Terms of Use — How Much Can You Read?

I often write about parent-child conversations. We parents initiate these chats all the time, concentrating on this issue or that, and encouraging our children to participate, respond, or even disagree. When the talks focus on digital issues they can be enjoyable or arduous, or anything in-between. The fun but still educational conversations, however, only come along from time-to-time.

So the other day, when I read a posting by Linda Criddle over at the I look Both Ways blog, I became excited because kids will love the discussion on this topic — whether at home or school — and they will learn a lot in the process.

Criddle described her experience examining terms of use documents posted on well-known and popular websites. She looked over the terms of use documents for the sites such as the New York Times, Amazon, iPhone, Club Penguin. Then she ran each document through a readability index — a tool that examines a passage and estimates how easy or hard it will be for a person to read the words, as well as what level of education the reader might need to comprehend the information.

The results of Linda’s terms of use adventure are posted at I Look Both Ways blog, Read, discover, and then enjoy a thoughtful but lighthearted family discussion. Here’s a quick preview.

Why on earth would Club Penguin’s terms of use have a first year in college readability level or Amazon’s a third year?  Kids LOVE  to identify , think about, and discuss discrepancies. As a result, much later they will still remember the context of the conversations.

Have fun!

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