Putting Money Where Your Mouse Is: Slick CBC web site teaches teens about the importance of consumer awareness.

By Alex Beckett

Street Cents, the CBC’s Gemini and International Emmy-award winning consumer advocacy television program for teens, has a web site that, despite some annoying flaws, is still a worthwhile destination for teenage students learning about managing financial resources or media literacy.

The Street Cents TV show and web site concentrate on debunking spurious marketing claims, specifically those made by companies that market primarily to young people. The TV show’s forte is the Street Test in which teens test products in real world situations and then judge the products as representing good value or not.

The value of the Street Cents web site is that it archives these test results, as well as other editorial content re-purposed from the show, including some pretty funny commercial reviews, and presents them in an authentically funky web format. A black background, numerous video clips from the actual show and a vaguely subversive design effectively convince anyone much over 20 that they’re not invited to this corporation-bashing party.

Another beef is that the product reviews, and almost all other features, are organized by which TV episode they appeared in. If you know, or suspect that the show has reviewed a specific category of product or service, you have to plod through the pages devoted to each episode to find what you’re looking for. For instance, if you heard the show discussed acne cream sometime recently, you’d have to know the information is in the page devoted to episode one. This represents a very limited view of what teens might want to use the site for.


A new web site from the Ontario Parent Council has been launched to help parents, principals, school boards and student council representatives.

The bilingual site’s primary purpose is to act as a gateway to related online resources, but it also provides commentary on education issues in Ontario as well as news and other information pertinent to parents and educators.

Currently the well-designed site features links to about 400 sites including parent organizations inside and outside Ontario, the Ministry of Education, other governmental and education organizations as well as school councils and school boards, and the links section is expected to grow. There are also Ontario Parent Council annual reports dating back to 1993.

Alex Beckett is the new web site editor at the Ontario College of Teachers. He can be reached at abeckett@oct.ca.

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