The main reason for this page is reassurance.
I am a parent and, like you, I want to know that the children in my care are using the internet safely. Therefore I have done my best to make this site as safe as possible for children. Nevertheless, there are two issues that I can see with this site which could potentially give you some cause for concern. These are:
- Links to sites outside this website that are not specifically aimed at children, especially via the YouTube videos.
- The requirement to give an e-mail address when someone leaves a comment.
Here is my rationale for these two:
- Links to non-child-specific sites: There are several types of external sites that I link to in this website. They are:
- Official websites of musicians.
- Sources of images or other material that I have used.
- YouTube videos.
Regarding the first category, if I talk about a musician, I think it is only fair that I provide a link to the musician’s official site if they have one. If a child likes a musician I have mentioned, they are likely to go searching for more themselves. They might as well be directed to the official site. In any case, I have browsed through each site that I link to. While they may not be child-specific, I have seen nothing to cause concern (unless advertising the musician’s music is a cause for concern).
The second category (source material) is necessary if I use other people’s material, such as pictures, on my site. Source material links only appear in the small grey ‘credits’ at the bottom. I think it very unlikely that many children (or even adults) will bother with these links. In any case, I have checked each one and they are generally harmless.
The third category (YouTube videos) is again necessary if I am to have videos on this site. The concerns about a child going directly to a YouTube site are advertising and inappropriate comments about the videos from other users. I wish I could do something about this, but I can’t. In any case, it is my understanding that children regularly look at YouTube videos. My daughters tell me that they even do this as part of their lessons at school. Hopefully this means they know what to expect if they go to YouTube from my site.
- The requirement for e-mail addresses when leaving comments: This is a difficult one. Unfortunately it is necessary for me to ask for e-mail addresses in order to minimise spam to my site. If I dropped this requirement I could be inundated with spam and never see the real comments. So that is why I require e-mail addresses.
Next, please be reassured that I will never publish e-mail addresses. This is a cast-iron guarantee. I will only publish the name of the child as they have written it.
And finally, how will I use e-mail addresses? Generally speaking, I will not use the e-mail addresses at all. In most cases I will not send an e-mail to a child who has left a comment. They may be disappointed, but I think this is the best policy. If I want to reply to something a child has said, I will generally do it via a public comment which will appear after their own.
Having said that, I can imagine some circumstances where I might e-mail a child directly. The main reason would be if I edited what they wrote and wanted to check that they were happy for me to publish their edited comment. Another reason might be if a child writes something very personal, or includes personal details (such as phone numbers, addresses etc.). In these circumstances it is probably best if I write back warning the child that sending such information on the internet is risky.
I hope that the above has satisfied any concerns you may have about this site. If you have any queries, please do send me a comment below. Unless you request otherwise, I will not publish these comments and respond to you directly via e-mail.
Enjoy the site!