Children should start blogging young so their parents can teach them good Internet habits. Look at today’s prevalence of social media—sites like Facebook and Twitter. It’s almost certain that, when your children grow up, they will participate in these sites or their successors. The question isn’t whether your children will use social media but how they’ll use it.
Will you scan the YouTube front page one day and find a video of your child doing something embarrassing or illegal—or dangerous? Will your kid be unable to get into Princeton or Oxford because they write inflammatory Facebook posts? Helping your kid start blogging young gives you the opportunity to teach them good habits—and to warn them about dangers on the Internet.
Other Reasons To Start Blogging Young
I know of no way better to expose flawed thinking than to write down my thoughts. It happened even as I wrote this paragraph—I had to backspace out a sentence because it didn’t make sense.
Children enter adulthood with so many flawed assumptions. I know I did, and it’s taken me years to realize just how bad some of my assumptions were. There’s no cure for bad thinking, but a child who frequently blogs will probably be a wiser 20-year-old than the child who never writes a word not assigned by some teacher.
And that completely ignores the value of writing experience when it comes to getting into college—not to mention the hundreds of pages that kids need to write to complete college or the thousands of emails and reports your child will probably write during his or her professional career. Writing is a valuable skill that can’t be learned—or perfected—too young.
A Nice Bonus When Kids Start Blogging
But blogging kids don’t just benefit themselves—they also spread the joy of having a kid and help preserve that joy for years to come.
A child’s blog is something easily shared with your whole family. It’s usually better than pictures or videos because it clearly shows the child’s perspective, which I always find entertaining and refreshing.
The blog is portable and persistent—Grandpa can log into it whenever he wants, whether he’s at the beach or sipping tea at home.
And a well-backed-up blog lasts forever but doesn’t take up much space. How I wish that I had diaries and other personal records from my youth to augment the boring collection of old report cards and class photos my parents saved. How I treasure those first few forays I made onto the Internet when I was twelve and which are still preserved by Google 16 years later.
How To Get Started Blogging
A lot depends on the age of your child. You can start blogging when they’re still in diapers—or even before—by creating a video blog or podcast (audio recording). Just record them in their full youthful innocence and put the recordings on a private blog site for the rest of your family to enjoy.
Kids these days learn to type at the same time they learn to write—if not before—so most kids will be ready to start a written blog about the time they enter grade school. Explain to your kid what they’re doing (“writing a letter to family”) and let them type as little or as much as they want in Microsoft Word or another program.
Then start a private blog on one of the blog sites, invite your family to join, and handle the technical stuff like posting for your kid until he or she gets older.
When you think your kid is old enough to browse the Internet alone, it’s probably time to start a new blog—this one entirely under the kid’s control. (Although you’ll keep supervising, of course.)
The new blog should start out private. In a few years, if the child—by now possibly a teenager—wants to make the blog public (and you approve) that should be fine. Just make sure there’s no information on the blog that gives away your address or which school the child attends.
There is so much free information on every step of blogging including how to install WordPress and how to setup WordPress. There are also free blogs like blogger.com.
Some Habits To Teach Your Kid
Remember that you want to use the blog to teach your kid about the Internet. The first and most important lessons should cover safety. Start blogging with these rules:
- Never say the last name of yourself or anyone else (unless they’re famous). That will make it hard for anyone to figure out who you are.
- Don’t mention what town you live in. (It should be ok to mention state or province, but that’s your decision as the parent.)
- Never say anything online you wouldn’t say to Grandma (or some other revered family member).
- Write well. Obviously, you should hold older kids to a higher standard, but any kid who maintains their own blog can use spell check.
- Encourage all types of writing. Adult blogs often focus on a specific niche—for example, you won’t find romantic poems or travelogues on Tips4PC. But your child’s blog is a great place to experiment. Encourage essays, poems, reviews, (kindly) complaints, letters to the editor, songs, pictures of places, instructions, and anything else your child’s fertile imagination comes up with.
- Don’t make blogging a chore. But do try to get them to do it regularly.
Blogging As A Career
This sounds a bit silly to most people but blogging is a genuine career option nowadays. Just look at me for example. I am a full-time blogger who builds websites to make money online. This website is part of my blogging business. Imagine the opportunities and advantages a child could have if they had the oportunity to start a profitable blog at a young age?
Expect your kids to immediately take to blogging—and then forget about it after a week. Encourage them and they’ll stick to it and you’ll see steady improvement in their writing quality and their ability to reason.
Years later when your kid finally does get on Facebook (or whatever replaces it), you’ll notice that he or she demonstrates effective and polite net communication light-years ahead of every other teenager—and you can bet colleges will notice your kid’s good net manners too, handily repaying your investment in teaching your kid to start blogging young.