I have a classroom blog and take complete responsibility for each kid and each post. I have a 4th grade student who wants his own blog, I DO NOT plan to even look at it but will notify his parents if he sets it up. Do you know of a site that hosts student blogs for kids under 13? I'm going to tell him about Weebly, as a webpage maker. Thanks in advance. N.

Tags: 13, blogs, for, old, under, year

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I'm curious, Nancy,

Why does he say he wants his own blog?
Anne, Who knows! I honestly have no idea but guess he actually wants to learn how to get his personal presence on the web, I've suggested Weebly and he may build a website and get off the blog kick. I don't let my classroom bloggers discuss 'frivilous' or personal (diary-like) stuff--fav color, band, what I had for breakfast,etc on the class blog. I've refused to be party over the years to letting kids create 'stupid' websites under my tuteledge, telling them there is enough junk out there already. If a student wants to do a website I make sure they research the content first,I don't think we need another website with bad clipart, horrific design and plagiarized content on pandas or dophins!!

I don't want to discourage website or blog development, I know some of my kids are actually ready to take a further step, but want to make sure they understand their 'digital footprint'. How was that for a rambling answer to a simple question? N.

Is he aware of the dangers of being so visible online without the supervision of you, and close supervision from his parents? Will he, if working on his own, not give out his full name, address or other contact information? Will he be wary of people who get too friendly and want to meet him? Could he be seeking friends himself, perhaps out of his own age/peer group?

If the website on Weebly meets his needs, that is good. He needs to be under the supervision of an adult who is aware of all the dangerous elements out there.

If I were in your position, I would press for a really good reason for him to have his own space online. And, if his reason is that he wants to socialize online, put him under the supervision of his parents and make sure that the parents know the dangers and to not allow him privacy online.

I know I sound like a protective nanny, but unfortunately while I am all in favor of kids getting online, I also do not feel they should do so without close adult supervision.
I agree that kids need to be cautious and I will notify his parents if he sets anything up. He won't work on it in my class and I will notify his classroom teacher, too. BUT how many underage kids are on the web through MySpace and Facebook and even kids' networks like Sparktop, Woogi World, Whyville, Club Penguin or Webkinz. My approach has been one of educating the kids to make good decisions on the web (and elsewhere). Kids do a million things we adults don't know about. N.

I guess I worry about what I don't know, and try not to think about what I don't. If parents allow kids to get on MySpace or Facebook, then they are responsible for what happens. But, if he is using you for the permission to do it, you need to either have the supervision, or let the parents (and the homeroom teacher) know what he intends to do.

When I had the little ones on the Internet, I was always on my feet, roaming around the room, making sure that they were in appropriate places. When I had teenagers online back in the (relatively speaking) safe old days, I still felt the need to continually monitor them and make sure they were doing as expected.
Parents don't 'allow' kids (underage or not) on social networking sites---the kids just do it. Read an interesting article recently that shared a research study--basically it said that kids who do risky stuff online are the same ones who do risky stuff offline. I actually agree with you--many teachers are very naive when it comes to what their kids are doing online--but that ain't me.

I should direct my concerns to the boy's parents rather than to you.

Some naive teachers think that because parents let a kid do risky things, or parents who do mean things to their kids, that makes it OK for teachers to do so. But there is a difference. Parents don't need a license to parent, but teachers need a license to teach. Responsibility goes with that license or certificate. And, I am not directing that to you personally.
Unlike some people here and many of the edubloggers, I don't think technology is the end all and be all for kids in the classroom and out. Even though I've presented at NECC and other venues over the years and used technology for the last 20 years with my students I see some downsides. I think a lot of the skills kids (especially teens) use today as low level skills--txting, uploading videos of fights in the restrooms, downloading pirated music and movies etc pretty low level skills. I also think video games turns kids brains to mush. I still put my money on a real, rich and relevant curriculum no matter how it is accessed. I'm glad I'm retiring soon---I can only hope for great systemic changes in education over the next few years but I'm not holding my breath. Not starting an argument just stating the contrarian view. Have a good day, N.



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