As a parenting or family lifestyle blogger there’s one big decision to make. Whether or how to feature your children, especially if both parents don’t have the same opinion. Plus further decisions once the child is old enough to decide whether they want to be featured any more.
When N was 6, at his request I had to stop including photos of him (even on my private Facebook page). He allows the occasional one from afar, or if there’s only part of him showing. But generally my blog and social media doesn’t have photos of him.
There’s also now been the UK government announcement about social media and technology companies having to follow upcoming rules to clamp down on harmful content. Of course there’s the free speech and censorship argument from some people – fair enough on some aspects, but I’m all for making abusive or harmful content more restricted. I’m not sure how they’ll do it though.
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N doesn’t have a phone, he certainly won’t be allowed social media ahead of the age limits. He does watch Youtube and not always when we’re around. Thankfully, he spends more time watching iplayer now he’s discovered he can watch all the CBBC shows, so I’m less worried about him finding things he shouldn’t, even though I have some controls set up on the Kindle Fire he has access to.
I want a blog
But N’s now saying he wants a blog. I don’t see this as a bad thing, it can help him educationally. Anything that encourages him to find his way around a computer better, and gets him writing more, can only be a good thing.
The OH won’t be impressed though. Even if it’s totally anonymous and there’s no social media connected to it for people to find him through it.
N has been asking for a while to have a Youtube channel. I said no because he’s too young. Plus videos take a lot of time to edit and I don’t have the time to help him with that. Added to that, what’s he going to video as he’s not going to be in the videos. So that idea was thrown out thankfully. A compromise was that he can have his own playlist on my channel for any stopmotion videos he does.
But a blog is more feasible.
Blogging for kids
We’ve chosen a name, I’ve bought the domain in case he wants to do more with it in future, and I’ve set it up on blogger. I use wordpress self-hosted, but blogger is free and fine for what he wants to do on it. It just means I need to relearn how to use it. Because it’s tied into google, trying to set up an email account, separate blogger account in the blog name and get it separate to my own account was a challenge. Cue, working off 2 different browsers. But he’s got a blog and I’m working through all the requirements and settings to make sure it’s anonymous.
He’s decided he wants to blog about Lego builds, although has already changed his mind about doing days out (after saying that’s what he wanted to do). Photos have been taken of the last 2 makes, and N’s already written one post.
I suggested he write in a notebook first then could just type it up. In 10 minutes he’d scribbled out a page of text. Every single spelling was correct, great cursive writing, ending in a general piece of instruction text on how to make the build. So sweet. And already showing me how much his writing and confidence has improved this year.
It was severely lacking in detail, an introduction or sign off – but I was trying to hold back and not interfere because I don’t want to put him off, and sometimes it’s fun to look back and be embarrassed by your first ever post.
So his first post is ready to go live. I just need to get his ok on the header I’ve done, double check the security and anonymity, set the blog to public, and publish the post.
As I won’t be sharing it across my social media, and he won’t have his own, he’ll be reliant on search engine referrals for readers. But I’m hoping he’s not planning on making his millions from it, and it’s just a bit of a hobby. Maybe an outlet in future for anything he wants to say.
Hopefully he won’t have so much to say that I end up not being able to use my laptop as much.
Tips for helping set up a kids blog
1. Choose your platform – blogger is free as is wordpress.com but you can freely monetise later on blogger while free wordpress has restrictions.
2. Privacy and security – anonymous or not, think about the privacy of children and how much you want them to be found online if they’re younger than teenage years and less aware of internet dangers
3. Set up the blog carefully. Work through the settings to check you’re happy with them.
4. Think about pseudonyms – will it be 1st person, or will you want to provide an alternative name to sign off and talk about.
5. Comment moderation – turn it on. And all the spam filters. You want moderation of comments to come to you as the parent and not to the child.
6. Social media – children under 13 shouldn’t be using social media, but you can set up an anonymous twitter, pinterest, Instagram account or facebook page via the parent. This means you can share the content without it being tied back to the family, and the adult keeps an eye on it. You don’t need this though, especially not if your child might be more vulnerable or can get access to it through their own technology without your being with them.
7. Agree up front access and time to be spent on the blog. Will the child have free access, or will you supervise while they write posts. We’ve agreed N will write his posts out first, then type them out with me reading them out.
Have your children ever started a blog? What would you say if yours wanted to?
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