We can forget at times the diverse range of individuals making up the blogging community and Abbie and I had a recent thought…Are we protecting young bloggers?
Throughout this blog collaboration, you’ll notice A and J. Each part with an A before the content is Abbie’s words, and J for mine. Enjoy the blog and do let us know your thoughts.
A: Over the past few months it has occurred that a lot of young people are starting to blog, but are they aware of what they are doing? Working with young children really opens your eyes to what children are doing on the internet.
J: Both Abbie and I have worked in education; Abbie still is. The topic became apparent when we connected in a blog chat and we started talking about what could be perceived as good and bad points for protecting young bloggers.
A: Working with young children really opens your eyes to what children are doing on the internet. The other day I asked an eight-year-old what he wanted to be when he was older and his response was ‘I want to be a youtuber’, when asked why he said ‘it’s easier to be a youtuber than a doctor and I get paid to sit in front of a camera’. I was quite shocked at the response I was given, but then I was even more shocked when he told me he already makes youtube videos on his own youtube account and his parents did not know that this was happening. This however turned into a huge discussion of how the internet is not always a safe place and his parents need to be aware of what he is doing so that they can help protect him.
J: What do you think of what Abbie experienced? With blogging now grabbing the attention of young people, even those aged 8, is there safety issues around young bloggers being involved in the blogosphere?
A: I also had a conversation with a ten-year-old girl who told me she wanted to be just like Zoella when she is older. She then went on to tell me she has already signed up to Blogger and is writing posts about make-up and dating boys. This is a ten-year-old girl who doesn’t wear make-up and doesn’t have a boyfriend. At least this time the child’s parents knew that she would write blog posts and publish them but they were not aware of what she was writing and thought that only her friends could read her blog posts.
J: Does parental consent change things? Is it needed for privacy settings to oversee the readers who can view a young person’s blog?
A: This is just two children out of millions around the world, so how many children under the age of 14 are actually blogging? Should we be putting an age limit on children who can publicize their life all over the internet for the world to see?
J: When I put a tweet out a few weeks ago, feelings were mixed. There was a huge component of allowing freedom in a young person’s life and allowing them to blog, but with specific limits. Would limits actually stop people from blogging?
A: We all know that social media has age limit, but who actually sticks to them? When you have celebrities like the Beckhams who have their children on Instagram, yes their accounts are private but isn’t it going against the rules? Most social medias have an age limit of 14 but do we actually believe that children are going to wait until they are 14 when they have the ambition to be ‘youtubers’ and ‘beauty bloggers.’
J: One thing I think about all too often is the perception. The perception that others have of bloggers and assuming that they can have accounts like everyone else. Is this something we can stop? Of course not, but it’s a reflection of modern day technology and communication.
A: We all know that we are never going to stop young people from doing these things so is there a way that we can help protect them? Most people would argue that this is down to the parents but my parents didn’t always know what I was doing on the computer as they were just as new to the whole internet world as I was. We come from the generation who were given the internet, we were the first ones to experiment and help build this social media world. I for one, was very vulnerable when it came to social media and the life of bebo and myspace, so should we be doing something to prevent the vulnerability of these young girls and boys?
J: Blogging chats are an interesting consideration. I wanted to raise this after Abbie’s content, as how can we even take into consideration someone’s age during a chat?
Can we be there to oversee interactions?
Can we teach one another on the do’s and don’ts of safe communications?
I want to put this to you, as just because we’re a blogger it isn’t our duty to watch out for young bloggers? Or any blogger for that matter?
So should age really be a consideration when it comes to blogging? Should there be an age limit? Should parents have more control over privacy settings for their children?
Should there be any worry at all about age and blogging?
Let us know your thoughts below, we’d love to get a discussion started.