Our Lives Online

Some people write beautiful blogs. They share stories about their children and the hidden treasures found in life’s experiences. Back when I interviewed Penni about her blog and other interesting things, I asked about her decision to share stories on her blog about her girls. And you might remember her answer, which I’m reposting.

“Because of <my blog’s>  humble beginnings I have always felt comfortable with the idea of posting pictures of my kids and using their real names. Occasionally I wonder how they will feel about the identities I have created for them online, and as they get older I know I’ll probably be constrained more in what I can write about them, because they’ll be more self-conscious about it (which will be sad for me). All I can say is I write with empathy and love and hopefully that is how they will see it.”

“Perhaps I am naive but I don’t feel threatened in terms of personal security by that information existing online. Of course I can be tracked down if anyone was keen enough to find me, but I could anyway, through my books, through the biographical information already available about me. I am, to some degree, a public entity.”

I really admire Penni’s decision to share their lives online, and it’s wonderful to read about her daughter Frederique”s first day at school.  And still, I’m not sure how I feel about adding images of my own children online with the general public. Once I asked the eldest boy to dress up and draw a prize for a competition. When I replayed the video I realised that I was not only  speaking to my son in a funny voice (!) but I also wondered if he would look back and ask why he was wearing a silly mask.

Somebody told me a story about his colleague who had people unexpectedly rock up at her doorstep, after meeting them in Secondlife. She completely freaked out and never went back into Secondlife again. “Be careful, that’s all I’m saying,” he warned me. I know a couple of bloggers who have been stalked. Usually they shake them off. But I guess its these kind of stories that make me feel a bit uncomfortable about sharing toooo much.

Anyhow, my brother took these photos at the beach recently and they seemed too good NOT to share. It’s been so hot here and we spent some time cooling down along our beautiful coastline.

and here’s one of mine

See – too lovely not to share those moments. Which is how I feel about Penni’s blog .
Do you share photos of your children online, on your blog, on Flickr, on Facebook, YouTube etc ? What made you come to that decision? How do you feel about online privacy? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

5 thoughts on “Our Lives Online

  1. Holly

    I used to share my entire personal life on Myspace. I would blog about everything and anything on my mind, not stopping to think about when I wrote about others, or myself and my son. I think about the only thing I did not put out there for the public would be my schedule, and information on my direct location (my home) and I think I left out my last name. Though looking back I never use my last name, so that was probably not in interest of my own safety.

    It was not until I was actually enduring a mini-stalking situation. I found out that my son’s father’s sisters were keeping tabs on me through my blogs and pictures. Though it is against Myspace rules, I placed an invisible tracker on my profile, and discovered one of the three would visit literally every single day. This was both before and after I deleted them from my friends list. I felt violated, especially when they would read my comments then go to the person who left them and read whatever comments I may have left them. I am a very open person about my son. Something his father’s family knew. Yet their jaded opinions of me made them want to snoop rather than ask straight out.

    Now all my pictures are set to friend’s only. I only add people I know and trust. My blogs that involve anything to do with my personal life, or my son are also friend’s only.

    I do admit I add pictures to a Autism Blogging site I participate in, though I do not add that to my lists of other places to find me for fear his family will only stalk me there as well. But I think I have changed greatly in my opinions of personal safety since I first joined sites such as Myspace.

  2. Chris

    We put up photos on facebook and on a blog of our daughter. I think the benefits outweigh the risks. A photo or two per day with a short comment is so quick and easy to do, and is a great way for relatives who are interstate or overseas to stay up to date with what she is doing. If we had to individually email photos or administrate a secure site to store them on, it just wouldn’t happen.

    There are risks involved, but I don’t think the danger is any greater than going out in public where people will see your children anyway. I do avoid putting up schedule type information though, and any photos or blog posts are done on the assumption that anyone in the world could see them.

  3. Willie

    After much thought, we decided to have a blog for our Grandson. we were concerned about putting photos and personal information on the web for everyone to see and as he gets older we may stop. But like the person in your post, I also have my name in books, on websites, in articles, and in blogs so people can find me if they really wanted to. We don’t blatantly post addresses or such, we are not inviting trouble. I hope we never find out it was a bad decision on our part. However, we decided a chronicle of his early years on the web would be the easiest way to get information about him to his Great Grandparents who are spread across the country.

    This is Anthony’s blog.. http://anthonyfavero.wordpress.com/

  4. wonderwebby

    Holly, Chris and Willie thanks so much for sharing your stories.

    As someone tweeted “it’s a slippery slope and we are all finding our feet”. We have to do what we feel comfortable with. I’m sure our kids will be creating their own identities in whichever format later on in life. My husband doesn’t mind sharing photos of the boys so much. In fact I didn’t even share a photo of myself or even my name on this blog for at least 6 months. As Chris points out, perhaps the pros of sharing outweigh the cons.

  5. Daniela

    I’ve had photos of my girls (11 and 13) on Flickr for several years now. We use it to share family events etc with relatives overseas.

    I usually will have the photos publicly available for a few weeks at first, so that family who aren’t Flickr members can see them. Then I switch them over to a “family only” permission, to restrict access for the long term.
    As for blogging, I did start up a family blog (which we never really found a lot of time for). Both my daughters blogged a little when they were younger. I’m hoping to resurrect it this year, as a means of encouraging the girls to share their writing & thoughts. I’d only check that they don’t reveal location / schedule & other identifying info. They’re using My Space & Facebook and are gradually learning how much to reveal about themsleves, and to whom (with me looking over their shoulder).

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