Your child wants to blog – is it a good idea?
I love to blog but what happens when my children want to follow my example?
So much of life happens on the internet. Our children are taught to use it at school and they see adults tweeting, using Facebook and Googling things at home. So perhaps it’s not surprising that some of them will ask if they can join the blog gang too.
When that day comes, what are you going to do? Should you let your son or daughter blog to their heart’s content, or do you tell them they can’t do it until they are old enough to vote, marry or go to a casino?
There is a school of thought that says they should be encouraged, it’s creative and it can’t do any harm. A couple of years ago the National Literacy Trust claimed that children who blog are “better writers”.
And there’s an American site called Kids Learn To Blog which is run by educator Dr Patricia Fioriello. She goes as far as saying that blogging should be on the curriculum.
Anything that gets them writing
She said: “Blogging as a teen will help students develop the tools that they will need to know to use the discussion boards that they will be required to utilize when they get to college. Writing in general is important for students. Any forum that encourages your students to write can also inspire them to expand their thought process and allow them to practice their grammar skills. Blogging in school is a way to get your students to write in a way they may find more accessible and enjoyable than writing on paper.”
However there are parents who believe that the internet in general and the blogosphere and its ilk specifically are no place for a child.
The gloves-off free-for-all requires maturity and a measured approach. @Ohmammy said: “I think it depends on the age and maturity. There is no way I would. Mine don't even have FB accounts.”
Sian To’s children Sonny and Biba have their own blogs and she was pleased to help them get set up. She said: “I firmly believe in teaching them how to safely use the internet rather than using blocking softwear and restricting their access.”
But not just as a teaching too, as a digital scrapbook. “Biba loves taking pics and can edit and upload them herself either straight from her ipod touch or if using her SLR and resizing in photoshop. She has recently started using instagram. I think her blog will be a great way for her to remember her childhood in years to come.”
Safety first on the internet
It’s clear that letting children roam the internet freely is never a good idea, but the web is here to stay, so it’s probably a good idea that they learn to use it properly.
Other parents agree, @sajatweet said: “I think I would (depending on age) but with controls and supervision it could be educational. I would be careful about images, names, locations and all contacts.
Ground rules for a baby blogger could include:
• Identity basics. Discuss what your child can and can’t disclose about themselves and why. It is probably a good idea to check each post before it is published, at least at first.
• Go password protected. Set up security so that your kid’s blog is only available to trusted friends and family.
• Monitor the blog.
• Talk to your child. Work on it together, there’s a lot to learn from blogging, but someone has to teach it.
The reality is that a child who wants to blog is probably social media savvy and will also want to get on with Facebook and even Twitter. Arguably a greater danger lies in unsupervised use of these forums.
So I’d say help them blog if they want to, but only if you’ve got the time, energy and know-how to help them to it safely.
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