Too Young to Blog?

This evening I posted something on the Community Pool – one of my more recent posts entitled ‘Karma’s a B*tch, Right?‘ I love the opportunity to meet new people and I was really pleased that I had the time to read through the other links that appeared.

One of the first comments I received was from a girl who chastised me for swearing. It was obvious that she was very young, I’d guess about 11 or 12 years old, and in an effort to be polite and humour her I explained why I had used the offensive word in that particular context and the connotation that it had.

As I moved down the comments I noticed that the same girl had commented on almost every post, and some bloggers were responding to her and thanking her for her advice in a way that suggested that they didn’t know that they were taking advice from a child. Granted, she’s obviously quite an intelligent and articulate child, but she’s still a child all the same.

Later, this girl’s sister also chastised me for swearing, explaining that it was her turn to use the computer.

My problem is this: I don’t want to talk to children, take advice from children or have to rephrase a comment or statement just in case a precocious child happens upon it. When teaching I spend a large amount of my time trying to explain to youngsters the perils of the internet and the importance of internet safety. Indeed, in my daily life, outside of my teaching job, I have to accommodate other people’s offspring. However, my blog is my own little escape where I feel that I can discuss things that are on my mind and are important to me and this is certainly a child-free zone. Sometimes, those things are of an adult nature (although I am aware that some of my last few posts have been about a chicken before anyone points this out). However, a blog is still a public forum if it is on the internet that is accessible to anyone and this is the first time that I have contemplated the fact that young children may be reading it.

I appreciate the fact that children and young teenagers are now highly tech-savvy, with lots of them owning smartphones and tablets, and kudos to them for wanting to express themselves. I have loved writing from an early age and have kept journals from the age of seven, which I still have today, but I feel really uncomfortable with the fact that somebody out there is allowing their children to communicate with adults that they know nothing about. I harbour no ill wishes to any youngsters, but there are lots of sick individuals out there that do…

I had a message from the sister asking me what I thought of her blog. I don’t want to upset this child but I think she’s far too young to be reading my blog, communicating with me and others of my age and her parents clearly should take more responsibility and monitor the sites that her and her sister are visiting.

What about you guys? Do you think I’m being silly? Would you let your own children have a blog?

 

42 thoughts on “Too Young to Blog?

  1. I would let my children have a blog but I would subscribe to it and monitor the communication with others. I would ignore the request to give an opinion on her blog. The fastest way to get a child to stop paying attention to you is to ignore them.

  2. Hi Suzie! I just got a message from both her and her sister, and although they seem sweet, I had no idea one of them was 9 years old!! =/
    I think if I were growing up nowadays, I would have a blog since it would be my journal. I probably wouldn’t make it “live” to others and I certainly would not bother other bloggers with any criticism besides positive feedback. I worry about their safety since some people are sickos and may mess with them.
    If my daughter or son had to have a blog, I would closely monitor it and go over guidelines with them to be safe. But, who knows if they communicate with their parents. I know I needed somewhere to vent when I was younger, but paper journals may not seem “cool” to kids nowadays.

  3. wow. I completely agree with everything you just wrote.
    I think the problem with children being online, specially blogging is that they’re leaving an online trail for themselves and often left unsupervised, hence you being chastised/trolled. Thus proving immaturity hahaha.
    If I were you, I would suggest maybe just saying please don’t read my blog, it’s probably not appropriate and that any comments etc will be removed.
    IMHO I think blogging is far worse than say having a facebook account, only because at least the privacy settings can be changed to such a point that no one can see a thing wheras blogging is so much more interactive & kid’s at 12, lets be honest, haven’t developed that part of them that realises just how dangerous writing online can be.

  4. I think that children can have blogs, but within their own peer group. The fact she is looking at your blog means that their parents may not have set either their own broadband filter or their computer’s age filter. If they had then their filter would not have allowed the children to read it because of the swear words. Suggest that she needs to look at other young people’s blogs and avoid those with adult content. It is difficult though and I sympathize with your dilemma.

  5. This one of the thinfs that get my back up are children under the age of 15 on the net unsupervised or at least having the parent or guardian sojevwhere close to approve what they are looking at or doing.
    The following story is fact:
    One of my other hats which I have worn for over 15 years is as a qualified network engineer and computer support. I just to smaller jobs around the town for pin money, I get a call from a woman whose daughters computer had stopped working, so I took a look and it just needed a sort out and had it back running within 30 minutes. She made me a coffee andvwe chatted, she tells me that her daughter is 12, very bright but worried about her being online, which she limits the best she can, I set timers on her router to stop access between set times, she was also worried about who her daughter was talking too. As she was under 13 because privacy rules chage at 13 I could put in a key logger, a small bit of software which records all keystrokes and then will at a set time send her mother an email with the keystrokes on it, showing her chats, usernames ect. She agreed and I came back and set it up and set the antivirus to ignore it.
    Three eays later I get a call from the mother who needed to see me. She showed me the emails and you could have knocked me down with a feather.
    This poor mother had discovered her 12 year old daughter was pretending to be a 18 year old, she was sending men images she had taken from other sites and saying tjis was her, offering sex for money and using language I would never use. I advised her that she should seek help from her doctor as her daughter was needing help. She cad je remove the computers from the house and sell them. I have been criticised for putting in the software but without it, you could be looking at a missing child or worse, this was about 5-6 years ago, last Saturday I was part of a group from my wifes work for our Christmas night out, Christmas pressies was one of the subjects and one of the women said Well her son was going to get a tablet, but I unwrapped it and took it back. She had glanced at his laptop and his screen saver was on and it slide show was showing porn, girl on girl, girls with theirs mouths full……I think you get the picture, her sons age……………11 years old.
    These two events should have never happened, the government says we should do this and do that to pervent child seeing porn, or being groomed, No!!!! Computers are not babysitters, they are not a tool to keep an 11 year old child quiet, if used properly its a highly useful and educational tool.
    We would not allow our children alone in a room full of strangers but most children are left that way, if understanding computers is a problem, learn. If a child goes out to play, most of us would want to know where they are and doing, so do the same on the computer.

    Sorry Suzie, epic again, but important πŸ™‚

    • SoundEagle totally agrees with Pete and suzie81, and would like to add the following:

      Too many parents would allow their children to watch and/or play cartoons, movies and computer games containing or depicting various kinds and degrees of violence, and yet would censor nudity and/or sexuality.

      It seems that for those parents (and their children), it is perfectly fine and unobjectionable to see people (either real or fictitious, both online and offline) being ignored, deceived, exploited, abused, threatened, bullied, marginalized, impoverished, disrespected, discriminated against, enslaved, tortured, injured and killed in various way every day in film and/or in real life, and yet to be exposed to any overt act or explicit portrayal of sexuality in the media, films, documentaries and scientific studies, is considered to be far worse and objectionable.

  6. Hahahah, I actually read this thread on the community pool page and el oh el’d the whole way through. If it helps, one day she’ll cringe at herself… exactly the way I do when I think of my msn messenger days!x

  7. I understand your concern. If I were you I’d refrain from making any comments or contacts with them. Having them visit your blog is something you cannot avoid (their parents should’ve taken the responsibility), but responding to a child will encourage them to interact more with your writings.

    just my two cents πŸ™‚

  8. To answer your question, and I’ll probably get pounded for this, is NO! I would NOT allow my child to have a blog. No way, no shape, no form. Nor, would they have twitter or facebook until they could demonstrate to me that they were responsible enough to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate with this digital age. I have five granddaughters. The 16 year old posts the most obnoxious things that really upset me and, if I could I would yank that account from her so fast her little head would spin. She sees nothing wrong with her comments. “It’s just the internet”. To most kids, the internet has no face, no feelings and no human emotions on the other side of the keyboard. I also do not want to censor my blog in case a child would read it. I try hard to be polite and respectful, but sometimes…the only word that gets the universal point across is THE word. Thanks for the topic!

    • Hi suzie81 and Deb,

      SoundEagle is in agreement with both of you. Without knowing how old the blogger is, I have already reviewed her blog in detail, and left comments both in the Community Pool and on multiple pages of her blog. I only realise later that the blog owner and her sister are not yet fully adult when I read this current post of Suzie. In this case, it does not matter whether they are adults or not, as the words and expressions that I use in my communication with her are polite, civil and “ageless”. Certain awkwardness aside, they seem quite reasonable (for their age) so far, though lacking some internal resources and life experiences from which to interpret opinions, formulate ideas and draw conclusions. Apart from their parents, we can act as responsible, exemplary and kind adults in the blogosphere whenever and wherever possible and feasible.

      Happy December to all of you!

      May you have a Merry Christmas and a Joyous Festive Season!

  9. One of them says in their blog that she’s 9 years old. I think this is the parent’s issue for sure, and if they are not familiar with that saying, ( not just a UK thing). I mean, well come on, please feel free to swear to your heart’s content.

  10. I’m a bit of a Smother Mother myself, so my natural inclination is to say NO WAY IN THE WORLD WOULD I LET MY CHILDREN HAVE A BLOG. There are way too many sickos watching for personal information to allow kids to run free online. I lose sleep wondering what my dear mother might inadvertantly share, let alone a kiddo.

  11. I think that children should be allowed to be heard in a blog. However, bloggers should know their audience and cater to them. If you write for children, then their advice is needed. However you are writing to an older audience. If you feel uncomfortable communicating with someone that makes sense. I still think that anyone can give helpful advice even if you disagree with it. The comments might simply help you to think about why you used a particular word.

    I don’t know if any of that makes sense. Also, some adults do not like swearing. It is not simply a child thing. I really enjoy your blog although I do not particularly like swearing. However, your content is so helpful and thought-provoking.

  12. That’s crazy…I never considered children blogging! Not sure why, I guess because I figured it wasn’t fast paced enough like Facebook or Twitter. This is a real concern though, I would not to let my children blog unless it was an age appropriate forum and I monitored it. I would tell her that you aren’t comfortable interacting with a minor.

  13. Greetings human. I heard the humans discussing whether or not young Creatures should be allowed to blog….. All they could think of was The Creature using a computer and the human just about blew a gasket at even the thought of her communicating with strange adults on the computer! (I heard words I didn’t know she knew)!

    They feel like children should be encouraged to write in a diary instead. That way, they increase language and writing skills, improve hand/eye coordination, and Learn self expression without putting themselves at risk.

    I think you’re right to be concerned!

    (kats know about these things)!

    Shrimp

  14. One: I am glad to know that there are children who don’t like to swear. I have heard some that I would love to wash out their mouths with soap. If I used some of that language to my parents or grandparents, or whoever, I would have gotten a good slap, and probably the soap. Two: I am not beyond using the b, s or damn word occasionally. I am no saint and am trying hard to quit swearing. It is an old and bad habit. You are right that there are sick people out there that would love to take advantage of a child, they should be monitored if they are allowed to read some blogs. Or post some blogs. I can’t say how I would have addressed this incident. Perhaps maybe say somewhere that there might be some language used not appropriate to certain ages. But, as you say, your blog is yours. My blog is mine. Others are theirs. Hope I am making sense and this is helpful.

  15. I think Deb hit the problem on the head, “It’s only the internet” They do not see the medium as being real and they become what in this part of the world is called a “Keyboard Warrior” It’s like Barbie, it’s a toy, it’s not real. Sick people prey on this and many of the kids think it’s a bit of fun. Computers in every classroom – personal computers (Apple MacBook Pro ) for year 8 students – emails and facebook at recess and if the computer accounts are suspended, so what…. Mum and Dad bought me a Smartphone that I can use anyway. The fact that the Australian Federal Police working with the Canadian Police broke a child pornography ring and 12 of the men arrested were right here in backward South Australia means nothing – it’s not real – it’s only the internet. This is only scratching the surface and kids as young as 10 are lighting fires, breaking into houses and cars and the police hands are tied. They take the kid home and the parents don’t care. Sorry I’ll stop here because I get really irate about the lack of consequences for anything in this society and a justice system that;s only marginally above the status of Joke.

    • When my daughter was in second grade, almost everyone of her classmates had a phone. That’s seven years old! The thirteen year old now has a dumb phone that we put minutes on when it’s needed – like if she’ll be at camp for a week and need to call. That’s it. I really don’t get the technology thing with kids. I don’t even have a smart phone, and I didn’t get a tablet (Nook) till recently.

  16. This is the responsibility of the parent, and sadly, there is no parent in that house. Children should be supervised in each and every activity, including phone and internet.
    As for your blog: Suzie, you get to write what you choose. We readers get to read your posts or close your site. We may respond, but we should be responding to content. If this child criticized you for using language that in her opinion was inappropriate, that is proof that she is too young to be reading your blog. She has not yet developed her critical thinking skills nor the ability to judge content and analogous language. If she wants age appropriate language, she should be reading age appropriate literature, of which there is a huge amount of top notch material. Her parents should be helping to provide it for her. You have no obligation to tailor your site except as it suits your needs.
    I love your freshness and youth. They shine in your posts. I love the little window you’ve opened into England. I love your readers who also enrich my experience.
    Go away, Little Girl. There will be time for you when you grow up. Right now is not your time and this blog isn’t your place.

  17. I’m guessing that the young lady in question is reading these comments, as you can’t stop anyone accessing your blog. I’m not sure that you can call a blog a personal space, because the access can’t be regulated as for as I can see. It’s an open window that anyone can peer through if they wish.
    It’s nobody’s job except the parents’ to keep an eye on the material their children access via the web and the time they spend there (and it this case, it appears to be a lot). You can ask a reader not to visit. You can’t stop them visiting, but you can moderate the comments so that they don’t appear. It’s worrying to think what other blogs she is visiting and who she could be rubbing virtual shoulders with out there; too much personal information given to strangers under the illusion that she is more grown up than she thinks could backfire on her or even be dangerous. My children don’t have Facebook accounts or blogs; the social activity they should get at there age is real, not virtual. I’d say that the best response is simply not replying.

    • I think the age for a facebook account is 13… One of these girls was 9. Far too young. I even believe that kids shouldn’t be allowed on Facebook until they’re 18 – it causes massive issues at work for me as the kids forget that they are actually talking to a real person.

      • yes but children now a days even of 10 yrs hav f.b acounts

        this is issue and hot debate whether technology like mobile and computer should be allow to children or not
        and my opinion is that how we use the technology it is on us on our thinking

      • I think my point on this is that it shouldn’t be on me, it should be on the parents to control this sort of thing if they’re stupid enough to supply a child with a powerful piece of technology. I don’t want to speak to 11 year olds on my blog.

  18. I do some posts that are more kid friendly and then some that are obviously adult. I read the ones that are kid friendly to my two girls, who I sometimes talk about on my blog. Once they helped me with a post. But I would not let one have a blog on her own, nor would I let them have facebook accounts. They do play a game called Animal Jam where they can chat with their friends, but it is highly monitored and people are easily banned right and left. And yes, I do monitor it as well and question them a lot. And they don’t have tablets. I could have afforded to get them tablets, but I figure they have plenty of time to stare at computers as adults. Let them continue to use their imagination for now.

  19. Suzie, first of all I would like to say that I enjoy reading your blog.
    I think the issue has more to do with maturity than with age. This might however be a biased opinion because I was already close to finishing 9th grade when I was 9.
    Then again, I would like to think her parents would monitor what she’s reading on the internet. I think it is a good thing that she knows not to cuss at her age, but she should just have exited from the post if she was in anyway offended by the title.

  20. Eff that kid. (Not literally, of course.) The internet is a free country!

    Say whatever you want. A blog is YOUR VOICE, and if you cuss, cuss. Don’t succumb to the lowest common denominator. This is the same principle that leaves people feeling weird about saying “Merry Christmas!” Can you believe that we live in a world where people in the office are worried about offending each other by wishing them well?!?!?!

    I hate ham. NO one should be allowed to eat it in a 2 block radius of my presence. EVER. And since I’m NOT about make an app that zeroes in on my location (I’d call it Damn Ham – oops, I said “damn!”), well, everyone should just assume I’m nearby, and lest they offend me, ban the sale and consumption of ham altogether. You know what, Ban Damn Ham… that’s my new Change.org petition.

  21. No, I wouldn’t let my children have a blog. Not that I’d have to worry about it, because they don’t like to write. Somebody should be keeping an eye on what they’re kids are up to.

  22. I can completely agree that 10 year olds shouldn’t be reading adult blogs, commenting and all. But about having a blog – if person is at least 15 years old and knows, what to do and what not do in the Internet, and doesn’t blog useless, offensive etc stuff, why not? Maybe most of teenagers don’t think with their head, when their writing down those comments and posting something but that doesn’t mean that every teenager does that. πŸ˜‰ Great post, by the way.

    • Thanks so much for your comment! I suppose that at 33, and teaching 15 year olds every day, Ive been programmed into modifying what I say around them and don’t really want to be doing that on the blog. I also think of it in that I wouldn’t hang around 15 year olds in my social life, so i wouldn’t do that when i’m on the internet either. But you’re right, there are some wonderful, mature and highly intelligent teenagers out there and it’s wrong of me to judge…

  23. In defence of parents, my daughter was/is far more computer savvy than I am, and when she was 11/12 I think anything that I managed to do in the way of vetting, she would know how to get around it. I know she had a facebook account before the age that facebook says she should, but how hard is it to lie about your date of birth? I must admit I have never considered the age of my readers, but I don’t think I write anything that I wouldn’t want a young person to read. having said that my X for the AtoZChallenge was going to be on aphrodisiacs so maybe this post has come at exactly the right time to consider what I put in it. Blessings Joy

    • Thanks Joy! I think because of the teaching background I’m always very conscious of any form of communication I have with children outside of school, although I appreciate that many have great parents who monitor what they do and who they talk to. I just know so many though who don’t, and I’ve seen some really awful messages between kids on social media. Thanks for the parental perspective though!

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