Even though the Internet is full of cool websites, it can be boring if you don't know where to look. Teens who wish to add more entertainment to their online activity can find a large selection of social networking websites, places to play games and other sites based on their interests. Great websites can alleviate boredom and make online interactions fast and simple.
Sites for Girls
While there are lots of websites for teens, sometimes teen girls want to connect with other girls. These websites give girls a place to learn and talk about female health issues, relationships and subjects that most teen boys would run from.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Girlshealth.gov features health information for tween and teen girls. In addition to articles on health, fitness and nutrition, girls will also find quizzes, celebrity spotlights and videos with tips on topics such as bullying, relationships and planning for the future.
Girls looking for a place to hang out online will enjoy Girl Zone, a website designed to provide advice, entertainment and fun for teen girls. The highlight of the website is the multiple advice columns that focus on everything from general life issues and relationships to the Ask Ms. KnowBODY section for questions about health and body issues.
This initiative spearheaded by the United Nations Foundation seeks to empower girls around the world to become leaders. The website and foundation fund programs promoting the health, safety, education and leadership of girls around the globe and includes a community of over half a million youth and adult advocates. Through the website you can start a Girl Up club, learn how to fundraise for programming, learn about challenges faced by girls, read blogs and join the community to start chatting and helping.
Sites for Guys
While there are not a lot of sites designed for teen guys, there are a few websites that help boys conquer their boredom or discuss difficult topics from the comfort of their homes.
Young Men's Health
Boston Children's Hospital presents Young Men's Health, a website designed to provide information about teen health. Teen boys can ask questions or review the question of the week to find information on uncomfortable health issues. They can also browse in-depth health guides in categories ranging from health and fitness to emotional or sexual health.
Boys Under Attack
Boys Under Attack is a Christian-based website that helps teen boys learn about their bodies. The website promises straight talk about body parts and other issues. As a result, much of its language is sexually explicit. However, many boys may appreciate the straight-talk approach that gives an honest overview and healthy discussion of the issues they face.
Published by the Boy Scouts of America, Boys' Life magazine and the accompanying website provide fun, ideas and knowledge to boys from ages 7 to 18. Play games, read jokes and comics, learn about the latest outdoor gear, enter a contest or check out some awesome Eagle Scout projects. If you love the outdoors, this website is full of expert advice and outdoor hacks.
Sites for Socializing
Teens love to socialize. These websites give them a chance to do that virtually while playing games, exploring virtual worlds and taking polls and quizzes. Of course, while interacting with other teens virtually, teens also need to be safe online and report any cyber bullies or other predators.
Instagram allows teens to share snapshots of their daily lives and share them with friends. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that must be true because Instagram has around 300 million users who are active each month. The site is all about photos with short captions. You have to be at least 13 years old to create an account; the age limit may be high in some jurisdictions.
Habbo Hotel is a place for teens to come and chat. Each teen receives a personal room to decorate with virtual objects. They can also customize their avatars by dressing them in virtual clothes or create games to play with friends. The room might have music, be set up like a classroom, or have other features so the different avatars can visit one another. The rooms teens can interact in are staffed by adult moderators to make sure it stays safe.
Hosted by MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindergarten Program, Scratch is a place where teens program and share stories, games and animations they create. To join the free online community, teens only need to create a username and provide their country, age, gender and an email address. Check out the creations of others, then comment and chat about them, or make your own animation to share.
Teen Chat is a place for teens to interact with one another through forums geared toward their interests. For example, there are chat rooms for those who love anime, for single teens, and for those who've just started college. There are also chat rooms devoted to things like music, games and sports. Teens can try out the local rooms, which helps them meet people who live in their area. The site offers a "Friend Finder" tool that will help teens search for people they know who might be members as well.
Teens looking for other teens to talk with about problems or embarrassing questions can call, text, email or online chat with trained teenage volunteers through Teen Line. All lines of communication are open in the evenings to provide peer support to teens during after school hours. Every topic, from gender identity to divorce or depression, can be discussed with another teenager who understands where you're coming from. There are also tons of message boards for lighter topics like fashion and pop culture, health and fitness or homework help.
Vine is Twitter's video sharing site, but the videos are six seconds or less. As of 2014, 25 percent of US teens were using Vine while engaging on Twitter. These super short videos are a great way for teens to share slices of life with followers. The videos also loop so they are perfect for sharing those truly funny moments in life.
Games and Hobbies
There are websites for nearly every game and hobby out there.
Teens who love to read will enjoy TeenReads. The website features reviews of new and popular books for teens, along with polls, contests and places to discuss favorite books. Teens can also work their way through the "ultimate" reading list on the site.
Teen Nick fans will find information on the latest shows, as well as games, videos and quizzes through Teen Nick's website. While the site offers updates about Teen Nick shows, it also has features that interest teens such as surviving high school and back to school ideas.
The InSite is designed for teens who have an interest in improving the world. Teens can learn about social justice, building a positive self-image and helping the Earth. They can also submit artwork and writing or participate in discussions about making the world a better place.
Challenge You is a computer game design website. Teens can design games on the site or play games designed by other kids and teens. They can share their games with friends or participate in weekly game-building contests. There is also a chat room and a forum where site users can discuss game building and play.
For teens who are having trouble with homework, multiple sites offer help. They are also good sites to visit simply to brush up on skills.
Quiz Hub features quiz games for students, including teens in middle and high school. Teens can take quizzes to review subjects such as biology, U.S. history, middle school math and SAT vocabulary.
Web Math helps teens who are struggling with math find the answers to challenging questions. However, instead of simply providing answers, the website shows teens how to arrive at the answers they seek by providing step-by-step instructions.
TedEd features fun, animated lessons and how-to videos that help students learn about a variety of topics in just a few minutes. You can filter the videos by category such as Business & Economics, Health or Mathematics to find what you need. Most videos are about five minutes or less and explain a specific concept or answer a question like "Why Should You Read Macbeth?"
Teens who love fashion can find the latest fashions as well as create original fashions online. There are a number of sites that will appeal to those who enjoy this topic.
Alloy.com is a great site that incorporates clothing and quizzes. Everything from celebrity gossip to what stars are wearing is covered. There is even a specialty section for guys and men's fashions. The overall tone is sarcastic and youthful.
Stardoll features games that allow teens to express their fashion sense. Design outfits or play dress up games to experiment with different types of fashion. The company consistently produces new and exciting features like new fashion lines, as well as a host of ways to make the ultimate experience more exciting for teens and tweens. There is always something new going on at Stardoll.
Vogue is one of the top fashion magazines and Teen Vogue caters specifically to the teen audience. Check out the latest styles for teens or learn all about celebrity style. Teens can also enter to win shopping sprees.
Finding Cool Websites
What's cool with teens is constantly changing and new websites are created daily. Ask friends what websites they visit, search for hobbies or interests and bookmark favorite sites so they'll be easy to find later. It's important for teens to remember to stay safe online, especially when interacting with others.