A recent article in the Telegraph focussed on the growing popularity of blogs written by and for young children.
It is estimated that about 11% of the children with access to the internet write a blog.
Blogging can be a marvellous tool for children who want a platform to express themselves. It is free. It is simple to do, and it can reach a truly global audience.
Like everything else that happens in the virtual world, it needs monitoring closely by parents/teachers or guardians depending on who helps the child set up their account or gives permission for the child to set up their account.
Most blogging sites are not designed with the child user in mind, so it is important that parents and guardians are involved, to set up security and make sure the child is using the site safely and responsibly. This is particularly important if your child decides to enable the comments function on their blog. It is not always clear where comments are coming from and what responding to them will lead to, and it is advisable for parents to keep an eye on the comments regularly to make sure everything is as it should be. It is possible to publish blog posts without enabling the comments function, but half the fun for the children is receiving positive responses on their posts, often from around the world. With child safety a priority though, the comment situation does need reviewing by all parties who are involved in the blog.
The site: Kids Blog Club, which was set up in September 2012 offers help, advice and forums for children who blog, and their concerned parents or teachers.
Teachers can create blogging sites that exist solely within their school. This is a neat and practical way around the privacy issues that generally accompany online activities. Other children within school can read and comment on the site, but access to and from the rest of the internet is prohibited. There are a variety of companies that offer such services.
A blog is simply a blank canvas that allows a person to write about whatever they like, whenever they like, however they like. Sites like Blogger and WordPress are easy to access and simple to use.
As well as getting the child to write, it also encourages them to think about the layout, design and accessibility of their site. They can add graphics, and images, film and sound if they wish, or just keep the site simple. It really is up to the individual.
Children who blog will instinctively become better at writing and their literacy levels will rise accordingly. Writing for an audience of their peers or even adults helps to hone their skills and makes them put in extra efforts which really do pay off in the long run.