Content and your child's right to privacy--Part V in the mom blog series
By Jennifer Satterwhite on July 17, 2007
Your blog is ready to go. You have your platform. You've named it. You have decided how much personal information to include and what you want to do about pictures. Good job. The basics are done. Now, the hard part starts. Your blog--ANY blog-- is nothing without good content. You knew I was going to get to it eventually. We have to talk about content. Political blogs will mention politics. Food bloggers will talk about food. Mom bloggers will inevitably talk about their children. Let's face it: they are a never-ending source of entertainment. However, before you type one word about them, you should decide what is yours to share and what is theirs to keep private.
This to me if the most essential decision you can make as a blogger. Once your words are out, they are out. A few years back a journalist made a snide comment about how your children's future prom dates will Google them and read every embarrassing story ever written about them.
My dates didn't have Google. They had my Mom. She had enough stories and pictures to keep me humiliated for life. (The only way to hold her off was to marry my high school sweetheart and never have to worry about it again.) My point is that, yes, your words are out there. And, yes, you have a great potential of embarrassing your children. But it is not just about the things that may make them blush. It is about things that they want to remain private--just between them and their mom. It is about respect. Only you and your children can decide where this line is drawn.
A great example of a mom blogger being called out by her teen is Grace Davis. One day while discussing what her daughter could expect in terms of going to BlogHer last year, her daughter said something that halted Grace and completely altered her way of thinking when it came to blogging about her daughter. (Read the whole entry. It is a great lesson in mom blogging and communication.)
Your blog is really funny, Mom. But, you make me and my friends look stupid."
Stupid. I was devastated. I hastily run through blog entries in my mind. Did this make Moll and her friends appear stupid? Or was it this, or this ? Did this offend her?
What do you do once your child is old enough to read what you are writing about them and their lives? They will have an opinion and it won't always be that they adore your every word. You have now jumped into a new world. The world where your children want to have a say in their own privacy.
Grace handled it with the class she handles everything. She gave her daughter the ultimate position for a child of a mom blogger.
I won't take down the posts, but I will take on Molly as the Official State of Grace Editor for Adolescent Affairs. I'll be showing her any blog entries related to her prior to publishing.
But that is not the only way to go when it comes to mom blogging. It is your space to talk about what you feel impacts you and your life. Being a mom, that will include discussing your children. And our children are not always the brightest ray of light in our lives at all times. Sometimes they are difficult and frustrating and downright crazy-making. Bloggers are writers. Writers write. Mothers vent. It is only natural that you will have a tendency to want to vent about those little people that effect so many (if not all) aspects of your life.
Then he came at me about my blog. He felt it was against his rights that I blog about him because he had a right to privacy.
This is what I said, â€œPfffffffttttt.â€ Like, you have got to be kidding me. Right to privacy? That totally went out the door when I had my legs in stirrups, showing my vagina to at least 8 people, farting during all four pushes, and your big ass shoulders tearing my vagina a whole inch.
So there. Neener. Neener. Your wrong, Iâ€™m right and f*ck your right to privacy point.
From one end of spectrum to the other. Both doing what is right for themselves and their blogs. Let's face facts, people. There is no set rule for what you can and cannot say about your children on your blog. (We are not getting into libel and such. We are talking about whether or not you can mention a date, a kiss, a party etc. Unless you have small children and then we are talking about writing about issues such as streaking, pooping, potty training and swear words.) When your children are young, it is more an issue of looking forward and trying to predict what could or would hurt or embarrass them down the line. When you children are older, their response can (and usually will be) immediate. (Assuming they know about your blog.)
Of far greater importance to me is what I write about them. For me it is very important that I don't trespass on my children's right to privacy. Since they are not old enough advocate for themselves in that regard, it is up to me to respect their boundaries. While their stories flow into and become part of mine, there is a line I will not cross. It's not an arbitrary, concrete one, but I know it whenever I come to it. And I know it when I see other mom bloggers cross it.
I realize that some of the best entries are ones that will probably embarrass your children. But they don't have to be. Or at least not to the point of causing bad vibes and bigger issues between you and your children. I have written posts that embarrass my children but more because it proves their mom is a dork and not because I am outing them for something they did.
The only set advice that I can give and stand behind regardless of your choice is to remember that your children are yours for life. Blogs will come and go. Just do not do something that will hurt your relationship with your children in the long run. Make sure you can all live with your decision. It is just not worth it for a story. Even a really great, really funny and often linked to story.
Speaking of links, next up in the series deals with: Finding your voice, gaining an audience and getting your name out there. And, yes, they do in fact all tie in together.
~Jenn is off to embarrass her children without the use of her blog.~
image found here
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