There are more than 26 million federal, state and local government Web pages on the Internet, and many of them are geared for children. How do you find them? One ways is to check out FirstGov for Kids.

FirstGov for Kids is indeed a portal: a springboard to information of interest to children. FirstGov for Kids really doesn’t provide content; it simply gathers and organizes links, grouping them by subject.

Children who visit FirstGov for Kids will find about 20 different subject areas to launch them on their exploration of the Web. Subject areas include arts, government, money, safety and transportation.

When a visitor clicks on a subject area, like arts, the links fall into four general categories: government sites, organization sites, education sites and commercial sites.

FirstGov for Kids gives linking priority to government sites, though it does include some commercial sites, as stated above. However, the portal’s linking policy requires linked sites to be free from heavy advertising.

FirstGov for Kids, while maintaining privacy for the children it expects to visit, cannot vouch for the standards and practices of all its linked sites.

“Although many of the sites we link to must adhere to federal rules established to protect children’s privacy, please understand that not all sites have to comply with these rules,” reads the portal’s disclaimer. “While we have selected sites that we feel offer good, reliable information, we are not responsible for the content provided on these sites.”

FirstGov for Kids, however, seems to offer some top-notch links. Even a quick browse will remind any adult of the ocean of helpful sites out there for their children.

FirstGov for Kids also includes a Web treasure hunt, asking kids questions like: How many kinds of butterflies are there? How many national parks are in the United States? Answers to all of the questions in the hunt may be found using the links at FirstGov for Kids.

FirstGov for Kids was developed and is maintained by the Federal Citizen Information Center, which has answered citizens’ questions about government services since 1970.

Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for

Visit FirstGov for Kids at

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