For many teens blogs are a creative outlet, a way to develop a technical skill set, and a fun way to express themselves.
Does your child have a blog? And if so, what Internet safety questions to you need to be asking your blogging kids.
Question #1: What is your blog about?
Your child's first answer will be “I don't know... stuff.” But ask again with interest. Is it an online journal? A site dedicated to their favorite celebrity? A place for their favorite book and movie reviews? If they are very secretive about the basic contents of their blog, it may be time to get concerned.
Question #2: Can I read your blog?
A teen who hesitates to let you read their blog isn't necessarily doing anything inappropriate – but it could be a sign that they are sharing too much private or personal information.
Question #3: What do you think your blog says about you?
This question can help you figure out your child's motivations in setting up the blog in the first place. It can also help them to re-examine how the blog's content might look to others, and how it might reflect on them personally.
Question #4: Are there any privacy settings on your blog?
For safety's sake, all kids should have some type of security on their blog. It's easy to find blogs that can be password protected or accessed by invitation only. If your child's blog isn't private, find out why not.
Question #5: Would you feel comfortable with anyone reading your blog?
Even private blogs could be read by someone other than the intended audience. How would your child feel if their blog was visited by their teachers, classmates, grandparents, or future employers?
Question #6: Does anyone else have the password?
Find out whether anyone else contributes or can make changes to your child's blog. Does your child share the password with anyone?
Question #7: Just from visiting your blog, what would a stranger know about you?
This question can help kids read their blogs with fresh eyes. Do they name their friends, their school, their hometown, or their favorite hangouts? Chances are that your blogging kids are revealing more identifying information about themselves than they realize.
Blogs are great ways for kids to express themselves and be creative, but they can be a safety risk if your child doesn't think critically about their blog and everything they post. Asking these 7 questions is a non-confrontational way to help guide your kids toward blogging safely.