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This 34 message thread spans 2 pages: 34 ( [1] 2 > >     
Best CMS for a 6 year-old?
Yes, for three 6 year old children.

 4:58 am on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well, my kids want to start a website, yes, they see me in the computer everyday and know what I do, so they want to start right now.
I already have registered their names with a domain name, thank god they were available.
This is for my 3 kids, which are 6 year old... each. Yes, triplets.
They already know how to type in the computer and use it since they were 3 year old. They have more ability to use the mouse that many adults I know. Of course, it is because the games.

Well, to make this history short, I was thinking about setting up word press, and just let them have fun with it...
But I also know this website weebly that allow you to create websites on the fly. Like if you were creating in a wysiwig editor.
Also, I think wordpress would be too rigid to really "have fun" with.

What do you think ? :)

I'm sure there must be kids this age somewhere doing their first steps on the web already.



 5:34 am on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

My kid who will be six in a couple months doesn't even know what a web site is. I'm OK with that for now, he's busy being a kid. I don't mean to offend but what does a 6 y/o need a website for? I don't get it.

Just open up Microsoft Word and let them play, I've done that on like two occasions, no need to them addicted to the 'net just yet ;-)


 7:13 am on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've had kids as young as 6 using MovableType to run their own sites. The new interface makes it pretty easy for you to limit the damage they can do to the templates while giving them the freedom to add stuff to the page (including graphics, photos, & videos).


 3:37 pm on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'll take a look at MovableType, thanks for the hint!
Do they host you with full domain name?


 3:40 pm on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

The current main and only purpose is to publish websites with games they found on the web. So they are sort of starting a game review site.

[edited by: fischermx at 3:40 pm (utc) on Oct. 17, 2008]


 3:40 pm on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

fischermx what a great idea, after all kids are learning the piano and violin at this age, and being able to use and navigate the web, and be computer litterate is a far more valuable skill in this day and age imo.


 3:51 pm on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well tell me you're at least going to put AdSense ads on there so he gets some extra allowance ;-) I can see it now "I started my game review site when I was 6".


 4:07 pm on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

LOL..... well...... that's a great idea!
May be they will pay their college tuition by their own! :O


 4:36 pm on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

If they're making that kind of cash in 13-ish years they don't need to go to college. I know now that I'm self-employed with only online revenue I have no desire to take classes, even though I have the time now. Go figure.


 4:50 pm on Oct 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Great topic! I would never have thought a six year-old would be up for it. I certainly would not have been at 6. I could wield a mean pea shooter though.

I think kids should learn in environments that are fun for them and if making websites is fun for your kids, definitely find a way for them to do it. They'll learn great reading, writing and communication skills, hopefully they'll have fun, and it will make them feel so "grown up".

And of course, there's the AdSense. I was trying really hard to get my 14 year-old niece to make a website because she is obsessed with cell phones and is a walking encyclopedia of cell-phone facts (about every model and so on). And one of her hobbies/interests? Marketing! Unfortunately, according to her, she's "too lazy" for such a thing as it would interfere with her social life.

Anyway, there are a couple of other things you might consider if Moveable Type doesn't do it for you:

- kid oriented CMS
- hosted solution

Kid-oriented CMS.

There seem to be a couple of these out there, none of which I've tried. I bet if you searched for "kid-friendly [CMSname] theme" you might find a lot more. I know there are some kid-friendly Worpdress themes. That won't, of course, make admin any easier, but it will give them a nice stuff-animal look that they might (or might not) like.

* Joomla Kids is a Joomla version with a lot of things like categories and so on removed to make it simple for kids. One thing that might appeal to me about this is that one could upgrade to full joomla and I presume the data migration would be fairly easy. So it would grow with your kids. Another cool thing - it was designed and built by a thirteen year-old!


That's probably the first one I would test.

I've seen a couple of other kid-oriented CMSs that charge a modest fee for the full version.

Hosted solution

A hosted solution like Blogspot, Typepade or Wordpress.com might reduce your overall hassle. All of them have the option to host on your own domain AFAIK. That spares you having to perpetually do security updates for a hobby that may well fade quickly for the kids.

Also, it may save you from having to explain some of the crude spam comments likely to appear on pretty much any platform you choose yourself. Or from getting hacked and having your kids log in to see some #*$! spam all over their site one day.

You also may want to set up the computer with a password manager to help automate login, though I guess if they are writing web pages they can manage the login.


@Swanny - hey, when I was six I couldn't spell my name. I had to copy from the kid who sat across from me. Was in the 97th percentile on my language score on my GREs though.


computer litterate is a far more valuable skill in this day and age imo.

All kids that age will end up computer literate by default, especially if fishermx is their dad. It's not something that need encouragement as it might have a generation ago. And most computer skills are relatively easy to learn by someone who has a good foundational education. Personally, I think piano lessons are more valuable at a young age than computer skills and will be much harder to come by than computer skills in the future.

For an interesting take, google on Ken Robinson TED talk.


 2:08 pm on Oct 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well, to make this history short, I was thinking about setting up word press, and just let them have fun with it...

Wow, I can't even figure everything out on WP yet.....lol.

I think it's good to get kids exposed to the web, and get them familiar with this technology. But I agree with Swanny...what do you want them to do with a website?!


 2:33 pm on Oct 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

A game review website.. or game's website review.
And they are who want it.


 2:50 pm on Oct 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well, kids can be just as narcissistic as the rest of us, so I can see how this might appeal.

However, since they're so young you should be careful. Encourage them to spellcheck, and lay down some ground rules about what they can't publish. Just as you would lay down rules for forums and chatrooms, ensure they know that their home address, telephone number, age, and other personal details are off-limits. Trying to explain copyright and libel to them will be hard, but necessary if you want to avoid tears and trouble. Try to put it in simple terms. Finally, read what they want to publish. Whatever CMS you choose, I think you'll need to be quite hands-on to begin with so just go for something simple that you like.


 8:08 pm on Oct 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

Let me turn the question around a little.

What are these kids going to write about? The typical blogger shares something they saw on the web. If your kids have access to the web, that raises the issue of content filtering. I use Glubble (a whitelist-based Firefox addin layer) for my kids but there's no serendipity in that.

Another thought. Who's going to read what they do? Either it's behind authentication for friends/family, or fully crawlable. In the case of the latter, you ought to watch what they write and reveal. Also bear in mind that their friends are going to go from walled gardens like Webkinz/ClubPenguin at age 8 to SMSing at age ~12 and Facebook shortly thereafter. Without a stop in the wide open world of blogs etc.

As for the technology, a lot of CMS's have guardrails for less-able users. E.g. ability to post to draft status for later review and live status by an editor, spellcheck, WYSIWYG editor, admin controls that are hidden from them via permissioning, etc. What's the least they can do with? Login form, text entry box, and "Post" button. Picture upload function is a nicetohave, if pix are local. Sounds a lot like email to me, which is an equally effective way for them to learn their typing and online etiquette.

In sum I think the answer to the OP question is driven more by parenting choices & goals than by technology choices.

p.s. For context: my kids are ages 10/9/7; I do a blog for them (mostly containing Lego Star Wars flickr slideshows and goofy youtube); I was a Movable Type guy but now have Drupal fever; I do a lot with middle-school-aged kids.


 8:09 pm on Oct 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

bill mentioned to me elsewhere that he protects content on his kids site, requiring a username and password to view the site. He doesn't want kooks cyber-stalking his six-year old. So you might think about that.


 8:43 pm on Oct 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

Years ago, before the web, I developed apps using something called NAPLPS, (a device independent SGML related markup language). One of the features of NAPLPS was the ability to encode and render vector graphics, fills, etc.. So, I wrote a program to run on my BBS called BPaint that was sort of an online canvas and people could doodle on and save the drawing, (these days you'd call it a virtual whiteboard)...

I can see something like this being more the way to go for kids. The program did have the ability to type in text, but it was mostly for labels or a few words in the drawing.

It could be done in SVG pretty easily.. there are probably scripts around like this already.


 9:03 pm on Oct 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

You can run Blogger on a domain, and now with the "tags" functionality, the tags can be used as categories by changing what they're called in the sidebar.

Blogger is the easiest of all, for modifying both the code and the design.


 3:35 am on Oct 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

Give them an allowance and let them choose their own domain name, hosting service and tools. It will be a valuable lesson for them.

Several of the bigger hosting sites have integrated packages you can manage through the one site.

How they get the content is up to them, but they would also learn about copyright fairly quickly if they were running the site.

If they enjoy running the site and keep it up for a few years, then they could move on to developing it further when they are older. A website is for life, not just for Christmas.

Chuck Hamrick

 3:48 am on Oct 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

My kids have been talking about a website for 6 months but can never agree on a domain. Last weekend at dinner we talked about it and I asked what domain I should register. Mom said < no real domains, please > so I bought it and put it on a spare IP. I downloaded WordPress and will finish the database this weekend. I plan to let them post at will and moderate comments. My 12 daughter is pissed at the domain but I told her its could take off!

[edited by: tedster at 7:20 am (utc) on Oct. 22, 2008]


 4:03 am on Oct 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well I got a little surprise tonight. My 5 y/o was sitting with me. I browsed to his school's web site to get the teacher's e-mail address. He told me to click "Staff", then click the name, etc. Turns out he uses the school's and teacher's web site at the computer lab at school. We clicked on an Internet game that he used previously. Wow, I guess I have to join the ranks of fishermx now. As sad as it is, I thought of this thread as I discovered his new talent.


 5:22 am on Oct 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>Mom said

Then Mom should use that domain herself.

A 12 year old is on the verge of those critically important teen years, when a young lady would share a site of her own with friends, and is highly sensitive to the opinions and reactions - and acceptance and respect - of her peers.

As part of nurturing along the process of developing her critical thinking process and decision making ability, she should be allowed to have a domain name of her own choosing that reflects her own taste and preferences.


As a matter of fact, it might not be a bad idea for her to have the responsibility of looking at and comparing interfaces, and choosing the platform for herself - and the theme, and customization if she wants to.

Now that I think of it, I was babysitting for the children of neighbors and family friends at the age of 12, bottles and diapers, teething, waking up crying and all. It felt good to be trusted, but also grew the sense of responsibility, capability and sense of self-worth.

Nowadays kids have a golden opportunity to grow and express themselves, with all the opportunity and technology that's available.

[edited by: Marcia at 5:42 am (utc) on Oct. 22, 2008]


 2:49 pm on Oct 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

A twelve year-old is probably also on the verge of becoming a Facebook devotee. The teenagers I know would never expect their friends to check into a website for news and pics that could be posted on Facebook.

In fact, my nephew, at 23 (and finishing a computer engineering degree, so pretty techy), reports that he feels there's already a generational gap between him and his sister and younger cousins (all 19 and younger). He feels that's the breakpoint between those who communicate primarly 1-to-1 (chat, email) and those who communcate via Facebook and social networking portals.

Don't know whether that's true, but it does raise the question of what a teenager wants with a personal site. As you suggest, though, your own website would allow you a much greater range of creativity than Facebook.

Both of my sisters have refused to sign up for Facebook because they want to give their daughters independence, but their daughters actually encourage them to sign up and have in fact "friended" a number of my sisters' friends. Maybe that's rare or maybe it's true that this generation really does have a different feeling about privacy than we did.


 4:54 am on Oct 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't have any kids but I truly believe I would not allow my children to have their own site under the age of 14-15 (minimum). At this point, I don't even think I would allow them to surf the internet on their own. I am in my twenties and have seen enough horror on the net to know that it is not a safe place for children. I would be too concerned with perverts and cyber-pedophiles lurking around, as well as them being exposed to graphic spam, emails, comments and pictures. The statistics are 1 in 3 children receive aggressive sexual solicitation on the internet and that doesn't include children who are cyber-bullied or threatened.

And even if I could prevent that, there is always the risk of them becoming "addicted" to the internet and essentially end up withdrawn and maybe even anti-social. My cousin who is 13 uses the computer daily. He is virtually (no pun intended) addicted to those game sites. He sits there glued to the screen, chatting with his friends as he plays this computer game instead of being outside with them and actually interacting. If my aunt didn't put limits, he'd be there day and night by choice and that to me is sad.

It seems all gravy now but I think we will start to see a lot of consequences for this as this young generation gets older.


 5:16 am on Oct 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't have any kids but I truly believe I would not allow my children to have their own site under the age of 14-15 (minimum). At this point, I don't even think I would allow them to surf the internet on their own.

My main concern is that they are in a rapid developmental phase, and they need to learn gross and fine motor skills, engage in imaginative play, hand-eye coordination, free-form social interaction etc.
If they miss out on those things at the right milestones, they can never learn them later.

It's biology.

For example, a report came out this year that myopia is often a result of lack of exposure to outdoor environments before the age of 6. So this means an adult can sit in a dark room all day and be fine, but for small children, it causes their eyes to form incorrectly. This is just one example of many of how the child's development can get derailed.


 2:30 pm on Oct 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Callivert, I would love to read this report as my kids are under 4 and i think they don't go out often.


 3:04 pm on Oct 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

There was a best-selling book on the topic last year, but unfortunately both author and title escape me.

Obviously kids need a lot of unstructured outdoor play (not adult-organized team sports), but if building a website replaces television time, that can't be bad. If it replaces story-telling time or play time, that's a shame.


 3:06 pm on Oct 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

being in my mid 20's and having been online since the age of about 12, first on aol chat rooms, then on forums, facebook (I just got my mum to sign up last week, it was painful but orth it), blog etc I see absolutely no problem with a teen being allowed access. Just like children have to learn not tyo pick their nose at the dinner table, or take sweets from strangers, they have to learn what is acceptable online and how to protect their identity.

I think that it is a lot safer for them to do this at home on their parents computer where logs can be kept and reviewed for inappropriate use (i.e allowing child to think they have free access, but keeping an eye on them to be sure they are safe) the only having them use the computers at schools, or worse, going to university at 18, never having had un-restricted access and making big mistakes (a bit like the knds who have never had social freedom and go off the rails when they leave home)


 8:56 pm on Oct 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Its not really the children's behavior that I'm worried about, its the predators online that concern me.
Its a lot of work to monitor your child on the internet (read chat logs, history or even be present when their on the computer) and its something everyone should do when their child starts using a computer but I just don't think its necessary at 6 years old.

Its not that kids shouldn't be allowed to use it, but just like so many other things in life, it should be at a time that is appropriate to their age...IMO of course.


 9:46 pm on Oct 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

About 14 years ago an 11 year old in the 6th grade started a website with tutorials about website authoring that's been linked to by authoritative sources for years. (It's now pop-up hell)

Sometimes kids have a strong interest in something, whether it's skating, dance, music, literature, sports or whatever, and they can create a personal content site that's a creative learning experience.

predators online that concern me

I worked as a chatroom bouncer (moderator) at a womens network, and we had to be on the lookout constantly for sneaky pervs at all times - and there were plenty of them - in grown womens chats. It takes an adult with a "developed 6th sense" to spot most of them, they're so subtle and crafty.

I've also personally known kids who got into drugs & promiscuity and ended up drop-outs, through contacts they made online.

If I had a young kid, I'd definitely encourage a personal domain for growth and creativity of self expression, but I would NOT allow participation in the public networking sites.


 6:53 pm on Nov 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

drupal would be a smart choice ... as it fullfils the needs of a person from 6 to 100 years...

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