Now that kids have gotten excited about writing online, how does a teacher or parent ensure internet safety for children and that the blog is safe for their kid? There are many blogs on the Internet that are specifically for kids and only allow kids to comment. This provides a blanket internet safety for children website but is by no means comprehensive. Parents and teachers still need to be diligent when children are on the internet.
Blogs by Kids, http://www.blogsbykids.com/, is an excellent example of how to model internet safety for children. The blogger only uses a first name, no other reference to identity is given other than the child’s sex which is unavoidable. No reference to the blogger’s physical location is ever mentioned nor or any reference to local events/games/school is made at any point in the blog. The blogger writes about a variety of subjects and yet does not get too personal. Comics are embedded, inferences to popular books are made but the blogger is still very careful about insuring that blog safety rules and internet safety for children are followed.
A teacher can set up a safe and controlled classroom blog at kidblog.org, http://kidblog.org/home.php. There are neither advertisements nor widgets to distract the students from the focus of blogging. The general public cannot access the blogs and no emails are ever used nor stored on the website. Blogging is a very social activity; there is two-way communication. In both blogsbykids and kidblog, comments can be controlled and removed if the comment is inappropriate or the comments can be blocked altogether which helps provide internet safety for children. This allows for the child to express opinions in many different mediums and yet remain only a first name or an avatar figure.
At Hellokids.com, http://www.hellokids.com/t_2856/blogs-for-kids, each child chooses an identity, which comes from a template and is never the child’s picture or any person picture. While sign up is free, the parent must show validation that the person for whom the account is being activated is a child. The website blogs all have an animal interest focus and include a wide variety of animals activities to spark interaction as well as stories geared directly toward the age group of the children.
While there are many blogs sites out on the internet, choosing a safe blog for kids will still take some time and looking at details, reading the fine print and above all reading what is posted to ensure internet safety for children.