You may have noticed in some of my previous posts that I am a father to three beautiful, intelligent, wonderful daughters who never cease to amaze me and make me proud. Well, recently, the two older girls came to me with a request that has me bursting with pride.
“Daddy,” they said, “we were talking about it, and we want to start a blog. We’ll write the articles ourselves – they’ll be about fashion and book reviews and that sort of stuff.”
Pleasantly surprised, I said, “Wow, that’s great! But, you know, you have to be careful not to say anything about yourselves specifically. You need to keep your identity from random crazy people.”
“We know – we already talked about that. We’re going to come up with fake names and write stuff like, ‘Hi this is Blah, and I was thinking….'”
Wow. They already figured out that they were going to use pseudonyms, and how to use them. “But we need your help to start it, because we don’t know how to set up a blog, or where to go to do it.”
“OK,” I answered, “I’ll talk to Mommy about it, and if we think it’s OK, we’ll go ahead with it.”
Blogging is relatively new to me, at least as far as my own experience is concerned. I have two blogs, both less than a year old, and a far cry from anything close to even semi-known. But, like most bloggers I presume, I write because I want and like to write. Of course, it wasn’t too long ago, in college even, that I hated writing. Even a few simple paragraphs were enough to have me pulling my hair out in frustration. I do not want my daughters to feel that way, and this is one way to foster a love of writing in them at the early ages of nine and eleven.
But, I am concerned about their safety. The last thing I want is for them to be in the spotlight personally. The pseudonyms can be there, but that’s their purpose. If we allow this blog idea to happen, I will take every last precaution to keep them safe.
Another concern of mine, and you may not know this, is that people on the Internet can be not nice, even downright mean! I swear – it’s true! Now, I do plan to mitigate this by turning on comment moderation and filter the comments myself. Also, I plan to set up anonymous e-mail for contact, and be the only one to read that, at least at first. But, I admit, the mean people don’t concern me as much as the crazy people. I plan to explain this to them, and use it to teach them how to handle criticism. This is a lesson they should learn earlier in life rather than later.
So, what’s the result? Well, I’ll be honest – my wife and I haven’t quite decided yet. Like I said, I want to nurture in them that love of writing, because I know it is a skill that will serve them well in life. I also want them to learn to live with criticism, and to use to to improve themselves. But I don’t want to expose them to any dangers, either.
In the meantime, they have been bugging me to make the blog already. I love their enthusiasm, and am proud of their tenacity. I know that we have to decide soon before those fires die down.
How about you? Do you have or know of any children who write their own blogs? What advice can you give my wife and me? How about for my daughters?
I was browsing for blogs and came across yours, so for what it is worth, here are some thoughts:
I went to college to be a teacher, and many of the same worries you wrote about are the same ones that many other parents bring up when a teacher tries to bring blogging into a classroom. I think as long as your daughters are forewarned about some of the comments people might make and the fact that they might not be of the most considerate nature, blogging can be a very positive experience for them. As you mentioned, it can help foster a love of writing. Blogging is the current medium for writing thoughts and opinions in place of the diaries and journals and may benefit them in the future if they grow up as familiar with the many uses of the internet.
I think you are very wise though to try to protect them from the internet “crazies.” And I think you or your wife having access as well to the comments and e-mail associated with the blog is also a wise idea. Sometimes I think parents in general need to be more aware of what their children are doing online.
Thanks for your advice. As a former teacher myself, I look for every opportunity to teach my daughters. And their safety is my top priority too. I’m an IT person, so I understand the dangers of the “online world,” and plan to keep a close eye on them even if they don’t start their blog.
Thanks for your comment!
I think as long as you and your wife remain active in your daughters blogging activities in every aspect as you’ve described you in fact would, it would be a great way to keep that love of writing alive. Good luck 🙂
Thanks, Lauren. I’m always looking for ways to keep my girls interested in their education.
Both Lauren and D. L. Kamstra have great points, and it seems like you and your wife are doing what’s right. One “warning”, though- Please continue your watchfulness over what the girls do and say, and where they go (online, etc.) into their teens and beyond. Be prepared for some resistance to your concern once they feel they’re not getting the privacy they think they want/need. Grant freedom and flexibility, but don’t let up.
I love your name! 🙂 And you’re right, as far as their online safety is concerned. We’re on the same page with that. I plan to keep an eye on them and be a thorn in their side in that respect, expect them to tire of me, yell at me, and, ultimately, thank me. 😉
Thank you for commenting!
My pleasure. Good luck!
Keep up the vigilance!!
How old are the girls? There are many college courses that have the class make a blog so this would give them good experience for sure. My kids are in elementary and have a social site per classroom – still not sure how I feel about. I’m a little awe struck at what they are doing with technology at a young age
Coffee Lovin’ Mom,
My two oldest daughters are 10 and almost-12, so a college course isn’t in the cards (yet!). They are in their Media Club at school, where they’ve been working on creating web pages that are supposed to go live. They’re also active in the school newspaper. I think these two activities are primarily responsible for their interest in their own blog.
As far as technology goes, as parents, we need to keep up with our children. It won’t be going away, and it’s certainly changing at an unprecedented pace.
Thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂
How fun that the girls want to write! That’s AWESOME!
And how great that you and your wife want to foster that creativity AND keep the girls safe! That’s wonderful!
I have a friend whose 11 year old daughter has a blog… although she doesn’t post often… about art projects for kids. They have enabled all of the standard kid-safe web tools. Comments get kicked to my friend’s email address since her daughter doesn’t have/need/want email. I think it’s a fun way for the kids to be creative.
I’m all for keeping the crazies away AND meanies too for that matter. Although, in 4 years of blogging I’ve NEVER had a mean comment EVER so… I think it’s entirely possible for your girls to avoid meanness from strangers also. Good luck in your deliberations!
And thanks for linking up for Sunday Funday!
Your friend’s daughter is the same age as my oldest, and it sounds like they have the same safeguards in place that I’m planning. Although I’ve been blogging for less than a year, I have to say that I haven’t received any mean comments either. Spam, on the other hand, can be, shall we say, “interesting.” But I’m not so concerned about spam, and plan to use it to teach my girls how to spot fake feedback and potential scams – a very important lesson in today’s world.
Thank you for your commenting, as well as hosting Sunday Funday. 🙂
What about a blog that YOU manage entirely? They can email the posts to you, and you could post them?
Actually, I decided to create a blog and make them authors, editors, basically everything BUT administrators. I have notifications enabled so I get an e-mail whenever they post or edit an article, or when they get a comment. It’s worked out pretty well so far, although they are a little disappointed that no one has commented yet.
[…] in self-beratement, my daughters have been blogging furiously. I’ve mentioned in a previous post how they asked for a blog of their own. One daughter in particular has been steeping herself in […]