WordPress

What It Is:
Wordpress is a blogging and website creation platform that makes it fairly easy and free to create your own space on the internet.

What It Does:
Wordpress powers many popular websites (including some affiliated with Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and NBC, among others), providing a variety of templates and plug-ins that users can use to create their own blogs or websites. WordPress also offers analytical tools to measure your site’s traffic and other settings.

WordPress also encourages users to follow other WordPress blogs and websites, creating an opportunity for some social connectivity between users.

Would My Child Want It?:
Wordpress is not for the casual users. Since there isn’t a large social component to it, it doesn’t draw the same type of user as Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr, the website it is probably most similar to and which is, by a large margin, preferred by young people. Unless your child is interested in creating a standard-issue website or blog, they probably won’t be all that interested in WordPress.

Where Can It Be Used?:
Mostly through the internet, though there is a mobile app available.

What Should I Watch Out For?:

  • Since WordPress is on the internet, the sites you create with it are largely available to anyone, especially if you have comments enabled on your site. This opens the door to possible trolls and/or online bullying.
  • It’s possible to visit other WordPress sites, some of which may not be appropriate for children.
  • Since the site requires an account to use, WordPress is inevitably tracking your data.

What Are The Positives?:

  • It becomes very easy to create and maintain your own basic website.
  • This allows you to “get your name out there,” if such a thing is your desire.
  • It can also help you learn the basics of the internet economy and how to gain traction in the interconnected landscape we now inhabit.
  • WordPress’s suggested blogs can expose you to other ideas and cultures, helping you grow as a person.

What Are The Negatives?:

  • Can lead to exposure to less-than-ideal people online, especially through comments sections and “contact us” links.
  • Tinkering with a site can lead to obsession with traffic, stats, layout, look, and the tens of thousands of little tweaks one can make to a website.
  • WordPress’s suggested blogs can also expose you to sites that may not be appropriate.

What We Think:
Wordpress is actually a very useful tool for what it is and has minimal negative possibilities for young people. If you think your child has the maturity level to use it, it’s probably okay, but be sure to have their username and password, and monitor their activity to make sure they stay safe.