Star Rating: 5/5
Run by: The charity YouthNet UK which created TheSite.org in 1997.
Who is it for: It offers advice and support to young people.
Highlights: The site has had an official relaunch this year, but is another online agony aunt really what the youth of today needs?
After just a couple of minutes, it becomes obvious that this site isn’t targeted just at teens with bad skin and unrequited crushes: there is information on all kinds of topics. Help comes in the form of fact-pages, expert advisors and chat forums for any peer-to-peer discussion. The phrase ‘expert advisor’ suggests a preaching traditionalist, but we were surprised at how honest and open-minded they seem on this site. There’s a distinct sense of respect for young people, and an acknowledgment of the pressures we now face, and that’s what makes TheSite.org that bit different from so many other youth targeted schemes.
There are clearly titled links to the different sections, including sex and relationships, which gives useful, down-to-earth advice on safe sex, S.T.I’s, pregnancy, enjoying sex and not having sex at all as well as help on relationships with friends, family, boy/girlfriends and how to cope with being single. The drink and drugs section includes advice on giving up smoking, drugs and the law, and safe drinking, the health and well being section covers both physical and mental health; Home and Money counsels on problems with landlords, managing your money and buying food, all of which must be hugely welcome for young people dealing with those kind of problems. Then there was work and studies, with suggestions on how to balance your work and your life, and help on essay writing.
Finally a travel and free time section that runs through the various options for gap years, and information on youth hostels around Britain.
If there was one piece of advice we would give to the nice people at askthesite it would be to create a section dealing with parent problems – arguments, parents being ill, splitting up or dealing with the grief that follows the loss of parent. Apart from that YouthnetUK and its collaborators Brook, bss, CAB, The Samaritans, Sane and Shelter, along with all the writers and experts that supplied the advice, have succeeded in creating a good, and helpful site for any young person who gives it a chance.
Ellen Rickford, 16, and Sophie Robinson, 17.