CMC
Magazine

October 1996 http://www.december.com/cmc/mag/1996/oct/lapham.html


SPECIAL FOCUS: CMC AND EDUCATION

Kidnet: The Kid's Guide to Surfing Through Cyberspace
by Debra and Brad Schepp
HarperPerennial
ISBN 006273380X
$14

Kids in Cyberspace, Slightly Out of Focus

by Chris Lapham

The Good....

The Schepps have a sense of humor, and it shows in this book. (I particularly liked their subtle praise of Macs in the "Building Your Spaceship" chapter.) Their language is direct, and the vast amount of good information in this book is presented in a clear and accessible way. I was very impressed with their section on "Netiquette for Kids." It's the best part of the book. This cyber-savvy duo's advice ranges from the ultra pragmatic, "Don't type in all caps," to the extremely perceptive, "Be yourself--don't hide behind your computer monitor."

The Not So Good....

For whom was Kidnet written? Kids, parents, teachers? Perhaps all of the above. If this text has a flaw, it's a lack of focus. In attempting such a broad reach--both parents and kids especially--Kidnet fails to serve any one very well. I believe targeting a single audience--either kids or parents--would punch up the real power of this book, which is its depth of the research.

The Bottom Line.....

Kidnet is a useful text if you're looking for a broad, comprehensive look at what the Internet and various commercial online services offer school-age children. But if you've already been scouting around cyberspace--especially the Web--you might look for a more targeted and specific guide.

Chris Lapham (chris@lapham.com) is a contributing editor to CMC Magazine.

Copyright © 1996 by Chris Lapham. All Rights Reserved.


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