Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Would you let your child blog?

At one of the blogs I read regularly, Modern Mrs. Darcy, Anne recently posed a question. Her 7-year-old daughter, who is homeschooled, loves to write. She sees her mom blogging. So she asked for a blog for her birthday. Should she get one?

On the one hand, blogging is a great way to practice writing. There’s also some evidence that people take writing more seriously when they know there’s a big audience (no kidding!) I’d add as a side benefit that many of us need a digital platform these days for whatever aspect of Brand You we’re promoting later in life. Building a blog readership is hard and takes time. Imagine if you started at age 7!

But, of course, there are downsides too. A blog takes a lot of time...for the parent, who will have to monitor what the child posts (e.g. not your home address), moderate all comments before the kid sees them, and so forth. There’s always the chance that a child will write things she’ll later wish she hadn’t written. I guess we’ve all had this experience, but as grown-ups, it’s easier to be rational about this than if you’re a kid. And the kid could get bored of the whole thing after you’ve gone to the trouble of setting up the website.

I suggested Anne give her daughter a regular guest-posting gig on Modern Mrs. Darcy for a year and see how it goes. That way, Anne would already be moderating comments, and the child would have a built-in audience. It’s quite possible she’d lose interest in a year, and then you know that there's no need to set up her own blog. If she keeps up the writing, however, she could get her own real estate.

What would you recommend? Do any of your kids have a blog?


Mary Pat said...

My seven year old had been asking forever to start a blog. Finally, he actually came up with a pretty good idea: a mythology blog. He'd been reading Rick Riordan's books like crazy, and wanted to share his new love for mythology. I liked this as an idea because it's a controlled topic. He doesn't give out personal information, and ideas abound. He only posted a few times and sort of fell away for a few weeks, but it's something he can always go back to.

You can check it out here: http://joeysmythguide.blogspot.com/

Jo in OKC said...

My daughter didn't have a blog until she was older, but mostly because she wasn't interested until then.

If you're concerned, you could always setup a blog with tight controls on who could see what. Does it matter if the blog has a big audience or if the blog is *just* family?

Cool Mom said...

Or you give them a "pen name." My daughter wrote a book and she decided to have her characters be the authors. Guess what, they run her blog also. She did all of the original setup of the blog, and handles the majority of her content. I work as her editor and assistant marketer. :) Of course, I help A LOT but as a homeschooler, there have been amazing life lessons through this. I would NEVER let her do it at her age unsupervised, mostly due to comments that could show up. Yes, I moderate all of her comments. A guest post is a fantastic idea.
My daughter's blog is: www.StanleyAndKatrina.com
Joey's blog is nice, Mary.

Hayden said...

It is a good question and you'll get many different opinions. It comes down to your own comfort level.... My 7 year old has a blog as well. He is full of fun facts and wanted to share them with family and friends. In an age of technology where smart boards and Skype are integrated into the classroom, I thought it would be good experience in so many areas. Not only with technology but with writing, physically typing, organizing thoughts, time management, etc. He posts once or twice a week when I am able to be with him and I get all comments before he sees them so its relatively easy to monitor. To date, we've really only shared the link with people we know and we haven't promoted it publicly with any of the blog promotion tools (adwords, etc) at all. As a marketer I am aware of all the worries and minuses as well... but as long as you set rules and stick to them, and as long as the link is not "exploited", it can be a great outlet.

However a guest blogger is a great idea and good way to get a bigger following when she branches out onto her blog!

If interested, you can see my son's blog here... http://fantasticfunfactsandmore.blogspot.com/

C T said...

Same situation here for us as with posters Mary Pat and Hayden. I set up my (then) seven-year-old daughter with a blog on animals through my Blogger profile. That way I'm in control of the blog. She rarely posts now, but it was fun to be able to accommodate her wish for her own blog back when she was enthusiastic.