Let’s talk about our children and their presence on the internet.
The year 2012 is such a different age to be raising kids, no? We’re all so intricately and oddly joined together by blogs, social networking sites and the internet that learning of personal announcements via facebook or twitter is the norm — especially in my life.
I wanted to get pregnant. I wrote about my fertility issues on my blog. I wrote about when I found out I was pregnant on my blog. I wrote about what it was like to be pregnant on my blog. I wrote about when I got pregnant the second time on my blog. I wrote about the births of both of my daughters (Lila here, Vivienne here) on my blog and shared their birth announcements on facebook. I believe I tweeted when I was in labor, too. (Did I? I can’t remember.) I’ve written about the girls’ first years of life up until the present on my blog, too.
I get it.
Still, I think we must respect the simple truth that what we share on the internet lives forever.
And right now my concern is for the children of the digital age.
At what point do we stop posting photos of them on our blogs, on facebook, on instagram in an effort to both protect them and respect them?
Some bloggers support their families by writing about them. (This isn’t a new concept — writers and journalists have been doing this for years. Anyone remember Erma Bombeck?) Some bloggers watermark their photos to protect their children from being exploited by others. And there are some who have never so much as uttered the real names of their children; instead they’ve been using pseudonyms in yet another attempt to protect them.
I’ve recently started watermarking my photos, but I also use my daughters real names and show images of them and tell stories about them frequently.
Is this ok?
When I first started Two Pretzels years ago, the only others I had to worry
about were my husband, Craig (who I used to refer to as just, “C”) and our English bulldog, Nattie. (She was so wonderful.) And, before I’d write about Craig in a particular
post, I’d ask for his permission. (I still do this today.)
But as for my daughters, Lila and Vivienne? I’ve never asked their permission since they’re, well… toddlers.
[insert contemplative look here.]
Since they can’t yet offer me their permission to share about them on my blog, should I?
I often ask myself this question: Am I oversharing? At what point am I encroaching on their territory by telling their story?
On my blog it’s true that I am telling my story. But the confusion; the grey area is that their story is also my story, at least rght now.
I need to be respectful of them.
Each post I write, each photo I post — I’ve thought about.
You will never see a bathtub photo of my children. You will never see them nude in any way, shape or form on my blog, on my facebook account or on my instagram account. EVER.
Posting a snapshot of a naked infant bathing in a tub is one thing — posting a photo of a naked 3-year-old little girl is inappropriate online. I don’t even like seeing cute little naked baby butts online.
There, I said it.
I cannot handle seeing naked photos of children online for so many reasons.
First and foremost: HELLO? Let’s remember the creepers out there… the pedophiles and the pervy folks who like to see small children naked — why give them an invitation to look at your child?
Secondly, to reiterate — the technology factor of our world today is such that our children; the spawn of all of us with blogs, facebook accounts and instantgram accounts, will have a digital footprint that starts with BIRTH.
That’s something you or I reading this will never have to deal with. Our parents didn’t take hundreds of photos at just one birthday party on their digital camera and then immediately post them online. Nope, they took about 12. Maybe 3 made it into a family photo album that stayed in the safety of our home.
Oh, times… they have done changed.
If my child’s future employer searches long enough, I never want him or her to run across a photo of my child naked in her pool. Instead, it’s my responsibility to protect my children’s presence on the internet for today and the future.
The interweb lasts forever.
While I don’t have a definitive timeline as to when I will curb my writing about my girls; I am cognizant of it. I will continue to be thoughtful and respectful of what I share keeping in mind one basic question:
“How would I feel if my Mom posted this, or wrote that, about me and then shared it with the entire universe?”
What are your thoughts on this?