Friday, July 13, 2012

I Want To Share But I Don’t Want To Overshare: Respecting Children's Privacy in the Age of Social Media

This blog post was inspired by an online article titled Perils of Facebook Parenting: Exploring Danger of Oversharing Children Online. Please read it if you blog or are sharing about your children online.

I saw a little girl in a preschool I had visited one time. I have never met her but I knew who she was. I have never met her but I knew when her birthday was. I have never met her but I knew where she went on her last vacation. I have never met her but I have seen her with just her swimsuit on.

I knew her from Facebook, only in Facebook, and it freaked me out. She was the daughter of an old schoolmate I have not seen nor talked to in over a decade. It freaked me out so much that I no longer post pictures of my children on my personal account and made my old albums available to just a handful of people. 

It also shaped how I blog and share about my children.

Respecting My Children

I created this blog as a creative outlet and as a way to journal our homeschooling adventure. I thought it would be nice too if some parents would be inspired by what I have to share.  I agonized though about how I would write about my children without making it all about them. I wanted this blog to be about us but not really about us.

Creating my personal blogging rules helped me get over my indecision. I based it all on one word: respect. I respect my children and would never want to compromise their privacy, especially when they don’t know yet what the word means.

My rules are simple, and I try to stick to each one every time I compose a blog post.

Never show their faces completely or clearly

My photos of my children may seem strange sometimes – weird angles, blurry faces, faces with eyes missing, heads cut off – but I won’t have it any other way. I am tempted once in a while to share more anecdotes and to show their dear, beautiful faces, but I always remember that little girl and I stop myself.

Never reveal their names

I admit that the noms de guerre I chose a year ago are not creative at all. I never thought I would last more than a year blogging! But here I still am, and quite attached to the silly names I picked. Bear with me.

Never write about their personalities

I avoid writing too much, if at all, about my children’s habits, what they like, their accomplishments, or latest fascinations. Perhaps when I was just starting, I indulged a bit in motherly pride. But as I grew more comfortable in my writing and our homeschooling, I found a “blogging formula” that I like: talk about books, ideas, and activities, don’t focus on the children, BUT still somehow create a blog post that will serve to keep our memories. 

I realize that these rules may sometimes make my blog very impersonal and vague.  But I would rather be impersonal and vague, as long as I am being respectful of my children while keeping myself happy with my writing and preserving our family memories.

I want to share but I don’t want to “overshare.”

How do you feel about sharing in Facebook, and your blog if you have one? 

Make magic!

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Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Thanks Tina Haha I think it's really also about what we are comfortable with as parents, but we do need to think about what we're putting out there :)

TrulyRichMom/TeacherMamaTina said...

OK, reading this just made me feel so like I am such a bad mother! :P Hehe! For being too open about so many things in my blogs and on Facebook and Twitter. Hahahaha! Thanks for the reminders, though, about RESPECTING our kids. When I am not overloaded anymore, I think I'll sift through all my social media stuff (blogs, FB, etc.) and "correct" what needs to be "corrected." :D Welcome back!

Robin said...

I think you have made a very wise choice! Love your blog! Thanks for keeping it simple!

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Thank you for your kind words Robin! Glad to have you here :)