About a week ago, my nephew asked me if I would help him set up a blog. He’d already asked his Mum and Dad if he could make one, and they said it was ok so long as I’d supervise him (me being the web-savvy one of us all). Naturally, I said yes and have agreed to do it the next time I was round at their house, but I was also a little bit concerned about it. You see that as great and wonderful as the blogosphere is, sometimes it isn’t the best place for a nine year old to be in. Sure there are a few areas of the internet that you question if it is safe for youngsters to dip their toe into and some of those sites have a minimum age for signups for a reason, but for me a blog is up there with Facebook and twitter in being a place you don’t want a very young kid to feature in, whether it’s a parent mentioning their name or putting photos of them up on what is a public forum. I have a special hatred of people using images of their little ones as their FB profile pics. Of course you are proud of your kids but do you realise how stupid you are showing their faces for all the world to see?
I know that my nephew probably won’t be using his blog to reveal the deepest secrets of his family. He is a sensible kid and he’s already aware of the dangers of the internet. He knows not to give away personal details online and that not everyone he encounters while playing Club Penguin may be what they may make themselves out to be, plus he always uses his computer where his parents can monitor what he does online. I know that his parents would not let him do something like this without supervision. While I want to help my nephew start his own site and show him the joy of writing and publishing his own little posts, I want to also protect him from the more unsavoury side of things. I want to shield him from the trolls and the cyberbullies who don’t know or care who they target with their abuse. I also don’t want him to be subjected to endless junk comments containing links to dubious sites (I know that this isn’t always 100 percent preventable). Ultimately, I just want him to have fun running his own website and sharing his own thoughts and pictures on it. Because blogging is fun, and there are loads of lovely people, from all walks of life, sharing things with the world. I will sure as hell stop the minority from ruining the experience for him.
I haven’t set it up with him yet as he’s been off school with chicken pox but when I do I think I had better make sure he isn’t able to encounter his auntie’s blog.