Last month, my 7-year-old declared she wanted a blog for her birthday.
Her birthday’s next month. My husband and I have been talking it over, while she’s been busy brainstorming names, plotting categories, and dreaming up potential posts.
Potential categories. She’s serious, y’all.
There’s so much I love about this idea. She’s bursting with creativity, and a blog would be a great outlet. (Her “post” for this blog is consistently one of the most popular.) She wants to share projects and stories and ideas.
But I’m not exactly comfortable with the idea. Because, you know, it’s the internet. And she’s a kid.
One possible solution–and its drawbacks
An obvious solution is to make the blog private, using a service like Kidblog or requiring readers to obtain a password to read it. (This probably goes without saying, but on the back end, I would have the only password that has a “publish now” button, and I would moderate comments.)
But a private blog isn’t a perfect solution—and not just because my daughter loves the idea of reaching a large audience.
I’ve been combing through the research, and I’ve been surprised at what I’ve found. The Stanford Study of Writing found that college students write more and better when they believe they’re writing for a large audience. Additionally, the students “almost always” had more enthusiasm for self-directed writing–writing they did on their time, on subjects they chose–than on writing they did for class.
This is notable to me because we homeschool, and the educational potential of a blog is obvious.
My daughter has her blog all planned out: she wants to learn to type, and make lists, and long-term plans. She wants to write and write and write. She wants to take pictures and make crafts. She wants to ask big brother to be her copyeditor.
Is the blog necessary for all this? No. But it’s wonderful motivation.
And so now, we have a month to decide what to do about this blog.
Jon Acuff has often said that it’s tough for today’s parents to figure out social media with our kids because there’s no precedent: We are the first generation of parents in the history of mankind that has to have a digital footprint conversation with our kids.
And there’s definitely no precedent for figuring out what to do when your daughter wants a blog.
Oh, and after she starts the blog? She wants an Etsy shop to go with it.
Dear readers, hit me up with all your wisdom. What advice do you have to offer? (And if you have little people in your life who want blogs of their own, tell me about it!)