How to Find the Best of the Web
on Parenting and Child Behavior and Development
The Internet is an amazing resource for parents. A world of parenting information is just a search engine away! But it’s easy to become lost and confused—there are just so many Web sites out there. How do you know if you can trust what you read? Anyone can publish anything on the World Wide Web. There’s no quality control. Many sites are pushing an agenda, and others are trying to sell a product. Some are just plain wrong.
If you can’t find what you need to know here on YourChild, arm yourself with some tools to go out and tackle the ‘Net. Start by reading this Boston Globe article by Barbara Meltz, Parents Want Answers? Surf the Web with Some Skepticism. The article covers some of the potential pitfalls of surfing the ‘Net as a parent.
Below are our picks for the most trustworthy sites on the Web for the information you need as a parent.
Whenever you can, make these sites your starting points as you begin your search:
- The Child & Family WebGuide, based at Tufts University, reviews and rates Web pages in the areas of family/parenting, education/learning, typical child development, health/mental health, and resources/recreation. You can browse by topic area or by age group, and can search the site. Recommended sites may be either for parents or professionals. Using the WebGuide is a key way to ensure you are getting valid parenting information that has passed the rigorous scrutiny of child development professionals.
- Kidshealth has three content areas aimed specifically at parents, teens and kids. The information is clear and current, and presented with appealing graphics.
- Many KidsHealth articles are available in Spanish.
- Kids and teens get lots of their health information from the Web—especially on topics they’re embarrassed to talk to their parents or doctor about. Point them toward the teens and kids areas of Kidshealth, so you know they’re getting accurate and useful health information. Many articles are also available in Spanish for teens and kids.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics offers a great site called healthy children that offers a whole range of articles for parents of children in stages from prenatal to young adult. The AAP's news releases and policy statements contain useful, research-based information pertaining to parents and children.
- The Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) Digests are short reports on topics of prime current interest in education. They are targeted at educators, but can be very useful to parents, as well. The Digests provide an overview of information on a given topic, plus references to items providing more detailed information. Experts and specialists in the field review the content. To search the database of ERIC Digests, use the advanced search page, and under “Publication Type(s):” scroll down to check the box for “ERIC Digests”, and then type in your search keywords at the top.
- The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) is the national information center that provides information on disabilities and disability-related issues. Anyone can use the center’s services, which include bilingual (English and Spanish) telephone help. NICHCY’s focus is children and youth—birth to age 22. The website also has Spanish language resources. NICHCY’s site includes information about:
- Specific disabilities
- Special education and related services for children in school
- Individualized education programs
- Parent materials
- Disability organizations
- Education rights and what the law requires
- Early intervention services for infants and toddlers
- Transition to adult life
- Zero to Three is a national, nonprofit organization that is dedicated solely to advancing the healthy development of babies and young children. The section of their website for parents has lots of great tips for parents of young children, including information about brain development, child care and special needs. You may need to register and log in to access some resources.
- CYFERnet (The Child, Youth and Families Education and Research Network) is a national network of Land Grant university faculty and county Extension educators that brings together excellent children, youth and family resources. On their website, you can browse topics by age-group (see the purple navigation bar) or search for information on a specific topic of interest. The site provides access to information for parents, educators, and communities, as well as a listing of Spanish language resources.
- The New York University Child Study Center offers articles on many parenting and mental health topics, and an A to Z Disorder Guide. Some articles are written more for professionals, but there is much here for parents. You can browse or search the site without difficulty.
- Medline Plus is an amazing resource. It is a service of the National Library of Medicine, and includes health topics, interactive health tutorials, medical encyclopedias and dictionaries, information about medications, directories of health care providers, and news, articles, online publications and databases, and organizations. It’s easy to search and fun to browse. Below are some of the topic areas of interest to us:
- The National Institute of Mental Health has a page on Child and Adolescent Mental Health. From here, you can find out about many mental health problems of childhood. Some topics include easy-reading brochures, and some include very comprehensive booklets you can download.
Compiled by Kyla Boyse, RN.
Reviewed by faculty and staff at the University of Michigan.
Updated November 2010
U-M Health System Related Sites:
C.S. Mott National Poll on Children's Health:
"ePediatrics": Parents Want More Communication with Their Kids'Doctors