For a year now I’ve been thinking of starting a blog. But there was never a reason to start it today. Tomorrow would do. Or the next day. Or the next day.
So why start one now? The proximate reason was that one of my high-school students decided to write her report about a field trip by blogging it rather than by emailing the report to the teacher who led the field trip. So I had to read her blog, which of course linked to other blogs, and so on and so forth. Several dozen Weston High School students turned out to belong to a webring on Xanga, and of course there are many who keep blogs elsewere (or who have Xanga blogs but don’t list themselves in the webring). And this got me thinking: why haven’t I gotten around to writing my own blog?
It also got me thinking of a number of concerns about blogs written by kids — even kids who are almost old enough to vote. First names are fine, but why do so many of them include their full names, and often even a photo?
Maybe this is an inappropriate worry. After all, the Weston Town Crier — like every local newspaper — includes plenty of pictures of minors, along with their full names.
But my worry isn’t really about predators. It’s a concern that teenagers who publish something for the whole world to read (after all, it’s the World Wide Web) might regret it when they realize that not only their friends but also their teachers, their future employers, and even their parents can read what they wrote. It’s not a private diary, after all. Full names and photos in local papers are almost always there to celebrate achievements in athletics, drama, community service, and the like. They don’t expose a kid’s thoughts — which are barely edited, if at all — to any casual reader.
It’s worth reading some thoughts about this subject, albeit in the context of college students, in Jill Walker’s blog.