As parents, my husband and I are currently responsible for our daughter’s safety – online and offline. We are very open people who both have blogs and like to share stories and pictures online. We love sharing our lives with other people – friends and family and strangers – in that way. So, when our daughter was born, we shared about it online. We used her real name and posted photos of her, which we have continued to do for the past two years. Call me naive, but I didn’t think about the safety repercussions of it a whole lot. But now that she is older she has gotten recognized a few times in public when we’re out and about, which made me wonder… Is it safe to blog about my kid?
So I talked to some family and friends about it and decided to come up with some rules:
Our Family Guidelines for Online Safety
- I don’t post Rooney in Carts or other location-based photos until we’re away from the location.
- Eric and I have agreed to not post photos of Rooney in the bathtub that show any of her private body parts (even those that are undeveloped). I have the cutest photo of Rooney and three of her cousins in the bathtub that I would love to share with the world because it is just SO cute, but it will just have to stay a private photo, and that’s OK.
- We have never posted our address online, and most of the time we say we live in “Des Moines” rather than the suburb we live in.
- As we begin to tackle potty-training, I will not post photos of Rooney that I would not want posted of myself.
To be honest, after I wrote this, I had to go back and remove a couple photos from my Instagram feed. One was of her in the bath, and the other was of some cute new underwear I had bought her. I had hesitated before sharing both of those photos, but had decided to do it anyway because I didn’t have guidelines in place.
I’m sure there are photos out there of the outside of our house and we could be found if someone really wanted to find us, but I feel more comfortable having these guidelines in place.
But even though we take precautions, sometimes I wonder, Is it smart to blog about our children? Is it fair to her that I write about her online? Will she be upset or embarrassed later in life?
It’s hard to tell how mommy blogs will affect our children once they’re grown. Having an online presence is appealing to me – but I have to remember that it’s not that way for everyone else. As Rooney has gotten older, I’ve developed a short list of guidelines to follow in hopes of not embarrassing her in the future.
To Post or Not to Post?
- If Rooney doesn’t want her photo taken in a particular moment, I don’t take it.
- In the future, if she asks me not to share a specific story about her online, I won’t.
- I haven’t written about certain things in detail, like tantrums, because I feel like it might embarrass her later.
- If I wouldn’t want a certain photo posted of myself, I won’t post it of her.
- Before posting, I ask myself, “How would I feel if this story were posted about me?”
Probably the most controversial post I have posted so far on this topic has been how I felt when I saw Rooney’s birthmark for the first time. I decided to share the story because I knew other mothers had gone through this and because I felt it was my story to share. I absolutely LOVE her birthmark now and can’t imagine her without it. I don’t want Rooney to ever dislike her birthmark and I will do my best to teach her how to love it if she doesn’t, but I was honest in my post and said that my heart sunk a little when I saw it for the first time.
Overall, I love documenting our family adventures and Rooney’s growth. Of course, this could be done on a private blog and only shared with family, but for now we’ve decided to post publicly because of the amazing community online. Of course, the good comes with the bad.
How about you? Do you think it’s safe or smart to blog about our kids? Do you prefer to keep your children’s names or faces private?
Photo credit: Megan Schaap