For the last two weeks, I've been talking about the pitfalls and blessings of having your child on Facebook
. This week, I'd like to focus on a slightly different communication venue. Should your child have a blog? Just as there are both blessings and dangers with Facebook, there are slightly different blessings and dangers with a blog. This week, I'm going to focus on the positive aspects and next week I'll focus on the negative ones. Here we go...
1. Typing skills
. While you may only post a limited amount of characters on a Facebook post, a blog gives your child the ability to type as long as he or she would like. This allows your child to practice a very important skill used heavily in the Information Age!
2. Spelling, punctuation and grammar skills!
Because your child will be typing more than one liners, quotes or sentence fragments, he will be able to practice the art of writing! This includes little things lost on most of the youth today like spelling, grammar, punctuation, making paragraphs, using a topic sentence, etc. Keep in mind that most blogs like Wordpress or Blogger have a built in spell check that will auto correct when mistakes are made. If you ask your son to pay attention to these corrections, instead of ignoring them, he can learn how to spell, punctuate, etc.
If you employ the use of a nature journal or other journaling, a blog is a fabulous way to keep your child's journal! No mess. No storage problem and no cross outs!
4. No interaction.
If you are worried about the "socialization" your child might be involved in while on a social networking site like Facebook, you can eliminate that issue completely with blogging by turning off the comments feature. If you're worried a bit about privacy, you might want to consider that while a social networking site is designed to be more visible, people pay big bucks to have their website or blog appear on the top of the search engines! While your son's blog may be accessible by anyone on the net, it's much less likely that anyone will unless the exact URL is given out. And you can control that.
. If your child has been having a difficult time with a particular issue, it can be beneficial for him to write about it. While you may not want this type of deeply personal information to be posted on a public place like Facebook, it might be acceptable to you and to him to post it on a blog.
6. Become an Author.
Your child's writings may become a best selling book one day! There have been many stories of people who started writing their thoughts on a blog and turned those articles or blog posts into a book. Feed your child's passion by allowing him a venue to air his ideas, feelings or passions. Does he love taking pictures? Have him post his art on a blog. Does your daughter have a passion for sharing her ideas on abortion? Have her create a series of blog posts from them as she thinks of them.
7. Write articles.
Does your child have an ambition to get into journalism? Have him write a series of articles on current events. Do you homeschool and want a way to keep your daughter's essays? Have her keep them on a blog. At the end of the year, you'll have easy access to her work and can even print them all off to show her work to grandparents.
8. Sharing ideas and keeping in touch.
Blogging is a great way for your child to keep in touch with family and friends living far away. Your daughter can post what's going on in her life and her friends and family can post comments in reply. It's much less expensive than texting and it allows all who know her url to have her post available to read and reread.
9. Chronicle a trip, a mission, an idea or a time of life
. When my daughter left to be a Russian exchange student for a semester, she started a blog to chronicle her experiences. It was such fun for family and friends to read about her life there and now she has a permanent record of them she can go back to whenever she likes. Your son can chronicle his experiences in 8th grade, working at a part time job, volunteering at a soup kitchen, etc. The possibilities are endless.
10. Start a business.
Sometimes our children have a unique idea that catches on. Why not start posting about it on a blog? Later on, you can add a shopping cart to sell an eBook he wrote on that topic or use things like Google Adsense to generate revenue to save for his college expenses.
Blogging is more like writing where as Facebook is more like texting. Blogging allows your child to perfect his writing skills and also other communication skills as he responds to the comments left on his blog by friends and family. He'll learn how to be diplomatic, how to take criticism, how to be an effective communicator in writing. Blogging is a great way to introduce your child to communication skills he may not otherwise be exposed to at a young age. This can serve him well in life as he gets older.
I hope you found these tips helpful. Next week I'm going to share the negative aspects of blogging. Until then, share your experiences in blogging. Do you blog? Do you allow your children to blog? What have you found helpful about blogging?