison Avenue. The site is available at www.pbskids.org/dontbuyit/.

Here, kids will be able to put ads in sneaky places, design cereal boxes, craft their own ad captions and more. Stories and quizzes reveal startling truths about the marketing of junk food and the pervasive commercial forces behind the selling of pop music and television. Banner parody ads demonstrate how misleading Web advertising and marketing tactics may be.

The "It's My Life" site, from Castleworks, Inc, 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/.

This site 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.

Don't Buy It and It's My Life are funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, as part of a $1.7 million effort to create educational Internet projects targeted at youth ages 9-12. (Separate press releases about both of these sites are available at www.pbs.org/news/.)

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, the leading dot-org Web site on the Internet.

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Contacts:
Kevin Dando, PBS
(703) 739-5073

Carol Snyder Dufault, PBS
(703) 739-5788



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