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CYBERMOTHER HEN
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.

 determined
mood: determined
music: Triumph—Magic Power
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Comments

I never doubted for a moment that you were right on top of things. :) You're a concerned, involved mom and it's very evident in everything you write.

thanks for the vote of confidence! :)

A distant friend of mine (who is blogging just the same) had her 10 year old son set up his own account last year. He posted roughly once a month until August, and since then neither he nor his mother have been seen in the bloggosphere. :-/

At the age of 7.5 I had not yet discovered computers (or perhaps I had seen e.g. a Videopac in the supermarket). At the age of 9, my brother bought his first which immediately introduced me to programming! :-D

(By the way, I've been "pseudo-blogging" elsewhere since the middle of November. I'm considering if I should do it for real, but haven't yet decided)

pseudo-blogging? How do you do that?

I am truly amazed by how advanced children are today. I think it is good for kids to be online so long as their parents "oversee" what is going on to help their kids stay safe. Good for Karin!

I agree. It's not like we can say no, since both Anders and I are online so much. We need to teach her how to use it responsibly and show her the best way of making it work for her.

I think it's excellent that Karin is interested in being creative and in reading and writing even on a seven-year old scale. I still have a handwritten journal that my daughter wrote in daily for a teacher. It's a sign of the times that it's online now and not on paper, for which I'm glad. Think of all of the trees saved.

It is nice to think of saving trees, although I sometimes worry that in the future if things went wrong, it could all just disappear in the blink of an eye. So I plan on killing some trees in order to print hardcopies. :P

I think it's great you are teaching her about the internet. Yes the internet is dangerous but its also a wonderful thing that she needs to learn to use to her advantage, so her learning with you, and not on her own, is great.

So true. I've always had good experiences with the internet, which may be a little naive of me, but I think there is so much potential for good out there. So, as long as I can make her aware of the things to watch out for gradually (no need to tell her about pr0n just yet) I think it will be fine. :)

(Anonymous)

It just blows me away that a seven year old can not only draw a map of a web page with a logo and features like "Search", "Send to someone", "Calendar", and "Print", but also has the level of detail to draw circles around the items that will be buttons.

I think you need to get busy implementing all those features -- the girl has a vision! ;-)

Russell

Child at 7 -- hobbyist system architect at 13 ? Then if she would move on to make her own websites, chances are that she won't document the structure and plan her work half as well as she did as a kid... ;-)

(no subject) - (Anonymous)   Expand  

oh, I have no worries that you'll be watching her with your eagle eye. But I never fail to be amazed at how fast kids pick up things on their own, without even needing you to show them. Now I'm looking at acquiring this laptop in a shop with digital fingerprint ID for logging on to just about anything... how's that for parental supervision? heh.

In any case, my "kid-friendly" filter is no problem since all my posts are locked anyway... hee hee. So if she ever accidentally wanders over, it's safe.

FINGERPRINT ID? yoicks.

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.

Grace is eleven. Soon to be twelve. And on Monday headed off for two weeks on a Scout Jamboree with around eight thousand other scouts. I think the time for me to place my head under the covers is very soon, but I so want to watch her grow up - just wish I could build the wall to stop the inevitable moments of pain.

the problem with walls is that they block out the inevitable moments of wonder and pride as well. :/

Oh, gods, it makes more sense now. I thought 'wabsit' = 'rabbit' and was awfully confused.

You're a great mom, and all Intarweb Creeps should be afeared of you and your mothering skillz. So. There.

LOL!! It's her very Swenglish spelling that is the problem. XD

(Anonymous)

I think it's awesome - I mean, it's not like you let her loose on MySpace (oh, dreadful, awful thing!). She will have fun using it and learning all about computer stuff. Maybe Martin will want one, too? He could scan in all his awesome drawings!

~Sam

I've asked him but he said no...I think it's because Karin did it first. I'll try the picture/story angle and see if that interests him more. :)

Well I think she's one lucky little girl to have you and Anders watching over her. My ex was a systems analyst and my kids were introduced to computers at an early age. There was no internet in those days, but they were playing games and learning about software while still at kindergarten and they absorbed everything really fast. I have no doubt that Karin is curious about the on-line world and it's great that you are introducing her to some of the joys of being here.

MySpace.... *shudder* Wait until she starts on LunarStorm.......

Both kids have been playing computer games since they were old enough to move a mouse...about 2 years old, I think. They're pretty savvy already, but not so much about all the intricacies of the internet! I don't know about LunarStorm...is that a MySpace-thingy?

Karins Wabsit

Let me know when she has more entries than me, that might get my butt moving and post again...

Hmmmm.
(runs back to lurking....)
Unkie Johnnie

Re: Karins Wabsit

She just posted again. I think she already has you beat, you slacker!

She has a good mind, and a good mother who knows what's best for her. It's not too uncommon to see kids fascinated with computers at an early age, and for her to experiment, as long as it's within reason.

I won't add her to my journal, since it wouldn't be fair of me to read another friend's journal if I'm already having a hard time with reading my friends as it is. But I may glance over there occasionally. Also, your friends seem to have respect when it comes to replying to a child's journal, and that you should be proud of.

I have excellent friends. :)

I wonder if she would want a flickr.com account?
You can make all your photos private or friends-only.
Friends can come along and make comments on your photos.
Unfortunately, it's very, very "expensive" to upload a photo to flickr.
You have to set the microwave for 7.5 minutes and clean as fast as you can until the timer beeps.
The price goes up as you age, you see.
They are very, very strict.

Nah. I doubt she'll post so much that my limit or my own website can't handle it. I can always upgrade her journal so she gets an LJ photo scrapbook too, if necessary. :)

I jumped over there to see Karin's Wabsit the other day. With my very.slow.dial-up. I did not look at the clip. I haven't looked at her second entry yet.
With parents that spend so much time on the internet, I think it's really cool that you responded welcomingly to her request. What a job, to keep tabs on her activity there, but no more of a job than anything else parental.
Your kidlets are wonderful, amazing. Deep thinkers and creative, from what you've let us peek at of their lives. And cute!
I want to friend her, but alas, I am worried I will think of her each time I write a protected post (which all of mine are these days) even though you assure us she will most likely not be looking at her friend's page. With a mind like hers, dontcha think she'll have that figured out in a blink of an eye?

Nope. You are more than welcome to friend her. Her interest has already waned a little bit, since her main goal was to get a website and now she has one. I think her posting will be sporadic and won't be commenting on other's journals any time in the near future, so no worries. :)

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