Thursday, October 25, 2007

blogging pre-teens

On the blog, Mile High Mamas, there was a post that asked the question whether or not a 10 year old should be allowed to have her own email account and blog. I commented with some of the following information because I just had a conversation with a friend about this very subject.

My friend gave me permission to share her experience here on my blog since she doesn't have one of her own. Her daughter is 11 and was recently allowed to have her own blog. Like the mother that posted on Mile High Mamas, my friend was unsure whether it was a good idea to let her daughter have a presence on the internet. There are so many scary stories out there and I applaud any parent who is faced with this question and takes it seriously. I don't think there are any clear cut answers and I think only parents are qualified to make decisions regarding this subject. By the way- the following experience can be applied to regular teenagers, too.

Having said that, I'd like to share my friend's experience in saying yes to her daughter's desire to have her own blog. She said yes, but with certain expectations and limitations. I won't list all of those, but one agreed upon item was that the daughter was not allowed to post until mom read it and gave her approval. She didn't want her daughter to give out any personal information.

For the most part, her daughter has done a great job. There were only a few little things that mom didn't want going out. All she had to do was to explain what particular piece of the post was the problem and why. She did it as she sat in front of the computer and next to her daughter. There was an open discussion - a conversation where both sides were heard. And once mom was able to give good reason why the certain info was better left off the post, the daughter could see and understand why her mom wanted it that way.

I just think this is a beautiful picture; mom and daughter sitting side by side, mutually conversing, mom teaching and daughter listening and learning. The mom told me that this time has actually been a wonderful way to keep the lines of communication open between the two of them. She has seen the benefit in other areas of their relationship, too. Where before, communication might have been difficult, or even, non-existent, now it's present and fairly easy going. She feels so much closer to her daughter.

And I say that's a great thing! It's very easy for a parent-child relationship to be stained and increasingly growing distant as the child enters adolescence/middle school. I would encourage any parent nearing this time, or in this time, to find ways to stay connected with your child. One of the best ways to do that is take an interest in what your child is into or wants to get into. The benefits of a close relationship and open communication will not only greatly benefit the both of you during this time, but could make all the difference in the future paths he or she will eventually take.

link of the day:


Penless Thoughts said...

Amen Diana. Wonderful post. I hope MANY mom's of pre-teens and teens read this. Too often people just give a blanket "NO" to things instead of viewing it throughly from all sides.

~Just A Thought Ginger said...

We dealt with this issue with child #3. It was very difficult after having her watch her older siblings and thinking she should be just like them. All went well until her junior yr of high school when I realized due to monitoring her account, that she was being stalked along with her friends, by some weirdo.

It's a crazy world out there and you can never be too safe. I am so glad I kept a close eye on her. She complained about it often, but people pose as something they are not and kids easy fall prey.

striving... said...

My 10 Year old has a email, but no blog. I also know that there are some blogs where only the people who have your username and password can gain access. For younger people taht could be an option.

Tracy said...

My children do have blogs. I must read the post before it is published. And, they do have email, but don't use it. It was solely for opening a blog account. We also use comment moderation. So far, so good!

jennifer said...

Wow, it is almost as if you talked to me. That is exactly what I require of FoUrTh. She must have me approve everything, because something seemingly innocent ..may be all the internet needs to locate and pull her in.

My teen son has the same requirements. It is not being a sheltering mom, it is being a parent who understands that there are evil people seeking our children.

btw Thanks for being one of Fourth's readers. She tells me all the time that our First and yours make 2 houses that miss someone:)

SaintAmyJane said...

I set up a blog for my daughter who was 9 at the time (she is 10 now). I mostly did it to encourage writing. Then I realized in order for her to "network" she was going to run in to some questionable things. Also I didn't like the content of the spam (i mean who does really). So she doesn't write there anymore. She is understanding though and she understands the dangers of the internet for girls her age.

inspired said...


Melissa said...

What a great idea... we haven't had the email/blog issue come up with kids yet. But, I'll have to remember that one... I'm sure it will come up sooner than later!

Corey~living and loving said...

great post. I really think that if there are some set really can be wonderful for the relationship.

Momma Roar said...

With mine so young yet, its hard for me to see this coming in our future - but it will, and all too quickly, I'm sure.

I'm glad you posted this!

BTW, love today's link as well as today and yesterday's picture of the day. Quintin was next to me yesterday and he noticed the turtle before I did. I'm gonna check out that link again - it was cute!

Momma Roar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barb said...

Great post and excellent advice.

Our Family of Five said...

I agree wholeheartedly. In fact, I kind of put off my son's doing a blog of his own because I knew how much time and attention it would require of me. When he posts I read over everything before he clicks publish. I also have the comments moderated and coming to MY inbox first for my approval and then when I publish them the alert for a new comment is sent to HIS inbox. I didn't let him put his email address on the blog though, I told him to use mine. That way if someone wants to send him something through his blog then I read it first before it gets to him. If I ok it, then I forward it.

Some people would say I'm crazy for being the way that I am over his internet use. We have family that can't understand it and calls us 'overprotective'. But in this day and age I just can't NOT go the extra mile to lower the risk that is always involved with being online. My personal opinion, children and the internet just don't mix well. But, with parental involvement......... TONS of parental involvement, and as you said, set guidelines and limitations, these murky waters can be navigated with little to no trouble from predators or offensive subject matter. Thanks so much for sharing this story, it echoes my thoughts exactly. :)

Pam in Colorado said...

There is good and bad in most things. Finding ways to create something that is not only good, but better and best is wonderful. This Mom is helping her daughter be more discerning and building a stronger relationship at the same time.