Some parents out there may be skeptical about letting their children blog, especially if those children are young. But blogging is an exciting–and even educational–way to introduce kids to the world of technology. In addition to being the perfect outlet for creative expression, blogging can help children improve literacy and motivate them to research things they’re interested in. Feedback from others (in the form of blog comments) also gives them a reason to research more and create better, more refined blog posts.
Here are some steps and tips to help you get your child started on blogging safely:
- Decide what to write about. The great thing about blogging is that you can write about any topic that interests you. Whether your child is interested in animals, educational games, a favorite band or even just talking about their daily life, the blog is an appropriate medium. A great example of a kid-run blog is TechNewsKids, run by 11-year-olds, which discusses the latest technology news and developments. Other kid bloggers, such as 6-year-old Aiden, just write about their lives.
- Choose a blogging platform. Luckily, there tons of free blogging platforms out there that are extremely easy to use and configure. My personal favorites are Blogger and WordPress, but you can also use a service like Tumblr, LiveJournal or even a paid service specifically geared towards children, such as http://kidslearntoblog.com/. If you’re a teacher looking to set up an entire class with blogs, KidBlog.org is a great free blogging platform designed specifically for classroom use!
- Set up privacy controls and monitoring. The internet is a public forum, so it’s important to know how to protect your kids and monitor what they are writing (and who’s responding). Luckily, most blogging services make it easy to control your privacy settings. As the parent or teacher, set yourself up as the blog administrator. You can then:
- control whether or not the blog is visible in search engines
- moderate and approve blog comments
- read over your child’s blog entries before they are published
- give your child his or her very own login, but with restricted permissions
- Share with family and friends. Every blogger loves feedback, and kids are no exception! Even if you disable the blog in search engines, you and your child can still give the link to family and friends that you trust. It’s a great way for family members to keep in touch, and kids will love the attention of receiving comments on their blog. Receiving feedback will only make them more excited to write future blog posts!
Blogging can be a great educational activity for parents (or teachers!) and kids to do together. It’s a fantastic excuse to teach your kids proper internet research, help them with grammar/spelling, and get them feeling comfortable with technology. Give it a try!