Did You Know?

28% of online teens (ages 12-17) have created their own blogs.

Lenhart A. Teens and Social Media. Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2007.

I don’t mean to be mean but I have had enough with homework. – Tween blogger   

Do you ever wonder what your children think about? Perhaps you should read their Web logs or “blogs.” Blogs are a type of online journal that children use to share their thoughts and feelings; they may be in written or video format. Posting blogs allows children to develop both their technical and creative skills. It also lets them connect to other users with similar interests and write about their experiences, their personal lives, popular culture, and any other topic that crosses their minds. 

If done safely, blogging can be a good exercise that encourages critical thinking and creative writing. Unfortunately, children sometimes forget their blogs are not private and share information not intended for outsiders. Then, there are those children who simply do not care if their information is public; the more eyes they attract, the better.

Risky Behavior

Some blogs track the number of visitors and have places for their audiences to comment or rate them. As a result, children may engage in risky behavior—such as posting intimate details—in order to gain popularity on the Internet. Other risky behavior includes not using privacy settings, or posting inappropriate or illegal content.

These risky behaviors leave children open to being targeted by predators and cyberbullies. For example, a child’s peers may take information shared in a blog and use it to humiliate him at school. Likewise, a child sharing inappropriate content in a blog may find herself suspended from school or losing out on future educational opportunities. They might also find themselves approached by someone who intends them harm.


Help children blog safely

Does your child have a blog? Use the blogging rule of thumb! Never post anything in a blog that you would not want to share with everyone you know.

  • Establish guidelines with your child before allowing him or her to blog, such as reviewing your child’s blogs before posting.
  • Ensure that your child is using privacy settings.
  • Have your child remove any identifying information from all postings—full names, ages, locations, phone numbers, and school names.
  • Caution your child about the dangers of posting inappropriate or provocative information or images. Once something is posted online, it cannot be taken back.
  • Encourage your child to come to you if anything on the blog site makes him or her feel uncomfortable.


Discussion Starters

Start a discussion with your child

Use these discussion starters to get an Internet safety conversation going with your children. The more often you talk to them about online safety, the easier it will get, so don’t get discouraged if they don’t respond immediately!

  • Do you keep a blog? Could I read it?
  • Who do you think is reading your blog?
  • Would you feel comfortable letting anyone read your blog?
  • Is your blog set to private? Why or why not?
  • What do you think your blog says about you?
  • Can you show me some of your favorite blogs?