Help your teen blog

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The other day I was reading a book. It is a series of interviews with the wife of a renowned Buddhist philosopher. In that she has explained how her habit of keeping household books of account and writing a page in her diary everyday has helped her become disciplined in life, apart from using the same as a reference material for events, dates, etc. It has also made her happy since writing the day’s events has helped her to vent out her emotions constructively. She feels a sense of calm when she goes back to reading it thinking her anger is out in words, it didn’t harm anyone, including herself. That got me thinking it is so important to hear yourself out before actually saying what you want to say. That’s why I am a supporter of writing and maintaining a diary. I too recorded all the happy and unhappy times in my life in a diary. I stopped when I got busy and bored of reading the same old stuff again and again (LOL), but I did write it practically all my teen years. And I must mention that it really helped me bust the stress of growing up years. These days, the teens have no time to sit, write and maintain a diary. However, if you really agree with the point of writing down, then why not encourage your teen to start writing a blog?

 

Why blog?

A blog is also the same as the diary. The only difference is that a diary is more personal, while a blog is out there for the world to read, comment and make observations. But that is what the teens today seek, social-peer approval and attention, right? So many things they do because they see their friends doing the same. Writing a blog would be their way to express themselves to their target group. It will also make them feel responsible as in they’d imagine the world waiting for them to update their blog, so they would make it point to write every day. And then, they would also be following other bloggers so they would learn a thing or two about blogging or writing in general. It is a great way to improve your writing skills at the same time.

 

How to start blogging?

Our kids may seem to know everything that is there to know about technology. Yet, our responsibility as digital parents makes it imperative to handhold them in to the world of blogging. First things first. Find out if your teen is really interested in writing at all? If he is, then make him comfortable with the idea of his thoughts being read by people he knows and those whom he doesn’t know. If he is not really comfortable sharing his feelings with his circle, then you can suggest he chooses a screen name or some kind of avatar to hide his real identity. This is actually a good thing too. You don’t want unwanted people visiting your child’s blog. Make sure your teen doesn’t reveal too many details about his life.

Next is deciding the subject. What is it that he would like to write about? There are thousands of bloggers out there writing on just about anything under the sun, including poems, food, science, toys, travel and so on and so forth. Brainstorm with your kid to find out what he wants his blog to be on, something that interests him immensely. If he can’t think of anything, then just guide him to start blogging about what comes to his mind initially. Later, he can decide for himself.

 

Watch out

Once, he starts writing the most crucial thing to be always kept in mind is that nothing on the internet is ever lost. A word of slander against anyone in particular can remain there for eternity. If someone is hurt by the written word there, it can be used to drag the writer to court too. So, the children must be told of the consequences of what they write. Ensure they know that this platform is not to spread rumours or hurt anyone at all. It is a constructive, productive way to engage with others.

 

Once they start writing, they will start getting comments on their blog posts. Make them respond to comments on the blog to encourage interaction with like minded people, from a distance. This will help them take criticism positively and improve too.

 

Name and fame

Writing a blog is cathartic, and it can pay you big bucks too. Once the blog starts getting good traffic, one can always open it up for advertising. There are many teen bloggers who have achieved a celebrity status too like Tavi Gevinson who started a fashion blog at the age of 12. Today, she is a magazine editor and an actor too. Jeremy Salamon is another famous blogger who is a cook and started his blog when he was a teenager. His blog now features interviews with celebrity chefs and he gives recipes too.

 

In the ultimate analysis…

Yes there is a danger of our kids falling into the trap of cyber stalking. Yes they can mingle with the wrong kind of people online who can turn out to be sexual predators, hackers, cyber bullies and what have you. But, it is equally true that they stand to gain immensely from the world of internet. Let’s help them every step of the way in what is our duty as parents and as digital parents.

 

Anu Bhambhani

Having worked with some of the leading names in the publishing industry, Anu is now an independent editorial consultant. After working for over 11 years, she is now working from home to be able to look after her little girl. When she is not writing (her first love), she is happy cooking, reading and learning nursery rhymes, a new one everyday to keep her toddler entertained and of course taking family vacations

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