My ten year old daughter approached me with that pleading gleam in her eye. What was she after this time? Money? Sweets? A phone? I steeled myself to say no to all three
Mummy can I have a blog?
Well, I wasn't expecting that one. With the rise of mummy blogging over the last few years, perhaps it's inevitable that our children will start looking over our shoulders and want a piece of the online action. And blogging technology has become so simple now that a child can and will do it.
Last year a study by the National Literacy Trust claimed that children who blog have improved literacy skills.
And this summer the Kids Travel 2 website launched a children's summer holiday blog project. Some schools even include blog writing as part of their literacy studies, so your child could be logging on when they go back to school.
But is it all good news? What else is my child being exposed to if she is let loose on the internet?
In fact strict security precautions are fairly easy to put in place - you can set your blog so it's not searchable on the internet, or lock it down completely so that only readers you invite can read it. It can be a good introduction to online safety, as you teach your child about setting strong passwords and not giving details of their life online (no last names, no identifying places). You can also set it so that all comments must be approved before they're published.
Sian To of Mummy Tips, is the joint founder of the CyberMummy blogging conference and has two blogging children in the family. Sonny 9, writes product reviews and blogs about his life and Biba 8, has recently begun a photo a day project blog. These are her top tips for parents whose children want to blog:
Make blogging something that you do together.
Invest time together in creating a blog that your child is proud of.
Use their blog as an opportunity to boost literacy and communication skills.
Always use your own email address as contact so that you can monitor who is contacting your mini blogger.
Allow your child to have free rein, make sure that you read everything that they write before if is displayed for the whole world to see.
Publish location data on your childs blog.
So with this in mind, my daughter logged on to Blogger and within half an hour had created a pretty snazzy looking blog. Her runaway enthusiasm has led to dozens of posts within a matter of days - lots of links to funny cats, and musings about life, the universe and everything. As a parent it feels slightly odd to read, like you've been given permission to sneak a peek at your child's diary. But as a creative outlet, it's hard to beat.
Child bloggers worth reading around the world:
The Style Rookie - Thirteen-year-old US fashion blogger with way too many clothes.
Zoe's Book Blog - Book reviews from a Scottish 12-year-old.
Amy's Short Stories - Stories by a 10-year-old who's autistic. Daughter of blogger Crystal Jigsaw.
Lib Dem Child - A 10-year-old with a surprisingly passionate blog about their political beliefs.
Foodie at Fifteen - Though now he's 17 and still intent on running a restaurant.
What do you think?
Would you let your child start a blog?