My Child’s Privacy and My Blogging – Mutually Exclusive or Not?

CNN just posted an opinion article about how “Today’s 30-somethings are the first generation whose children are coming of age alongside the social Web.”

The article focused on Facebook sharing, but the same thoughts about personal privacy and sharing of pictures and stories obviously pertains to blogging as well. The quote that I’ve seen pulled from the article the most is this:

On the most basic level, we want to be able to tell our story about our lives. But, in the case of our children, a permanent and public story has already been recorded about them before they have a chance to decide whether they want to participate…

Hm, good point. When my blog was about my weight loss struggles and my TTC struggles, it was my story to tell, but now that it’s about Stella’s runny nose or pooping habits, is it okay to still be sharing my her story?

Back in November of 2007, GGC wrote a really interesting post about this exact worry.

I called a family meeting and after much talk, decided to ceasefire on public displays of Archfection when Archer starts Kindergarten. … Because maybe Archer won’t care and we’ll all find that in the future, everyone is public with their lives. But there is also a chance that Arch will want to draw the blinds on his bedroom windows, and as a mother, respecting that possibility is my job.

I’ve thought about this ever since, and I have always figured that I would follow a similar mindset. Once the kiddo hits school age, I think it will be up to her if I post a picture or story about her, because those are her stories to tell, and I feel that the older my child gets, the more it becomes her right to control how her life story is shared with the world.

Finally, a quick note of advice about something I learned the hard way. In an effort to reduce my googleable online presence a few months ago, I moved my family blog to a URL that didn’t include my entire last time. Almost more importantly, I no longer upload pictures that I’ve saved as “SmithFamily.jpg,” (and I deleted files in the blogger picasa album with titles like that and re-uploaded the pictures with more boring titles like picture121.jpg). It’s sort of startling the first time you google yourself in awhile and you realized that OH SHIT, picture file names show up in google?! Maybe you’re thinking “duh Josey”…but maybe you’re thinking OH SHIT as well. You’re welcome.

*Do you put watermarks on your photos to help keep them from being pirated? Do you think it helps?
*Do you share pictures of your kiddo on the internet at all? Why or why not?
*Do you use your child’s real name or a nickname on your blog? 
*Do you think that using a nickname makes a difference in how much you’ll share about him/her online? 

17 comments

  1. I share more than I planned. But (as you know) it did take a long time before I divulged little girl's name. Just for kicks and giggles I did Google our names and because our last name is also a brand name, plus we either have common first names or location names, it was hard to find us. So that was comforting. I'll probably be more careful in the future though.

  2. it is crazy that you wrote this today for two reasons… one, I have been thinking about this a lot myself… and two, after I commented on your blog this morning about the 'Stella' book, I look up Alidia children's books and hit google images. There were tons of photos from my blog or other photos of our family!! Even if I put in Alidia and google images, there are photos of her!! Nuts. I guess that is what we get for picking that name. Anyway, the photos that come up are fine and I don't regret posting any of them and I am sure (although of course not positive) Alidia won't stop speaking to me in future because of them. As you know, I don't put watermarks on photos and I do use her real name. I think there are sooooo many things that are kids will be the first generation doing. It takes a lot of worrying to worry about every one of those things, so I personally think everyone should relax a bit and do what feels right for them and their family. A mother and/or father (or other guardians) choose everything else for a child for the first few years (how to raise them, where they sleep, what they eat, what vaccines they get, where the live, etc. etc. etc.) and are trusted to do so. I think they should be trusted to make the right choice for their family in this situation too. Some will choose one way and some will choose another and that is just fine.

  3. This whole thing has really set me off. Stirrup Queen has been posting about this for about a week and has me totally freaking someone is going to steal my pics. Be it FB or blogger or whatever. I have copyright notices in my metadata, but no watermarking. However I'm seriously thinking of adding a watermark from here on out. I have googled my name and my daughters name and there is someone else with my name, but neither my blog nor my FB page are found with google. That makes me feel just a little better, but I'm definitely more concerned now than I used to be.

  4. Yeah – our names are just different enough that everything was showing up as well. Oops! Like you said, I don't regret any of the pictures I've posted though, so that's okay. I like how you relate a decision like blogging about them to the many important decisions we make regarding their care and welfare. Also, I agree, it would be ridiculous to worry about every little thing. We are doing what we think is best, and that's okay!

  5. Well, this is a great post that has got me thinking. I have been blogging for almost a year and i have not used any of my kids names, but I have used plenty pictures and not watermarked them. My pics automatically come boring because I am simply too lazy to change them 🙂 I think being a mommy blogger and sharing our stories with each other does compromise the privacy of our children…but I agree that I don't know if I will be so open once they are older.

  6. I just scoured the internet and found that if I search for my kid's full name, just a bunch of Rabbis in Israel appear. However, if I search using his first and my last name, VOILA. PAYLOAD. So we are going to reevaluate how we do this, and will mostly likely stop using his name and just shorten to the first initial. Thanks for this post- made us be a bit more thoughtful about the process! -Angela

  7. All good points. Will think about what Livi might think of all this. BTW you can lock your blog from search engines so no one on the net can ever has access to it. It's in your privacy settings.

  8. I am crazy to the point of paranoia about being private, anonymous and un-googleable. I'm even afraid to put my gmail address on my resume (yes, I've already sent it out) for fear it is somehow linked to my blog and recruiters will know I have a dusty uterus and discriminate against me because of it. Damn ute! I've also googled myself numerous times just to make sure I'm clean! I put a good number of pictures on fb, but I have my settings set so that if you tag me in a photo, I have to approve it and if I"m not your friend, you're not seeing anything! I don't know why, b/c there is nothing interesting about me that people are clambering over walls to find, but I hate that I strangers can see in. I changed everything when my aunt, who doesn't know how to go online, told me she saw pictures I'd posted b/c her friend and I have friends in common.Sorry for the diatribe!

  9. Yeah, I've actually gone through and done that to both of my blogs. It's a good tip though!

  10. Yeah, that's why I have a separate gmail address linked to this blog… I'm not afraid of IFers knowing my real identity…I just don't want work/etc to know about this blog!I do the same thing on FB – I must approve everything, and my security settings are maxed out. I've also deleted a lot of what I originally put on there!

  11. I don't share my blog with people I know in real life (except for about 3 or 4 people) so I try very hard to keep our last name off everything blog-wise. Also, though I've written a ton of embarrassing things, I've vowed not to write any details about poo/diapers/potty training. For some reason, that topic is off-limits for me.

  12. I just searched my daughter's name (which is unusual, at least the first and last combo) and it doesn't turn up anything. Interesting since her last name is part of our blog address (I made our blog address our last names because I thought I might want to change the name of the blog eventually – which I just did, incidentally).I do watermark photos, but I don't watermark across the photos, so the wms could still be cropped out. I just kind of hope for the best with that.I don't know if my blogging will change when she is school age. Like Sheelah, I don't blog about certain things that are sort of "private" in a common sense, and I don't post shirtless photos of my daughter (bath photos, etc — with the one exception of the photo taken immediately after she was born, though I did choose one where you can't see her lady bits).

  13. Interesting you should bring this up. I shared with hubs I didn't want his sister posting pics of our kiddos online. She has a tendency to overstate. She has 1700 friends on FB and is always posting pics of her daughter naked. Call me sick or weird but out of 1700 friends someone's probably not all together there or has a screw loose and it makes me cringe that someone could be looking at the pics in a weird way. Mind you her daughter is three. She thinks nothing of it and said until she's about 5 she really thinks its all good and cute. Call me crazy but I don't. Hence the ban (on the kiddos we don't even have yet). But I wanted to get it out of the way from now. Now I'm left thinking of how my husbands niece will feel years from now when there are tons of naked pics of her online. And pics on FB can't be protected. Anyone that's your friend can right click and save it to their computer and repost. Shit makes me shudder. On my blog I started protecting pics earlier this year.

  14. I am currently struggling whether or not I want to post any pics of Zoey. A tumblr friend of mine had her babies photo's stolen and the woman tried passing her baby off as her own. It was sick. Makes me not want to at all. I have thought about deleting my blog but I have met so many great people from it.

  15. Thanks for the comment Josie…not sure why the new title isn't showing up in the feed because that IS how I changed the title…I don't think there is another way unless your title is an actual picture…but mine isn't. Maybe it takes awhile for blogger to catch the new title and start posting it that way. Thanks for the tip on the sideways pictures too…I just posted them sideways and that seems to have done the trick! I also changed my blog title because I didn't want it to be our last name either, but our blog name is my husband's first and last name which I can't change :-(. Definitely something to think about…a few friends have gone private with their blogs and I never remember to check them!

  16. this is such a tough decision to make. i've been reading a lot of posts lately about this topic and it has gotten me thinking a lot about it, too. it all makes me really glad that i chose to blog under pseudonyms. my only worry now is the use of pictures. i'm not sure if i'm going to continue posting pics of mack or not. thanks for posting about this, though! i think it's an important topic that we should all seriously consider.

  17. […] – This was a pretty quiet month, but I got a lot of great comments from you all on My Child’s Privacy and My Blogging – Mutually Exclusive or Not? This is definitely still a topic I think about every day before hitting […]

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