My 10-year-old wants to blog
March 30, 2010 11:09 PM   Subscribe

How do I help my 10-year-old blog safely?

Wonderboy wants a "cool website" where he can share his favorite YouTube videos (the Harry Potter Puppet Pals are way up there), links to little flash games he enjoys, funny stories, and pictures of his Etch-A-Sketch drawings.

I figure we set him up with a blogger blog, invent a pseudonym, shut off the comments, and we're good. Is there anything else I should be thinking about here? I'll give him a good talk about privacy and keep an eye on the blog.
posted by LarryC to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Seconding Tumblr. Very easy, very sleek.

I don't think blogging -- or any internet presence -- is very dangerous at all in any of its forms.

That said, if you don't want your son's blog to be identifiable as his (and of course, this is understandable), go over what personal details are allowed and which aren't. Can he disclose his first name? His age? Whether he lives in a town or a city? Encourage him to ask you if he's unsure about what's okay to put up. That said, I think Really Serious Discussions about internet safety can be unnecessarily scary.

IANAP. I'm just well-parented.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 11:42 PM on March 30, 2010

I'm not sure what your concern with comments is, bou might want to consider allowing moderated comments set up in a way that need to be approved first. With blogger you can set it up so that all potential comments are sent to a specified email address (yours) and need to be approved before they show up on the blog, although they would also be visible and can be moderated from the blogger dashboard as well, so I don't know if that is enough control for you.
posted by andoatnp at 11:56 PM on March 30, 2010

If he wants to talk about people around him, get him to make up nicknames for his friends, relatives and teachers. I'd also avoid posting pictures of himself, unless he blanks out his face (drawing over it in Photoshop, or sticking an image of whoever ten year olds admire these days over the top would work - 10 Year Old Jilder would have used a Ninja Turtle.) I'm assuming you'll be reading over them anyway as they go up, since most kids doing Something Cool absolutely have to share it with everyone in earshot, so you're likely to spot any identifying info before it goes up.
posted by Jilder at 12:33 AM on March 31, 2010

My brother has an 'internet name' for himself that incorporated his initials. Might your son consider a similar pseudonym?

But really, I don't think it's all that dangerous. Just use nicknames or initials, avoid identifying location, and you're good. I don't know what you mean by 'funny stories', but it seems it won't be anecdotes where it is necessary for him to include his location or whatever.

My brother is 10, and I know he is intelligent enough to know what is safe. I'm sure your son is fine. Keep an eye on it, but I don't really think there is any danger.

And yes, I agree with andoatnp, comments moderated by you might be more fun than no comments at all.
posted by R a c h e l at 12:44 AM on March 31, 2010

The rule at our house is to not write anything anywhere online you wouldn't be willing to write on a t-shirt and wear it in the street.
posted by bwonder2 at 12:58 AM on March 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

With some blogging systems (Wordpress for example) you can set up accounts with different'roles so that you have the final say on not only comments from other people, but you son's blog entries. So he writes the entries and you approve and 'publish' them to the live blog.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:06 AM on March 31, 2010

posted by gjc at 5:29 AM on March 31, 2010

If your son is a generous type he might give out his password to his friends because he thinks he's being nice, even if you've told him to keep his password a secret. My daughter and her friends were wild for Webkinz when they came out and we had to go over the "don't give out your password, even to your friends, even if they say please" thing several times. She's a smart girl, she's just really, really generous (we're working on being generous without being taken advantage of).
posted by cooker girl at 6:30 AM on March 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

This is exactly how I use my Tumblr account, so nthing those above. By default, there are no comments [though you can add third-party code to allow them], and on the home page ['the dashboard'] each type of post -- a link, a quote, a video, plain text, etc -- has its own button to click. There is also an easy 'reblog' feature if he finds something that he likes that someone else has posted and wants to share it himself, he only has to click a few times. I have searches saved on my dashboard for some of my favorite things, so one click will take me to the most recent posts tagged, say, Harry Potter.
posted by alynnk at 8:28 AM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

For talking to your kid about privacy, the American Library Association has a list of resources: Especially for Young People and Their Parents (2007).
posted by SarahbytheSea at 6:29 PM on March 31, 2010

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