I got an e-mail recently from Kevin Delaney who is the Wall Street Journal reporter who wrote the article last fall on the movement to implement classroom blogs in classrooms around the country. He’s thinking about a new story idea, one that looks at how Weblogs might be facilitating conversations between parents and their children. The idea came out of the interview he did with the father of one of my students who was quoted in the article. Her father had talked to him about how, quoting his e-mail, “in their busy lives and during teenage years when communication between parents and kids is usually not at its peak, her blog opened a door for him into what she was thinking on issues and gave him new hooks to start conversations with her.”
It would be a great story, no doubt, and I’m wondering if anyone knows of anyone that he might be able to get in touch with. I’m thinking that with Xanga and Myspace sites all the rage, there have to be some examples out there of the “blog” window providing a constructive opportunity for parents and their kids to talk about issues they might not normally. This assumes, of course, that parents a) know that their children have a site, and b) know how to find it. (That’s a whole ‘nother story…)
Either leave a comment or e-mail me at will at weblogg-ed dot com if you have ideas.
Tom Hoffman says
It’ll be interesting to see if he can actually come up with anything for this, because my impression is that a parent reading a student’s weblog is a rare occurrence.
Bud Hunt says
I’ll ask my students and see if they’re sharing their Xangas with their parents — I know of at least one that is. I hope she’s not the only one. Ever. How sad would that be?
I am a fourth grade teacher and mother of 4 children. The oldest of these 4 just happens to be a 16 year old boy who updates his “Xanga” everyday faithfully. While he may not be the typical son,(meaning–he asks for my advice about girls, cologne, music, and many other things) I am permitted to read not only his postings (on most days) but also the postings of all those who comment on his site. It has become a tremendous eyeopener for his father and I because we were totally unaware of the mentality and viewpoints of many of the young people that he is acquainted with. Some of his friends are aware that we read but are not offended. Others do not care I am sure.
We have learned alot about his “other life” as he puts it…the part of his personality that shows in the company of his peers. He demonstrates much more humor and less sarcasm which is very amusing. When I asked him about it he said he reserves the sarcasm for his 2 brothers. I am, however somewhat concerned about his lack of male friendships. He is nuts about 1 particular girl and is friends with 3-4 others. As far as male friendships go, it seems that he only has 2. My husband seems to think that is about right.
Since I have never taught students his age, I do not relate as well to that age group. At first I was very critical of his use of the internet, the phone, messaging, etc. Now I am working on a graduate class that focuses on the integration of technology in learning and I am beginning to see that much of what he is acquiring about his world is coming from these sources and I as a teacher will simply need to insure the quality.
Am I always happy about what I read or the language that is displayed? Of course not. But at least he is communicating and attempting to blend in socially. Does always know that I read them? Probably not? BUT, has he ever intentionally changed the password so I can’t? Thankfully, for now no.
Derek Mueller says
I’d be interested in seeing a story that frames the interest as both child->parent *and* parent->child. In other words, blogs can be as much about parents reading into the mystical underlives of their kids as kids reading likewise into the lives of their parents. I find that by blogging, my 14-year-old son has an interest in reading what’s on the blog (particularly when it alludes to him), and in so-doing, he can see into the ways I represent him, our family debacles, etc. That’s not all I write about, and I can’t be sure how broadly representative my anecdotal experience might be, but I’m sure he’s more patient with what I write in the blog than he is in some of our conversations. Anyway, I guess I’m just saying that it might be worthwhile to think about enabling more ways of reading than just parents/administrators looking in on the underlife of their kids. These other angles frame it more as apprenticeship/adult-modeled writing, I think.