Blogging, in its simplest form, can be equated to a modern version of writing a diary. And of course, plenty of children and older people still do that. But writing – and importantly – maintaining a blog teaches a child many useful disciplines.
First, unlike a diary, which is a simple record of facts and events, in a blog children can be encouraged to write about anything which captures their imagination. That means giving them freedom from the restrictions imposed by the school curriculum, and so spending some time letting their imagination lead them wherever it may go.
Some people, though, stress that this route of expressing themselves should not be used at the expense of direct personal interaction, and parents and siblings should be sure to encourage a blogging son, daughter, brother or sister to continue to talk to them face-to-face.
As they enter their teenage years, children often yearn for a way of asserting their independence, and a blog can be a way of doing this. However, it is important for parents to be aware of whom their offspring are reaching out to in their blog, and what other people are saying to them in response.
But rather than imposing strict rules on what young people can and can’t say, a blog can also be a way of parents learning exactly what their children are capable of, where their strengths lie, and therefore, how they can help with their education and general advancement.
Naturally, it can be easier for a child to write something in their blog than it could be for them to say it to anyone else. Again, provided anything they write which is considered alarming or worrying is confronted head-on, but in a sympathetic manner, this can be a very positive experience for a young and developing mind.
And on the subject of developing their minds, blogging is also likely to expose a young person to ways in which other people outside their immediate circle express themselves, and in doing so, give them confidence to use their language to greater potential, thinking about the ways in which various nuances can be attached to what is said.
A great benefit of blogging, too, which applies to people of all ages, is that it can teach you how to react to other people when they offer feedback on what you write. And at a young age, learning how to take criticism and other people’s observations constructively, and apply them to what they do in future, is a lesson which is sure to make a big difference to how they present themselves, and also, how easily they learn from others who might have a lot to offer which is of benefit.
Gemma Kelly is a freelance writer about education and related topics such as classroom technology like interactive whiteboards (IWB)