"It is OK for William to be signed up with you. You seem to have a lot of neat stuff for kids. Thanks for informing me of his participation. It's nice to know that there are companies who care about what the parents think." - Mr. M.N. (Ohio)
The introduction of digital media into the home provided parents with a clear realization that today's tech-savvy generation of children are light years ahead of their parents when it comes to new-media.
The team at MaMaMedia realized a critical need to help these 21st-century parents "catch up" with their children. Moreover, we wanted parents to realize that good parenting in 21st Century must include the Internet. We wanted to help them find out what is available on MaMaMedia.com and the Web in general, so they could surf and explore the value of the Internet alongside their children, instead of being intimidated and negative. Our goal was to create the new-generation's Saturday Morning parent-child activities.
In 1998, the MaMaMedia team launched a companion mini-site to MaMaMedia.com called MaMaMedia Grown-Ups. It was the first-ever companion site devoted to teaching parents and families that web experiences for kids should be creative and expressive, about 'learning by doing.' We positioned Internet uses as constructive environments for multidimensional play with technology -- rather than confined to information and searches, receiving linear stories from content providers, or using technology for questions and answers (today's kids consider that boring). It quickly became a resource for families wanting to explore the Internet together - MaMaMedia style. 250,000 parents joined.
The MaMaMedia Grown-Ups site was designed to encourage parents to develop an understanding about a new fundamental set of new-media literacy skills, called the three X's -- eXploration, eXpression, and eXchange of ideas and creations -- with digital media technology and digital tools. For example, parents can make their own digital cards called E-Hugs, and send them to their kids, or take their kids on "virtual field trips" on the MaMaMedia ROMP channel. Parents and their children can play various Webtivities, and also make digital creatures in ZAP, called DigSigs; visit SURPRISE to create stories in What's The Story? and design and animate cartoons in Frame That 'Toon; go to BUZZ to publish digital art in the Galleries or Vote in the Polls. The links to kid-activities on the Grown-Ups mini-site offer a suggested age level and a learning value.
MaMaMedia Grown-Ups site also provides information and guidance about Internet Safety thorough a Web Safety Center, and a series of 21st Century Learning Articles written by Dr. Harel and Prof. Papert about key topics related to the convergence of kids, technology and learning. The articles and the mini-site were designed to teach parents that good Internet learning tools are just like a paintbrush or building blocks, and to encourage parents to provide kids with the tools to design and create their own digital media, publish it online, and inspire them to play and learn online with their children by exploring in a safe environment, expressing themselves, and exchanging their own ideas.
Here is what some parents have said about MaMaMedia.com:
Mrs. J.S. (New York): "Thank you for your website that promotes child safety and encourages parental control. I personally wish all websites and originators were as trustworthy as you."
Mrs. M.S. (Canada): "Thank you for letting my child be a member of MaMaMedia. She seems to enjoy it. She says that she's checking her e-mail and when she gets done she almost always goes to your dazzling site. Thank you again. It is very nice to know that she is interested in so much in your site."
Mr. J.M. (England): "Thank you for your concern with our children. I really do appreciate having a company that looks out for the best interest of our kids. We really appreciate it."
Mrs. D.R. (California): "I would like to thank you for informing me of my child's involvement in your website. After exploring it together, I gave him permission and assisted him in registration. For many children, however, parents may not be aware of their kid's online activity. Your level of responsibility in the operation of your site shows integrity, a quality that is all too rare in the media today. MaMaMedia could serve as an excellent model for others whose ventures play a role in influencing our children. Thank you for taking that role seriously, and congratulations on a great website!"
Mrs. T.A. (North Carolina): "My daughter loves your web site. She uses it ALL the time. She especially loves to make art and send it to me. Keep up the good work."