Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Boys' Life

Boys' Life

Fall 2013 Website
Ages: 7 - 17 yrs.

Talk about busy! Looks like Boy Scouts of America is working overtime these days if the adventuresome and, lately, headline-making organization's official website is any indication. Their website's homepage is so jam-packed and action-filled, it's hard to know where to start describing it.

Several distractions (animations, flashy banner ads) may appeal to energetic boys but overwhelm parents. For example, there is the eye-catching zone where the Boy Scouts link to several pages that digitally mirror sections of the Boys' Life magazine-among them, Pedro's Joke-O-Matic; an About Scouts link that connects to updates about scouting events across the country; and a digital peek into the upcoming issue of Boys Life magazine.

In addition, there's a variety of cool stuff to explore, including the Photo of the Day pages filled with photography from Scouting trips, and a Video & Audio section that screens everything from Hurricane Hunters videos to tutorials for making do-it-yourself fitness equipment. Boys' Life also has a side-scrolling Hot List of video games, funny captions, contests, Scout Jamboree updates, and-would a Scout site be a Scout site without this?-a how-to-start-a-fire-without-matches video!

Other interactive content includes a Games Guru chat for curious video game players, an oddball news segment called Head's Up, and an Ask the Gear Guy column about new and cool Scout products.

Parents should be aware that there are commercial promotions on this site, some outright ads and others less blatant, such as the Simon & Schuster book giveaway contest. That said, the commercialism is hardly over the top here.

The Boys' Life website deserves a Merit Badge for presenting a high-adrenaline, activity-filled destination about scouting and the kinds of things that fascinate Scouts-and it might even light a fire for other kids, 'tweens and teens who would be Scouts.

Don Oldenburg   ©2013 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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