Sunday, July 24, 2011

Respecting My Children's Privacy

When it comes to blogging there is a fine line between sharing and over-sharing.

I share a lot with you, but not everything. I try to be positive and fun in my posts, but as you have likely read already, I have my periods of feeling blue too. Sometimes I share that, oftentimes I keep it to myself.

But in all times I strive to be real and honest with you. I'm always hopeful that when you read my posts you are getting a sense of who I am, and that it's like we're sitting across the table at a coffee shop just talking together.

I'm struggling with something though. How much do I share about my children before it becomes a breech of their privacy?

I use my children's real names on this blog. I always have. Probably not the smartest idea, but it's the route I've chosen and it's not like I can go back now.

Between Facebook, Twitter and other blogs, it really wouldn't be that hard to find out my last name and where I live. Scary, huh?

That said, I need to think about my children's safety and privacy.

You may or may not have noticed that I don't post pictures of my two older children much anymore. I can assure you, it's not because I've forgotten them or don't love them anymore. Quite the contrary!

At 12 and 10, their features aren't really changing that much even though they continue to grow. They are very distinguishable to people. My two youngest children are still growing and their looks are still changing. I could post a picture of Jordan today and again in six months, and she would look a bit different. Sam and Julie are going to look the same in six months.

Put that together with how easy it could be to find out my last name and location and I think you can see where I'm going with this.

But privacy for my children also extends to their thoughts, feelings and life experiences. It wouldn't be fair for me to share things that go on in Sam and Julie's lives that they want to keep to themselves.

They are not blog fodder. They are my children.

I have started asking them for their permission to post photos of them on my Facebook account. If they say no, then I honour that. If they agree, then I'm proud to show them off. They trust that I'm not going to blog about our private, heartfelt conversations. When I shared about Sam's difficulties with that boy in school, it was because he gave me his permission to do so. I would have liked to have told you about a shopping trip that Julie and I had recently, but the nature of the trip was so special and so personal that I wanted to keep it between us.

I will continue to strive to blog authentically and respectfully. I will share as much on this blog as I can and that my family feels comfortable with. It's how I've always tried to run this blog in the past and it works.

Know that if I post photos of Sam and Julie that it is done with their permission. If I share a story about them, it is with their permission.

Respect is a right that everyone deserves regardless of their age.

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9 comments:

  1. wow..."mckmama" is supposed to in africa but she was just here checking out your blog!

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  2. Well said....what a good mama you are!!! Hugs!

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  3. beautifully said :)

    For our blog, its our Online Scrapbook, so nothing is off limits. My kids love going back through old posts and reading all about themselves from a few years back :) The fact that other people read it is just kind of "extra" :)

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  4. It's spelled honor. Not honour. Geez. :)

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  5. I love it! I've often wondered about older kiddos... I think it's super important that children of all ages are treated with respect and dignity. Well-said!

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  6. Very true. I sometimes use my kids' real names and sometimes not. I need to choose one method and just stick with it. With so many kids, it's hard to say "my second daughter" or "middle son" each time. My youngest loves to see himself on the blog, oldest - not so much. I never share anything to personal that would be embarrassing. Plus, other than my mom, I don't think too many people that know me personally read my blog regularly. I am very open on Facebook which is set to extremely private and keep FB and blog "life" separate. Also, just in case there are crazies out there reading it, I never post where we are until we are back, like vacationing and such.

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  7. It's a good, real life, lesson for your kiddos too. I imagine soon they'll have their own facebook pages. Maybe this will help them understand the whole sharing and privacy thing.
    Could you just change their names to the first letter? I know it seems like a lot of work but you could change old posts to reflect their new 'names' too.

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  8. You are an amazing mom. The conversations you have with your children about what you share/don't share about them on Facebook or here is teaching them not everything needs to be broadcast on Facebook.

    We had an incident this week, and my friend put info on Facebook that I didn't want her to. Though friends came to help who saw it on her wall, I was thankful that it was mostly kept off my wall. There are people who do not need to know exactly what happened and there are people that deserve to know the full story before people read about it online.

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  9. Kudos to you. It's such a fine line as to how much information to share. Blogs,fb etc have changed so much of the way we communicate these days you have to force yourself to draw the line somewhere. I love that you realize that your oldest two are greatly equipped with their own brain and understand that what you might share with the world about them might have a direct impact on them. Seems there are a lot of ppl that forget that these days. Personally, I have recently inclined myself away from public anything, closing my fb account, etc. I'm finding it easier to go back to 'basics' - journaling, photo albums a phone call or letter rather than digital. There's something so intimate and slow about those things....

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