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Pros: Stylish and inviting animations mixed with solid info make tough, oft-avoided topics more digestible.
Cons: The frank, irreverent content, sometimes wading into contentious topics, will prevent use in a lot of schools.
Bottom Line: This approachable and contemporary content can help teachers and caregivers field tough questions, but the firmly progressive approach could prevent use.
It's important to note that much of this website is geared toward adults rather than free exploration by students. Amaze was built as a resource hub to help parents, caregivers, and teachers support the young people in their lives as they navigate vital questions about growing up. The videos and accompanying discussion questions help adults find the words to address tough questions.
Teachers will need to talk to administrators to see if it'll work for their school community. The frank language and inclusive tone may not resonate well in a lot of school settings given the contentiousness around issues of sex and gender. That being said, there's a great range of videos here that could easily add to an existing sex-ed curriculum or be sent home to select parents and caregivers to structure family conversations. Teachers will want to browse the videos by subject area and pick the ones that add the most helpful insights and integrate them. Also take note of resources like Amaze Jr., which are aimed at helping parents and caregivers build comfort and confidence around discussing these topics with their kids.
Be sure to load videos directly from the site rather than from YouTube; on YouTube, the related videos that come up (especially for the titles that deal with sexual and adult content) are often inappropriate.
Amaze is a website featuring more than 200 videos and resource guides to help students learn about sex and gender, their changing bodies, and positive relationships. It was created by three health and sexual information advocacy groups, and serves as a destination for educators and caregivers to get resources and advice they can then deliver to young people. Amaze Jr. features videos for parents and caregivers of children ages 4–9. This content helps adults understand how to answer tough questions. The main Amaze website includes informational videos geared toward adolescents that can be shared by adults. Videos are animated, upbeat, and cheeky and wade into contemporary topics that a lot of other similar resources tend to dance around. Videos feature research-backed approaches to discussing sex ed, like using the correct terms for body parts and a no-nonsense explanation of how babies are made. They also dig into politically and culturally contentious issues like gender identity from a progressive viewpoint. Registration isn't required, although adults can register to receive email updates and newsletters. Teachers can find lesson plans for each video, and all adults can use the site to access discussion questions they can use in conversations with young people.
The experts who developed this content have made cautious, deliberate choices in their language. Even though the tone feels breezy and casual, the content on Amaze is thoughtful. It models a down-to-earth approach that could be of a big benefit to schools or family relationships; however, it could be a tough tone to bring to a classroom given the political and cultural temperature in schools. For those that might have the right classroom environment for these videos, it's easy to find what you need due to the topic-based tagging and great coverage of core concerns and questions. There's no age filter, but that's not a huge issue since adults will want to review all content and decide what's appropriate.
Overall, Amaze's content stands out for its high quality and excellent tone. While the messages are serious -- especially in the videos about consent and mental health -- the approach is consistently friendly and approachable. It's also contemporary, diving into issues of gender identity and online porn. However, these topics in particular, and the progressive approach to them, will likely spark debate in many school communities.
That said, the underlying themes of the content are clear and, one would hope, not controversial: safety and knowledge, self-determination, sound decision-making, bodily autonomy, pride, respect, consent, and joy. Those themes get repeated consistently, and they never seem repetitive or insincere. These videos do an excellent job of taking the scary out of sex ed, and they're a worthy tool for helping adolescents navigate the tough waters of middle school and junior high.