What Blogging Moms Are Saying About Privacy
Earlier today, I participated in a panel discussion at BlogHer on Mommyblogging: Public Parenting and Privacy. The other panelists were Chris Jordan, of Notes From the Trenches; Crystal, of Boobs, Injuries and Dr. Pepper; Shina Tanaka, of Maya's Mom. Our moderator was Shireen Mitchell.
I won't try to summarize the entire panel discussion; as with all the BlogHer conference sessions, it's being live-blogged in great detail here.
But because it's a topic that is of profound and personal interest to mombloggers, I thought I'd share a few of the interesting conversation points generated, and invite your response. It's a topic I've spent much time deliberating carefully myself, and in any gathering of mombloggers, it seems to be a sure-fire conversation starter.
Our panel aimed the discussion at two distinct elements in the privacy discussion: the critical issue of keeping your child safe, and the much broader issue of respecting your child's story and privacy.
As much concern as there may be on this topic, our session indicated an awareness among moms that the Internet is, of course, wide open. Although common-sense precautions are wise, part of blogging includes bringing readers into your world. It's difficult--if not impossible--to remain completely anonymous.
Which brings me to a few of the excellent issues raised:
- For all the negative stories you hear about privacy invasion in blogging, there are an equal number of stories in which community bands together and encourages one another.
- Since the internet isn't fully anonymous, it is never wise to blog something you don't want another person to read.
- We all remember life before the internet; our kids will not. Is it possible that parents of today are more concerned about this issues than our children will be someday, since the openness of the internet isn't something we've lived with our whole lives?
- Being a momblogger offers excellent opportunities for engaging with your children about Internet safety. As you share with them some of your stories of interactive community, you can model safe behavior for them.
- Remember that what you choose to share about your children is ultimately a very personal decision, based on your own good common sense as a parent. There are good reasons behind every point along the privacy "spectrum".
Several mombloggers are blogging this issue at their own blogs. Switched-On Mom of The "More" Child writes:
So why the queasy feeling? I’m not necessarily worried about pervy men in raincoats. It’s more the potential social or educational repercussions for my kids. It would be rather creepy for a kid or teacher to go up to one of them kids and say “I know all about you from your mom’s blog.” I would hate for my actions to impact them negatively, for them to feel used or betrayed by me, to have people be judgmental and whisper behind their backs…or worse confront them in an ugly way.
Cybele Weisser of The Wall Street Journal shares:
Why should we, in particular, need to hide? The offline world presents dangers, too — there are no doubt plenty of creeps walking around my Manhattan neighborhood — but my family certainly doesn’t cower inside our apartment every day, and neither do any other parents I know.
Rita of Surrender, Dorothy shares her own experience on a panel regarding parenting and privacy:
I definitely have more boundaries than people probably realize -- there are some subjects that are completely off-limits, and things happen all the time that I wish I could write out to figure out my feelings about them, but to do so here would be so totally inappropriate I can't fathom doing it.
What about you? If you blog about your children how have you made your own choices regarding their privacy? What are your biggest concerns?
Shannon Lowe is a BlogHer contributing editor (Mommy/Family), and she also writes at Rocks In My Dryer.