This is Part 2 of a Post on Kids Online. See Part 1 at: Its Now Popular to Start Your Fetus or Baby’s Online Presence – Are You’re Babies Online?
In a previous Post, I discussed setting up your childs internet footprint early on and how popular its becoming. Should you’re child before birth have an email, .com and Social Media profiles reserved in their names? Should you let children blog?
I spoke with one of my favorite online personalities, Tamara Schilling, whose 9 year old son Parker, runs his own Blog: Parkerisms.com. His Blog chronicles his experiences and outlook on life, at ages where one can look innocently upon the world and share the wonder.
I interviewed Tamara about her reasons and experiences for the blog and she shared with me her very well thought out strategy of allowing her young son to Blog. She felt it was important to “Give him the ability to express himself and exposing himself to people and the experience of business.” She also sees it as a way, that he maybe able to pursue it further years from now, as Blog providing income to him. Certainly, many of the most popular blogs online usually have been around for almost a decade and that would give Parker a head start with plenty of built up Content and Audience.
Parker is also challenged with Autism. Tamara has found that the blog also helps in his Social Development and in her relationship with him connecting socially. It gives him an outlet to share that perspective, in growing up as a child in his state. She said, “It teaches him the importance of human interaction with relationships through the vehicle of technology.” Personally, I think every child can learn better social skills from Blogging and what better way as a child or teenager to be able to learn to discuss, share and communicate expressing yourself. In a teens confused and troubled years, this maybe the perfect thing to help them through those times.
Unfortunatly, being online comes with the dangers of predators and issues. The attacks of haters and hackers one will experience, pale in comparision to online predators and keeping your children safe. One of the Companies I owned years ago, was an Acting/Modeling Agency. All of the Talent Agencies in town were contacted by the police after they had found online predators cruising photos in our Children’s Online Portfolio area of our websites. Shocked, we removed the section from our website completely.
Letting your children online is not for the absentee parent. Tamara has well thought out ways of protecting her and her childs safety of being online. Here are her suggestions.
1. Its important the child WANTS to Blog. You shouldnt push the child to post or pursue it if they dont want to.
2. Setup the domain with a private register setting. That way your address is not broadcast on whois.com’s of the internet publicly. She also suggested going one step further, registering the domain with a P.O. Box address.
3. Website Emails and Contact come to her first for review, not the childs.
4. She never uses Parkers true last name, only his first.
5. She makes sure to shield hers and the childs address or location (think GPS) in all of the Posts he makes. Never talking or naming his specific school, city or areas photographed etc.
6. In all of his Social Profiles the location disclosures are turned off. In Todays popular check in Apps and Location identifying Web Browsers, this is an important task.
7. In photos and videos, she has to make sure they DO NOT disclose any location/GPS markings and that the backgrounds of pictures dont help identify his city and or address.
8. I’d suggest making sure photos that could be “provocative” not be posted, pedophiles are sickly disturbed people, that see things in a way we dont comprehend. Photo’s you see online of those little girls dressed up for Little Miss contests creep me out as to who could be seeing them. While this might be good for their exposure, I would create registries and logins to their site, in order to see their pictures. Including, tracking internet IP addresses. I would avoid shirtless and bathing suit shots. Even shirtless baby shots. Remember, you dont want to present your children online as a lure, fishing for creeps.
9. Privacy Settings. Privacy settings in Social Media are constantly changing. Its important as a parent you stay on top of them and manage them to protect your child.
Other challenges maybe that for all that effort the online world of the internet and the companies that represent Social Media will probably change. Apps have been taking over, its probable your child should also have an iPhone/Android App reserved etc. Facebook and Twitter will likely be replaced years on from now by the latest thing. Who knows, we may Tweet or Blog telepathically. As if parents didnt have enough to do, now they have to keep up on the latest online technologies.
All in all, I think its a great way for children to learn to create and express themselves. Like anything else in life, dangers are present. But, I can see it helping them possibly becoming a budding entrepreneur who sees the world as it could be. When I was a kid you’d say, “My Dad can beat up you’re Dad!” In the future, maybe in Elementary Halls it will be “My Blog gets more traffic and is higher ranked on Google than you’re Blog!” We used to throw dirt clods against the side or our house when we were kids. With Blogs, iPads and iPhones, I’m excited to see what these children’s future will become.
You can read more about Tamara & Parker at their Blogs below:
Tamara Schilling’s Website
Please add more ideas and Comments below!