How Young is Too Young?

I started blogging at age 20. Glen, too, got an early start. Today, there are young bloggers who have their own websites and blogs. Some even boast high rankings and good sized communities. As someone who is nearing 30, I look at these younger folks and am really impressed with their accomplishments, and I especially admire these youngsters as they chase their passions and dreams and still have time to do their homework.

I contacted a handful of young bloggers, all under the age of 17, to get an idea of whether they see their age as a hurdle and what advice they would give to new bloggers.

Let’s learn more about the kids and teens behind the blogs:


Ben Lang will be 17 in September and based in White Plains, NY. Ben’s blog, which covers entrepreneurship and social media, is wonderful despite him blogging for less than a year (he started shortly after his 16th birthday!). In March, he came out with a list of social media blogs you should be reading, and no, I didn’t play favorites here; Techipedia is not included. :)


Adora Svitak is amazing. Her blog reads better than some blogs I’ve stumbled upon that are written by adults. Adora is actually known as a “tiny literary giant” and is a voracious reader. Would you believe that she’s only 12? Yeah, that’s right. She’s been blogging since she was 7 and currently resides in Redmond, WA.


Josh Budde is 16 years old and had been blogging for three years. In fact, since we last corresponded, Josh moved blogs from this one to this one. A resident of Western New York, he’s not just a blogger but a podcaster. Josh also enjoys writing crime and law stories and uses his blog to share personal stories with his friends.


Marly (right) and Ani (left) are sisters and have both been blogging for about a year. Now 13 and 10 (note: Ani’s URL is private; she is 10, after all!) and residents of Southern California, they blog about personal life and whatever comes to mind. Also pictured (center) is mom Ciaran Blumenfeld, who is also a blogger.


Gloson Teh is one of my favorite social media kids. I met him on StumbleUpon over a year ago and he is one of those kids who never ceases to amaze me; he totally understands social media and his 22 Reasons for You to Blog was even featured in my annual Best Posts of 2009 roundup. What’s more surprising is that Gloson lives in Selangor, Malaysia and is also only 12 years old. He started blogging at age 10 and says that his mother encouraged him to get into it because of his online gaming addiction. Now a blogging convert, he says, “Indeed, blogging is really more fun than online games!”


Shelby really liked the TV show Jericho, and at the age of 9, started a site called Jericho4Kids. A 12-year-old resident of Missouri, Shelby’s Jericho website features a blog and has turned into a social good campaign with her promotion of charitable efforts for US troops, and even includes interviews with the cast and crew of Jericho as well as with US Air Force Thunderbirds and Alex O’Loughlin. (And yes, she has taken a photo with Skeet Ulrich.)

Carl Ocab has been blogging in the “make money online” niche since he was 13. Now 16, he ranks on the first page for a super competitive search phrase (that even John Chow tried to seize once upon a time). And he’s been compared to some hugely popular bloggers. Carl lives in the Philippines.

Sean McGee is a huge U2 fan like his dad (yes, that Matt). He’s 12 years old and lives in Tri-Cities, Washington. His blog is full with regular small byte-sized updates about U2, sports, movies, and more. He also tweets regularly.

I asked two questions, and here are their answers:

How Young is Too Young?

Ben: There’s no too young! I keep hearing about 13 year old bloggers, 10 year old entrepreneurs, the younger the more impressive.

Adora: I wouldn’t say there’s a set age where you should or shouldn’t be on a computer (well, I wouldn’t quite hand my laptop over to a one-year-old); I think that kids should have some amount of computer literacy by the age of eight. One of the reasons I type so well today is because I started typing on a laptop when I was six, and really fell in love with it. Technology, and blogging, offers a lot to kids. At the same time, I think it’s imperative that kids, both my age and younger, get the opportunity to play outside and experience nature, family, and some good old-fashioned reading before they start using computers heavily. After all, they’ll be using them for the rest of their lives. :)

Josh: Anyone under 11 is too young to be blogging, in my opinion.

Marly: Nine! No, Eight. No. Haha! You can blog at any age. Anything that you want to do, to express – you can do that on your blog. You just need to get your parents help to make sure the stuff on your blog is ok.

Ani: If you can’t write you are too young! Any age is okay if you can write.

Gloson: I believe there is no age limit as long as the person knows the basics of internet security and can administrate and write the blog by himself. ;)

Shelby: You are never to young to go after your goals, you just might need a little help getting them accomplished when you are younger. I was 9 years old when my web site went up, and it was my dream, but a lot of people helped me to make that dream come true, so as kids we might need a little help but we can still go after our dreams.

Carl: Possibly when you don’t even know how to type yet.

Sean: Anyone under the age of 8. If you don’t know how to type or just put something like, “cupcakes are awesome” then you’re too young.

What Advice Can You Give to New Bloggers?

Ben: Most importantly, be persistent. It took me 6 months to acquire a good amount of traffic and cultivate a community on my blog and the same goes for any new blogger. It’s impossible to do it all in one day, it takes time, providing new content consistently, maintaining your blog and networking with other bloggers.

Adora: My advice to new bloggers would be: don’t look at it as something that you have to update every day in order not to disappoint readers, or because you have to stick with it; rather, enjoy it as a journey and write about whatever interests you. That’s what they’re for!

Josh: Anyone who is thinking about starting a blog or podcast: First, find a niche. Second, podcast and write away… And finally, third, write about what you want to write about. You control your blog, not someone else.

Marly: Write something that you are interested in and that you enjoy and want to learn more about.

Ani: Choose something you really like and won’t get sick of because you’ll be stuck with your blog for a long time. People will get used to your blog and if you stop, they’ll get depressed and you’ll have to start all over.

Gloson: Firstly, you must be patient if you don’t get visitors immediately (I haven’t got my first comment until the fourth month I’ve been blogging!). Many bloggers give up too quickly because they feel that no one is reading their blog.

Secondly, you must be dedicated, because even if you’re patient, you won’t be successful unless you are dedicated too.

Thirdly, get social and join social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and StumbleUpon to connect with people and make friends! Blogging is so much fun with friends! Social media is also a great way to promote your blog posts.

Fourthly, read great blogs to be inspired (like Techipedia)! And be sure you pick a topic or niche you are passionate about so you will stay motivated!

Last but not least, remember to give more than you receive!

Shelby: Really think about what you want to do, make a plan, and do it. I started wanting to have a web site when I was 8, I kept drawing plans for one. Then all of this Jericho stuff happened and I sat down and drew most of my site on paper. I asked for other peoples opinions too and added a page for my brother and for my dog Bailey. I wanted to be able to blog but to also have a web site, so my site is a combination of those two things and it works. The site looks A LOT like my original designs and that is because volunteers helped to make my vision come to life.

New bloggers should find interesting things to write about, do interviews with people who do the things they are interested in and most importantly they should use their site to help charities and our troops. We need to let people who need help or just need someone to say Hi and Thank you to them know that we really do care. Use your blog to do great things! Also, be respectful on your blog, that doesn’t mean you have to agree with everyone all of the time, but disagree in a way that doesn’t make you look like the “mean blogger”.

Carl: Have a vision, plan then act. Top it off with a mentor and sprinkle Focus and you’ve got something cooking!

Sean: My advice to new bloggers would be, who cares if your friends think it’s dumb, just do it because you like it.

We can certainly learn a lot from kids. I know I’m learning from kids who aren’t even able to talk yet.

(Special thanks to Debra Mastaler for the inspiration behind this post.)

72 Comments

  • Gloson says:

    Hi Tamar! Thank you very much for the feature! I really appreciate it!

    It’s great to see so many young bloggers here like myself! Thank you very much Tamar for introducing them to the blogosphere! You guys have really amazing blogs! :-)

    Cheers!
    ~Gloson

  • Marcus says:

    Amazing, isn’t it? I am actually a huge fan of Adora and found her talk on TED most insightful and inspiering.
    My personal pet-theory about these great kids is: They grow up in an online world and they learn it by instinct. They did not have to take courses, they just do it, and they are not hindered by thoughts like “Oh, this will never work” or “Who but me would want to read this?”
    And I agree with Ani, as soon as you can write, you can blog. Before that, you have to dictate it to someone else ;-)
    I did some research with LMU (Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany) back in 2005, about older people and modern technology and new forms of learning. I think I should go now and check for some blogs written by people aged 70+… Just a thought.

  • Apostolos says:

    Greetings from another 17yo blogger from Greece.

  • As a young blogger myself, I find it hard to compete with those adults that are older than me. But sometimes, I get good feedback on my work and I feel like I have a chance to make it out there.

    • Hey Nicole – you do! I don’t see blogging at all as a competition. There are just so many factors: writing style, niche, types of posts, etc etc.

      My advice for you is to just chase after your dream and keep doing what you love. :)

  • I recently emailed about a news blog post I’d written with new developments on a story to append. Only later did I realize that the website I linked to and (was emailed by) was maintained by 12 year olds, and the site had been linked on much bigger blogs).

    I think it’s going to be really interesting to see how those raised on the internet who know nothing but blogs change things. I started blogging at 20 when I was a college newspaper editor in 2006, and even then I was considered something of an early adapter. The perspective will take an really interesting turn. Scary, but interesting.

    • Thanks Ethan, and this is so true. Some of these kids could really rule the world.

      One of my favorite young bloggers (not eligible for inclusion on this post based on him now being 18; I cut off the age at 16 for this article) is Yuvi. I first heard about him when he was 15 in 2006 and he captured the attention of some huge blogs because of his analysis of their posts. It was a creative and brilliant idea. (If an adult did the same thing, it would still get the same visibility and link love!)

      It’s amazing what some kids can think of — and it’s amazing to see many of them still doing it. I really applaud their efforts.

  • Tola says:

    I think it’s great that there are 7, 8 years olds blogging, really I do!

    But… I feel a little sad when I think about it. I know it’s their choice and all, but if I could go back to their age, knowing what I know now, I’m pretty sure I still won’t want to blog!! I ENJOYED my childhood, playing in the sand and water with my other friends! I don’t think I would have enjoyed hanging around the computer that much (don’t get me wrong, I played my fair share of computer games growing up and still do infact…).

    I just think the young ones shouldn’t be encouraged to spend THAT much time on the Internet/Computer else they’ll end up knowing how to say all the right things on the Internet, but when they come face-to-face with people it would be a different story…

    Maybe I’m wrong in thinking this way, I don’t know, but I just think the young ones are growing up so fast and forgetting what it’s like to be kids…

    • Tola, who says you can’t do both? I was a huge athlete when I was a kid, but I also read a lot. I fell in love with the computer nearly 18 years ago as a preteen and still went to sleep-away camp in the summers with no computer access whatsoever.

      Being a blogger as a kid isn’t the same as being a blogger as an adult. Blogging is something they do, but it’s not the only thing they do.

      I think it’s important to make that distinction.

      • Tola says:

        Yeah, I’m sure you can do both and I’m all for it myself :).

        But I also know blogging can be addictive… so that’s why I said they shouldn’t be encouraged to spend too much time on it…

        So like you said, yes, you can do both, but there should be a balance. And hopefully, I’m sure there one!

  • Andy M. says:

    There’s nothing wrong with blogging at a young age. In fact, I think it’s a great sign that practical literacy and writing skills aren’t dead!

    I remember how hard my 4th grade teacher used to push us, trying everything she could think of to get her students to write in our journals and communicate regularly through agenda books.

    As long as there’s a healthy balance in their activities, I don’t see a problem.

    (Side note: The free flow of information on the web is a part of our modern world. I’d rather see these kids proactively learn through participation than ignore it completely.)

    • Amen! I know that as an aspiring author in my elementary school years (I knew I wanted to be one when I was 5!), my teachers specifically took a liking to me because I was pursuing writing, especially creative writing, on my own. Most of the kids in my classes did not care. I, on the other hand, wasn’t going to be stopped.

  • Sumesh says:

    After reading this, I, an 18 year old blogger (started at the age of 14) feel too old among these bloggers (I refuse to call them ‘kids’ knowing what they do).

  • Reading this is kinda like reading a list of baseball prospects who are all younger than you–though I guess I have slightly more of a chance of being a well-known blogger than center fielder for the New York Yankees :).

  • Connie Reece says:

    Tamar, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this piece about young bloggers, and I am going to check out their writing. And hey, if you want to do that piece on How Old Is Too Old? let me know. I turned 60 this year (still can’t believe it) and I’m encouraging my friend Sherry, who is 70, to start a podcast. She’s an amazing entrepreneur. Writing is not her thing so she hasn’t gotten around to blogging and felt guilty about it. I said, “Nonsense. What you need to be doing is a podcast.” I’ll let you know when I get her convinced. :)

  • It is absolutely mind boggling to see some of the language they use in their blogs. I am amazed! I know “they” say that today’s children are far more advanced then children of generations past but now I see it!
    Kudos to their parents for standing behind them and encouraging and reinforcing positive habits and strengths. I firmly believe we are looking at the major players of social media’s future right here!

    Great idea and great post Tamar!

  • My 11 year old step daughter wanted to blog, but her mom and I wouldn’t let her out of security concerns. We need to be more comfortable about her safety before giving her the green light to blog in public. She’s “blogging” in an offline, old fashioned, paper journal right now.

    Did any of the parents express concern about their child’s online and offline safety?

    • Hi Rafael, I’m kind of like you. I grew up doing “naughty” online things behind my parents’ backs (and no, not that naughty; however, I met one of my first online friends when I was 15 and orchestrated it to be around a school trip so I was with other people. My parents had no idea). As a parent now, I worry about my son’s future online a bit, and I’d be super protective of him, kind of like how my parents were with me.

      That said, this is the age we’re living in right now. COPPA laws protect children under the age of 13, and that’s why Ani’s blog, for example, is protected (by her mother’s request).

      You can still blog online, and it doesn’t have to be exposed to the rest of the world. There are ways to make it work. My first blog was written when I was 8 or 9 in my computer’s Notepad application because there were no online blogs at that point, but sure, there were plenty of pens and papers and journals. I still elected to use a digital medium, and why not? It wasn’t exposed to the world.

  • Kwame says:

    I have never considered age to be a barrier of communication. The ‘kids’ featured here are smart and I am glad they found a way to share their knowledge with the world.

    They are smart because:
    1.most of them write better articles than the older guys.
    2. They were able to persuade their parents to allow them to blog. You know, some parents will say, “hey, turn of the computer and go and look into your books”.
    3. Some of them are making money with their blogs whiles most adults watch butterflies fly out of their wallets and purses.

    Thanks for giving showing me a few other blogs to read Tamar. Your articles are awesome.

    • Yeah, and you’d hope their parents would let them go back to their books and write (like Adora) because the output is phenomenal. :)

      And Carl definitely is smart; affiliate marketing is a hard niche! I give him a tremendous amount of credit.

  • Ben Lang says:

    Thanks so much for this! Hey, I would have included you if I knew of your blog, but I didnt :( Next time though :)

    Thanks again.

  • Sean says:

    Hey thanks for featuring me! Carl, Gloson, Shelby, Josh, Ben, Marly, and Ani you all are amazing too.

  • I’m too old to be considered young now that I am 23! :( Hahaha – time moves so quick!

  • Stephen says:

    I am really impressed with kids who blog. I think blogging offers them a great opportunity to connect with people from all over the world, from all sorts of different cultures. It allows them to express themselves in a way that wasn’t available when I was young. If it was, I reckon I would have started blogging much earlier than I did.

    • Totally. If I knew about blogs when I was a kid, I think things would have been much different for me! Then again, I’m happy the way I turned out. :)

  • Krisenkindt says:

    Awesome post! Thanks! I had no clue there are so many kids out blogging…
    I personally think there is no “too young” for writing … stories, movies, reviews, anything they like really. But I do think its important to, if they want to blog, teach them well about how to keep a secure amount of privacy, especially when it comes to pictures, addresses, hang-out spots, etc.
    All the best from Brazil! :) Anna

  • Becky says:

    Amazing! Really flips the power dynamic from adults as “experts” that kids should learn from. I’m sure these kids have a lot to teach us :)

  • How inspiring! This came at a great time. I plan to show all my C-level clients who complain about blogging. I also plan to put it on my own wall as a reminder of the passion and excitement that is out there is we just look.
    Christine

  • Rhys says:

    If anything, I’d consider blogging to be easier for young people. As somebody who’s gone from being a kidblogger to an adult blogger (16-26 now), it’s a lot easier blogging when you don’t have day job.

    • Rhys, you’re probably right. Then again, I know that my blog when I was younger was more about what’s on my mind at that time versus coming up with a post that would resonate with my readers. I actually had no post this week and then remembered I asked these kids these questions back in February (yes, really). ;) As for next week, well, I don’t know. I don’t do editorial calendars. I need to do what feels right at that moment.

  • LOL just amazing and inspiring. But when are you going to do one on “bloggers who grew into old people”? I had my first blog in 2000 where I did daily entries on my cross-country travels. Now I’m going to be 51 in July, my amazing black hair is more salt than pepper, and I’ve gained… oh nevermind!

    But seriously – children, by nature, are creative and insightful when allowed to communicate. Blogging can be an ideal place for that.

  • Hmm, another interesting idea. A longitudinal study would be fun. Check back on this topic in 2020. :D

    Kids are so lucky to have blogs. I love what technology has done for us. :)

    And it’s great to see you here, Alan :)

  • Hey Tamar,

    Awesome list. I only know about Gloson, ben and Glen.
    Going to check all of them.

    Thanks for this great Post. Tamar :).

    ~Dev

  • Tia says:

    I have noticed really young people, especially in the making money online niche, slowly and steadily becoming the prominent bloggers. Not as young as the ones you’ve mentioned, but at 18, 19, and 20. There’s certainly something to be said about the future of online entrepreneurship when it is led by 18 year olds. I still don’t know what to think of it all yet; it’s the personal responsibility part that makes me say ‘hmm.’

    • I have faith in these kids. I always worried that the world was getting increasingly less traditional (okay, we know that) but there’s a bright future ahead of us now! :)

      • Tia says:

        True that! I was just talking about that with my mom. The younger “generation” lol has this incredible advantage of improving on all of history to date, plus with the evolving human mind, the incredible advantage of digesting and making sense of information so rapidly. They are capable of anything. It’s really amazing.

  • Jon Dougan says:

    Tamara thanks for writing this article. So many bright and talented kids on the world stage.

    The world is a stage so be it they are young or have been around for 20+ years. Everyone has the right to voice their opinions and ideas as long as we don’t do harm in anyway. That’s what I’ve been telling my 10 year now 11 on Tuesday about writing things on his blog (http://berkdogan.com).

    There usually is a trend with kids, they usually either follow a father figure or a big brother figure. With my child he tends to follow my moves. Sometimes I wish he stops it but it’s fun knowing that your child is doing something that is worthwhile (at-least that’s the way I see it).

    Here’s a tip for parents who wants to steer their children away form games and into educational activities as such as writing. As a parent remove all the gaming consoles and games of any kind from your household and computers. Games are a way to degenerate young people. They steal and rob your time and more importantly they never add value to your life standard. Be a real role model if you want your child to succeed in their future.

    Cheers,
    Jon

    • Better for him to follow you than not to follow you! I hope my kids don’t go on the wrong path.

      It’s too bad that both my husband and I, who were deprived of gaming consoles in our childhoods, are now kind of drawn to it. I wonder if we can limit the gameplay when my son is older!

      • Jon Dougan says:

        Hi Tamara,

        I have a philosophy of my own when it comes to game consoles:

        Do, what you would have your child do. In other words, show them that you are no longer interested in the consoles games and they will follow by example. Of course, you need a lot of trust, love and respect between parent and child and it’s usually from parent to child.

        Don’t let your kids grow on their own – be proactive in their lives while they are growing. Once they have gone past a certain age they will either continue following in your steps or choose another to follow.

        You get the point… if you’re not in their lives then you will not be a figure (head) in their minds – this is how most dysfunctional families start.

        All the best to you and your family. As long as there is room for family love and respect then there are great bonds between family members.

        :)

        Jon

  • Tamar, Hi, from a 21 year old blogger from India. I, too started young (not that youn) at the age of 18. It has been a roller coaster ride since then.

    I have been friends with Gloson and I think he is doing a great job.

    Glen amazes me with his blogging and web design skill and also his ability to make money and still bind the community.

    I think young bloggers bring fresh new flavour to blogosphere and Ideally there is no age limit for blogging

  • Matthias says:

    Hey, I started blogging at the age of 17. Now, with 18, I’ve got some experience in this “business” ;)
    Thank you for this great post!

    Cheers from Germany,
    Matthias

  • Chantelle says:

    Its so awesome to see such young children blogging. I’m 20 now and have just started bloggin n still have a lot to learn. These kids are way beyond. Way to go Kids! Cheers!

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