What is a Blog?

The word “blog” is a relatively new one, and as a parent, Webster may not be able to come to your rescue this time. The term is a contraction of the words “web log”, and these easy to set up websites are popular with parents, businesses, and teens alike. Blogs are revolutionizing the internet, and along the way creating another privacy concern for parents.

A blog is traditionally a diary – an online page where your son or daughter may be sharing their deepest thoughts, wishes, and fears with their online community. Most people who use their blogs for personal insight (such as your teenager) post day to day events, family pictures, and generally keep the world updated on what they do each day or week. They then link to other blogs on topics that interest them, and build traffic among other bloggers.

While a blog can be a terrific creative outlet for a teenager, if used appropriately, it can also be an extremely dangerous source of information to a predator, stalker, or even another teen with a grudge against your son or daughter. A simple post about winning the evening’s basketball game, for example, with a picture of your teen in their jersey could give away a lot of information – Your child’s school, their evening schedule (games and practices), what they look like, and the town that they live in. Combined with other information that your teen may have casually posted in a profile or “About Me” section, there may be more information available about them online than you’d like.

Another issue with blogs is that their content is often emotionally charged. Imagine knowing that the details of your latest fight with your ex-spouse are being posted across the internet, from your teenager’s point of view? Or that your teen is sharing details about their sexual activity on the internet, but not with you? Blogs, like any other internet medium, should be carefully monitored to ensure that private information remains private.

You will need to find a time to sit down with your teenager and set clear guidelines for internet usage, including blogging. Establish clear rules for internet use, and be sure that your child provides you with all user names and passwords for his or her blog. Monitor the history files on your computer carefully, and be sure to keep an idea of where your child may be going online.

Blogging is not necessarily a harmful pastime, but there is great potential for loss of privacy. By setting and following a few key guidelines, you can help ensure that your family’s private issues remain private, and that your child’s identity and location are secure. Be a proactive parent, and stop internet dangers before they begin.

Have a great day!