According to a survey, over 6 million underage children write blogs with or without their parents’ knowledge. Blogging is particularly popular among children who see their parents blogging either professionally or personally. Should parents allow their children to blog? How can parents ensure their children are blogging in a safe manner?
What’s All the Fuss About?
Different blogging platforms have different age criteria for their users. A vast number of blogs written by children can be found through MySpace whose terms of service clearly state that anyone over 14 may start a blog through the service.
Unfortunately, there is also a large number of blogs written by children younger than 14 on MySpace, LiveJournal and through other blogging services and software programs. These kids simply lie about their age in the registration process.
Online safety is a big concern for most parents. Should children under 18 be allowed to blog at all? How can parents keep their blogging children safe online? Here we try to explore the benefits of blogging for children as well as a number of guideline to help parents keep their children safe in the blogging world.
Kids learn different Skills through Blogging
Blogging brings a number of Advantages to children, including:
- Improved writing skills
- Improved communication skills
- Improved social skills
- Improved Internet skills
- Improved computer and technical skills and knowledge
Online Safety guidelines for Kids
Use the following guidelines to ensure your child’s online activities are safe:
- Monitor the blog: Monitor your child’s blog on a regular basis. Read the content and comments, follow links, read friends’ blogs, and so on to get a full picture of your child’s online activity as it relates to the blog.
- Password protection and privacy: Find a blogging service that allows your child’s blog to be private and password-protected so only established, trusted friends can view it.
- Rules: Establish rules for blogging and online activities. For example, children should not use their full name, address, school name, personal photos, and so on online. In other words, personally identifiable information should be prohibited.
- Talk to your child: Take the time to discuss your child’s blog with him or her. Allow him or her to share what he or she is doing and learning technically and socially with you. As he or she shares his or her knowledge with you, take the time to share Internet safety tips (“street smarts”) with him or her. Make your child’s blog a shared experience. When in doubt, Google your child’s name to get a complete picture of his or her online activities.
- Screen the content: Screen what your child writes before he or she publishes it online and discuss potential problems with him or her.
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