Yours, Mine, Ours: Blogging Kids
Things evolve so quickly in new media. Hearkening back to the "early" days of blogging (about five years ago) makes me feel like adding "consarnit," and "whippersnapper" to the end of every sentence. Back in the dawn of time, young whippersnappers, there was a lot of controversy over the safety of publishing stories and photographs of kids on the internet. Some believed that predators would flip through blogs like the Sears Roebuck catalog of victims and simply pick out the ones they wanted.
There are still those who think social media was sent by the devil to destroy newspapers, spread aids, and eat children, but prevailing wisdom has come to conclude that children are no more vulnerable being seen online than in any other public place: the mall, the playground, the baseball park, their school newsletter, or the city paper's coverage of the spelling bee (when kids are actively engaged in online activities, that's another issue).
Which is to say, children are vulnerable. Anywhere. If you have some, you need to watch them.
Go check on them now. I'll wait.
It might surprise you to know that I am actually a lunatic when it comes to protecting my kids' privacy (ask our PTA or their babysitter). But security concerns are a very small part of it. It has more to do with trying to balance the public aspect of our family's life. It's important to me, as a writer, to tell the stories of this big, little life I love. It's important to me, as a mother, to preserve private space for my children to grow. Reconciling those two interests is a continuous improvisation, not a uniform policy. The borders around the territory where mine and their stories intersect is a shifting one as they, and I, grow.
To date, I've kept the boys' names out of the blog. Not so much because I worry someone could use that information for nefarious purposes--anyone on the playground can hear me bellowing first, middle and last names, loud and clear. And follow us up to our front door, for that matter (where our rottschund
will eat them). I've written around the boys names' as a signal to me and my readers that the central focus here isn't my children, though they run through it, tracking mud and sweetness, leaving the front door open and slamming the back.
Notes to Self isn't a title I put a whole lot of thought into. But it's been a good one. This a journal of my experience, my identity. The context right now happens to be family life. But I don't have to worry about "rebranding" myself when my children are grown. My writing includes them, but it's not about them.
That's where I am with it today, anyway. Other blogging parents have arrived at different decisions. Know what? They probably have different bedtimes for their kids, too. Like every other judgement call you make as a parent, do whatever works for you and yours, within the bounds of safety, love and respect.
Note I said you and yours. Nothing will get you in hot water faster than blogging about other people's kids, a common newbie mistake. My recommendation is not to post any identifiable content about a child online, anywhere, without checking with the parents first. By identifiable content, I mean photos and names. If someone else's child has a supporting role in a blog post, read Blogging 101: Session II
and proceed with caution.
I'm going to talk a little more about photos and and copyright trespass in the final session of this series. What have I left out that you'd like to discuss? Include a question in the comments section below, and we'll tack a little Q&A on the end of the next installment.
Labels: FAQ-type stuff, streaking the quad
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