Wikipedia:Advice for parents

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This page offers useful advice for your family

Simple English Wikipedia is one of the Wikipedia encyclopedias, written in Simple English.[1] Articles in the Simple English Wikipedia use fewer words and easier grammar than the English Wikipedia. The Simple English Wikipedia is also for people with different needs, such as students, children, and adults who quite often find it hard to learn and people who are trying to learn English. Other people use the Simple English Wikipedia because the simple language helps them understand difficult ideas or topics they do not know about.

Wikipedia aims to offer "the sum of all human knowledge" which is legal to copy, change and share, at no cost. We hope you will find huge educational value within this project. Among our thousands of articles, you will find many about all areas of study. No encyclopedia should be the end of research, however, and we hope you'll find our articles useful guides for more study across a whole range of subjects.

The Simple English Wikipedia can be changed by anyone and everyone. Both mistakes and vandalism are problems that the project has to deal with every day. There are a number of safeguards in place. These include encouraging editors to cite reliable sources, as well as recent changes patrolling for vandalism.

This page is intended to help you consider the best way to allow either your children, or children you are responsible for, to use the Simple English Wikipedia safely and enjoyably.

Wikipedia content[change source]

Wikipedia is not censored, which means that in relevant areas throughout the site, you will find possibly distressing content and pictures showing subjects like sex in context. Such material is only a very small part of the many articles here. It is possible to — set up Wikipedia to not display images. Editors range widely in both age and cultural background, and as such, there may also some offensive language at times.

Pages which are normally suitable for children to use may be vandalized with rude words or content which may be offensive. Vandalism is normally noticed and removed within a few minutes, if not seconds (via the recent changes function); but sometimes it can remain unnoticed for days, and even if not, someone will have to see it before it can be removed, and this could be anyone.

A vetted selection of articles[change source]

You may also be interested in another independent project, the Schools' Wikipedia — a specific selection of about 5,500 articles from the English Wikipedia, suitable for school children, which has been checked and edited for this audience. It contains about the equivalent content of a 20-volume encyclopedia organized around school curriculum subjects, and is available online and as a free download.

Wikipedia community[change source]

Wikipedia does not have a "working with children" check on editors. It is possible for any editor to communicate with each other either on the wiki, or by email if the editor has an email account registered with Wikipedia. This communication may not be monitored by other Wikipedia editors. We strongly advise all editors not to give out private information such as full contact details. Personal information or contact details can be removed by Oversight, a form of extreme deletion that removes material from the database.

Most communication on the Simple English Wikipedia takes place in an open, public, reviewable manner (even personal "talk page" messages can be read by anybody). Note, however, that unlike some sites directed towards youth, Wikipedia does not have staff to patrol discussion pages or remove inappropriate comments. All administrators are volunteers, who may block people breaking rules, but who will not censor conversations, even if they deal with adult topics.

Children and their parents must understand that any person, no matter how well- or ill-motivated, is free to join the project. While some child-focused online communities will remove members who are found/suspected of being dangerous towards children in the "real/offline" world, Wikipedia does not, as a rule, make users reveal their real identities, and cannot remove them according to anything that concerns identity, including criminal or sex-offender records. A child, or anyone else, should never assume that if somebody has an account on Wikipedia, then they're safe to meet in person. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia project, not a social networking web site. Common sense must be used, and in particular it must be remembered that anyone can pass themselves off as anyone on the Internet.

Wikipedia will block the accounts of any users who appear to be using the site for inappropriate purposes, such as trying to form or legitimize relationships with children. For advice on what to do if such behavior is observed, please contact a bureaucrat or administrator.

Related pages[change source]

Other websites[change source]

References[change source]

  1. Tim Dowling (January 14, 2008). "Wikipedia too long-winded for you? Try the simple version". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-05-17.