13 December 2017

Christian websites for children

Do the children in your life shame you by showing you how to use your computer, mobile phone or iPhone apps? You’re not the only one! According to TechEye, a leading technology news website, more children aged between two and five can use a smartphone (19%) than can tie their own shoelaces (9%). We all know that children today are far more technologically proficient than we were at their age (probably because the concepts of web chatting, cyber surfing and online gaming hadn’t even been imagined then) and last year the National Literacy Trust in the UK confirmed that children are more likely to log on to a website for information than to pick up a book. With the growing popularity of the internet as a medium for learning, playing and communicating, we are thankfully being made very aware of the risks involved in children being online and the safety precautions that we can take to protect them. However, it is interesting to look at how the Christian community is harnessing the ever growing force that is the world wide web, to spread the Good News and reach out to our children. How can we use the internet as a means of helping children to get into the Bible?

Kidoz.net is a secular or general website from which children can access child friendly sites all over the world. In 2009 Kido’z, which gets approximately one thousand hits per week, released the top ten sites visited by children. Having given them all a try (and gotten distracted by the games!) I have found that what all of these sites have in common is that they are simple, bright, colourful and interactive. This is what our children are attracted to and this is what will therefore attract them to Christian sites.

To get children “into” Bible reading, we also need to know what attracts them to it . The reasons that we read God’s word are not the same as those of children. They are at a different stage of development and are learning through stories and through repetition. This is why children’s Bibles come in story book form, focussing on the Bible’s best known stories and characters such as Noah, Jonah, Moses, the apostles and Jesus. So what do Christian websites offer in terms of stories, simplicity, colourfulness and interactivity? Well firstly, they are not easy to find. When you put “Bible stories for children” into google the top five sites are aimed at Sunday school teachers and parents. Given that children ages five to nine average about twenty eight minutes online daily, and those aged nine to sixteen, about one hour daily, it is a pity that Christians in children’s entertainment seem much slower than those in the secular industry at employing the internet to reach their target market.

However, with a bit of digging I have found some fantastic, lively and appealing site out there with great Christian content.

My top five are as follows:

1. veggietales.com

Many of you will have heard of Veggie Tales as they are a DVD series of Bible stories, told by cartoon vegetables! This is a fantastic interactive website with games, videos, activities and stories. The stories are in book form and can be audio or silent so your child can read the book themselves.

2. mcgeeandme.com

You might remember the McGee and Me television series from the 80’s. The shows were about a young boy and his cartoon friend McGee and the life lessons that they learned together, such as sharing, being a good friend and other Biblical values. The website has some of these shows on it as well as loads of games and puzzles.

3. kidscorner.net

This website is based on a weekly radio show aimed at 6-12’s. The website contains all of the radio podcasts as well as Bible stories, activities and puzzles.

4. blazing-glory.com

This website tells Bible stories through comic books and also has crafts, worksheets and activities.

5. christiankidstop100.com

This website contains some of the sites I have mentioned above and many, many more. If you are looking for Bible focused sites for your kids to use I recommend it as it has a list of 100 websites rated by children. Given that one in five children in the UK say that they have gone without food or sleep to stay online lets see if we can’t encourage them towards good websites like these…

Rachel Browne