On a bit of a whim I bought a domain and threw a WordPress site up for my oldest girl to start mucking about on — she’s 6.The impetus was a conversation we were having about websites, and she said, “maybe I can put that on a website for me”, referring to a drawing I complimented her on. Lightbulb.
This led to a cascade of thoughts about age appropriateness, privacy and a myriad of other issues that I’d yet to give more than cursory attention, as she has no presence online. Pretty soon I’d brought myself to a screeching halt before we even got a post up.
I consider myself reasonably savvy about social media and technology, and I am aware of the hazards of over sharing and of her complete lack of said awareness. I want her to be able to make mistakes without having them documented for all time.
Still, are the risks such that I should tell her “not until you’re older”. I’m not a fan of “not until you’re older” generally, and as she sees me working on websites most days, it’s not surprising that she’s interested.
She tells me what she’s not ready for — she refused to try riding her bike without training wheels last year despite my attempts to get her going. Then a few weeks ago she came home and said, “I’m ready”, and she was flying solo by sundown. As much as I can, I let her guide me about these things. So long as she remains guileless, the approach seems to work.
All of this made me realize that I have no idea what the “right” age for much of anything is anymore. Now and then, I’ll do a quick search out of curiosity to see what the current opinion is for this or that. How young is too young for Home Alone? Ghostbusters? What age do most kids do this or that? The answers are mostly useless, as parenting styles and kids’ abilities vary widely, and most modern takes on parenting tend toward being over-protective. Relevance? Questionable. There is no “right” age.
So, we’ll build this thing together and see where it goes. I’ll keep her personally identifying information off of it, but I’m not going to stress too much. “Kids these days” (groan) are different. She’s had more Skype calls than phone calls already, and that’s a trend unlikely to change. I’d rather her introduction to the web be gradual and safe and at an age when she still listens to everything I tell her.