The rise in blogging over the last few years has seen a new trend emerge, that of the kid blogger or #klogger.
Victoria Evans follows the amazing world of one of them.
MEET THE #BLOGGERS
Like it or not, the Internet and social media is now an integral part of most kids’ lives. Kids are connected, and they know a lot more about it than we do. Social media is not “limited” to Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, OoVoo, WhatsApp, Burn Note, Yik Yak, Meet Me, Tumblr, Vine — you get the message — there’s a legion of child bloggers making waves in a market once ruled by people two or three times their age.
Introducing ‘Amazing Arabella’ Daho, from North London. A fashion, beauty and travel blogger who has already met Kelly Hoppen, been invited to the London Fashion Week, modelled for Monsoon and Burberry and been sent on trips abroad to blog about her experiences. She has collected a following of over 26,000 across social media; she only started her blog in September. Oh, and she’s 11.
“I started modelling when I was three, and as I got older my friends were asking me what I had been doing so I decided to start writing about it … and they told me it was really good so I turned it into a blog.”
Luckily for Arabella, her mum, Shadia, is a dab hand when it comes to blogging, vlogging and social media networking. Between her and other family members the Dahos have an incredible 800k followers worldwide. Their combined knowledge means Arabella is not flying blind.
“When she’s out blogging I go with her. We were at London Fashion Week and I wouldn’t feel comfortable about her going with anybody else. I monitor everything, and if she gets a load of followers I go through them all. It’s been ok. Generally it’s positive.”
We all have countless questions crashing around in our heads when it comes to social media and our kids. Can our children blog “safely” (what does safely even mean in this context?), will they be bullied, isn’t the web a hunting ground for paedophiles, is my son/daughter going to share pictures of themselves? Basically, we don’t know what the social norms for this relatively new medium are — are there any?
Joanne Mallon founded Kidsblogclub.com when both her children started blogging. Her site now promotes creative child bloggers and offers advice to parents and their kids alike.
“[Blogging’s] like anything else — as safe or unsafe as you want it to be. We encourage children to think about personal safety and how much information they want to give away. Do they want to blog anonymously, under an assumed name? How much info do they want to give out about where they live? Will they be sharing pictures of themselves? All of this stuff has to be discussed with parents. From a practical point of view, when it comes to blogging, both Google and WordPress have it as part of their terms of service that users have to be over 13. So if an under 13 is blogging, they will effectively have to do it in conjunction with a parent, which is probably a good thing.”
Like with most things related to social media and generally the Internet, as a parent it pays to stay informed so you know how to set limits and have genuine dialogues with your kids about it.
Mallon has found that blogging is widely used and approved of by schools as it is a method of encouraging children’s literacy and creativity. This stands to reason, and Arabella and Shadia would agree with the benefits.
“I think it’s made me more confident — it’s helping with my school work.” Shadia: “Her English has got a lot better. She manages her schoolwork really well, and the things that she’s learning about and writing about have opened up a whole new world.”
Which brings us to blogging as a business. Bloggers, in the main, start out because they have something different to say, which might resonate with their contemporaries. A point not lost on big brands that see bloggers as a direct connection to their potential markets. Arabella is at an advantage here, as a young, fashion-conscious tween, with a ready-made audience. But Shadia is keen to stress that the integrity of the blog must never be forgotten.
“We get approached by a lot of brands because she’s unique in what she does. We don’t just work with anyone because, in the end, you’ve got to be truthful. What you say can be very powerful. Working with brands that you can relate to, that’s the way forward. You need it to be truthful, and if it’s artificial, no one’s going to read it anyway.”
Many bloggers now have agents and earn enough money to support a back up team of publicists and admin staff. If this is what you want to do, Shadia recommends you find a good management company first. In fact, she’ll be casting 10 adults and 10 kid bloggers for her new company, Blogaholics. And, there’s no doubt that Arabella will be on hand to offer advice and tips to the kids that are chosen.
So what’s next in the diary for Arabella (and her lucky friends)? Only a trip to Hogwarts, teaming up with Virgin to blog about their Experience Days, working on the Xfactor…
BOYS BLOG TOO
Tom, Project Indigo: Dr Who fan www.anadventurethroughtimeandspace.com
3 Top Tips for Starting a Blog:
1. Choose to write about something you are good at or are really, really interested in because it will be hard for you to keep your blog up if you don’t know what you are writing about.
2. Don’t start a blog because you want to be famous — that is not what blogging is about. I love blogging because I love sharing my adventures and have made lots of friends.
3. Keep at it! If you don’t post for a while your followers may lose interest.
BLOGS & RESOURCES
www.jakes-bones.com – 13 year old bone collector
www.foodpenelope.co.vu – 10 year old food lover