January 4th, 2007



Suddenly, all this "my kid has a blog" stuff seems much more serious than the funny little frolic I had sort of blithely assumed it would be. Karin had been agitating for a 'wabsit' for weeks. She went so far as to draw up an instruction sheet listing all the things she wanted her website to have.

Translation for the 7-year-old's-writing-impaired: Karins website. What there is: spel (games), calendar, search things, send to someone, make books to print, work with letters, write what you want to have and web email.

After trying to explain the differences in websites in terms a child her age could comprehend, I managed to get it across that most of things she was thinking of were on the kinds of websites that weren't really for little kids in the sense of a "place to play and post photos" and that she might be better off with the kind of online journal that mommy has, albeit on a much smaller scale.

The extent of her internet experience has been getting to play games once in a while on various kid-friendly websites (Disney, Lego, Nickelodeon), exclaiming over photos or pictures of cats and puppies seen from my journal, along with certain people's userpics, and watching YouTube clips vetted by her parents. She has her own email address but the only people who have ever sent her email are her grandma, her cousins and a family friend and she wouldn't know where to start to open the email program and write one herself. She IS only 7.5, which is sometimes hard for me to keep in mind.

I honestly think it's okay that she has an online place to play and write things so long as Anders and I keep a discerning eye out for her and for all the internet psychopaths friendly friends of lizardek that might follow her over from MY journal.

But I got the distinct feeling after linking to her new journal that red flags went flying up all over the blogosphere from concerned friends everywhere. Karin has no real clue about what the internet is, or how it works, or what to expect or look out for. That's MY job, at this point. She just wants to be cool and post things that she's interested in and photos that she likes. Every time she sees a picture of a kitten or a puppy, for example, she exclaims that she wants that on her website! and I have yet to figure out how to explain the concept of copyright and ownership and hotlinking and hosting images and dear god what have I gotten myself into? So, mostly I tell her that no, she can't take other people's photos, but she can LINK to them (and then I bog down in explaining links to a 7-year-old...go ahead, you over there snickering in the corner, you try it and see how easy it is) or she can post her OWN photos (and mommy can host them, of course).

Anyway, I just want to make it clear that I don't expect everyone who reads my journal to rush over and keep track of my daughter's online doings or add her to their flist or blogroll or anything. I haven't shown her how to read her friends page and probably won't, since most of the people who are or will be on her LJ friendslist are friends of MINE at this point, and no offense, but while I enjoy reading my online friends ramblings, quite a lot of it isn't exactly age-appropriate for my daughter. I also don't expect anyone who friends her to have to censor themselves because Karin might happen on over to their journal. So she most likely won't be visiting or commenting on other people's journals or getting involved in the online community the way I am or the way YOU are, and that's how it should be. Until, of course, she discovers MySpace at which point I'm sure I'll crawl into bed and put the covers over my head for the remainder of her adolescence.

She's been thrilled at the comments that she HAS gotten, and I'm touched and grateful that my friends are being so kind to her and looking out for her at the same time. I want her to have fun, and I plan to make sure she has a safe and amusing environment to do that in.

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