An interesting discussion occured tonight. My 12 year old, Rhiannon, enjoys writing and journalling and we have been helping her build online businesses and blogging. I have noticed how her written expression has improved as a result of this.
I wanted to let her develop her own personal blog where she can journal about her life, not necessarily about business. Her Dad asked the obvious question, “shouldn’t we protect her from the Internet”. An intersting dilemma that I posted to a journalling Skype room that I am a member of and a very insightful discussion between three of us ensued.
The upshot of the discussion was that with appropriate guidance and trust, with a level of parental oversight, she will be safe. This means that I get to see everything she’s posting and moderate the comments that she receives.
I will instill in her is the fact that once you have posted something, it is VERY hard (if not impossible) to remove that post from the Internet. What you post leaves an impression of your character, now and forever.
Our discussion really centered around the fact that young people need to learn the value of exposure while also learning the responsibility that goes with it and that with my guidance , she will be OK.
One of the things that I do want her to benefit from is the fact that her ‘name’ is publicized and her ability to write and communicate is well known. This view was supported by my colleague who noted:
I believe that by having her name established so young, she will benefit in the long run and I can control much of what she ‘sees’. As long as she has a balanced life and not only tied to her computer I see no harm in it. At least she is at home and you can monitor what she is exposed to through her own exposure.
This made for further interesting discussion. I truly believe that children require ‘guidelines’ and rules to develop. Sure, children will push at those boundaries but that is how they learn responsibility and appropriate behaviour. I most certainly don’t believe in controlling my kids, I think that is a recipe for disaster. Instead, I give my children options within appropriate boundaries and, ensure that they incur appropriate consequences of their decisions. As hard as it is, there are times that I need to let me kids fail at something so they learn the lesson.
Interestingly, I also want my children to feel that I am their friend and confidante and would prefer that they are comfortable enough to bring their friends home. This means that I need to strike a balance between control and guidance. So far, it seems that it is working – whilst my son will often say that I ’embarrass’ him, he is very comfortable in bringing friends home.
So, the upshot of our discussion? My daughter has a domain name and will start her personal blog in the next few days. As her Mum, I will keep a vigilant eye over her activities.