A fun way to practice skills in the summer
Does your child have a particular passion that could be explored more through writing or photography? Blogging is an educational way for kids to practice their writing and research skills over the summer while interacting with a receptive audience.
Take a cue from teachers. Pernille Ripp, a 5th grade teacher, who introduced blogging to her students several years ago. The response she has received has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Parents love that it provides a look into what is happening with their child in school and what their child is thinking. It also allows extended family to be part of the learning. Students love it because of the conversation it starts and the ideas they can get from others,” she says.
Not only do kids learn to write to a target audience, they enhance their writing skills in the process. “I’ve seen the rates of student writing really increase,” says Sue Gorman, an Innovation Learning Consultant K-12 and adjunct professor for the Institute of Professional Educator Development for the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. “You aren’t just turning this [writing assignment] into your teacher, you are turning this in as a global writer, a global thinker.”
Get to know blogging. If you aren’t sure how blogging works, open an account and play around with the platform. Learn how privacy settings work and familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions associated with the platform. Explore blogs your child likes.
When is a good age to start blogging?
Whether a child is ready for blogging, or any other type of social media, really depends on your child and her maturity level. Some teachers start kids blogging as early as second and third grades. Educators use carefully moderated and secure sites like KidBlog.org.
For the under 12 crowd, Kidzworld offers a safe, moderated platform for kids to blog with parental consent.
Your child could also blog through a free platform like Blogger or WordPress, however both platforms require that users are 13 and over. In this case, you might want to create a family blog where you make the blog private and invite family and friends to follow.
Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram are especially popular among teens. These are “short-form multi-media” blogging sites. Members post photos, video and short posts. These sites are not suggested for kids younger than 13.
Naturally, your child’s safety will be top of mind. Create a digital contract with your child to clarify your rules, expectations and consequences.
Talk about the types of information she should never share like:
• Full name
• Year of birth
• The name and location of her school (including in photos)
• Home address
If she includes a photo of herself, make sure it doesn’t leave a digital footprint that reveals your location. (Turn off geotagging by going into your privacy settings on your the phone and turn off the location services under your camera app.)
Review her posts before they go live to make sure she isn’t inadvertently sharing information that could put her personal safety or identity at risk.
Discourage your child from using the blog like a private journal by asking questions like: “Am I okay with Grandma or my teacher seeing this?” “Would I be embarrassed if my friends at school read this?”