Monday, 3 October 2016

Raising A Blog-Kid

When I first started this blog, back when I was 7 months pregnant with my first child, I really had no idea what blogging was all about.

I didn't read any other blogs, I knew very little about blogging - I just knew that I wanted somewhere that I could write freely about my pregnancy and impending motherhood.

I regularly wrote bump updates and it seemed natural to me to share photographs of my growing bump with those out there who were reading and following my journey.

I liked seeing other bloggers bump snaps every few weeks, so I didn't think twice of sharing mine too.

And then, when my baby boy was born, like any proud mother...I wanted to show him off.

If I'm completely honest, the thought of NOT sharing his image here on my blog never even entered my head.

After all, I'd written about this little guy before he had even come into being, I had connected with people through my blog who I felt were friends and who were excited for me to give birth and to share in my journey - those people wanted to see a photo of my baby and I wanted to show him to them - that's all there was to it.

I didn't ever even think of anybody else out there in the deep dark internet who might be lurking and looking - anybody that I may not be so happy to share his image with.

Incredibly naive, I know...but true.

As time went on, I continued sharing photos of him proudly - my beautiful little boy, the apple of my eye - everything about him made me proud and I had every desire to show him off here on my blog, on my social media accounts, and so on.

And when my second son came along, once again - I wrote about the pregnancy, about the birth, about my anxieties and the struggle I had with depression - I shared everything. Because that's what I do...I've always been that kind of person - I'm an open book, and when it comes to blogging I take a pretty no holds barred approach.

It was around this time that I first started to notice that some bloggers had actually chosen not to share images of their children online, and that some chose not to even share their children's first names.

For the first time, I was hearing about how some people considered it to be dangerous to the children or even an invasion of their privacy to have details of their childhoods shared online, to put them on the internet for the world to see.

And I can honestly say, that until that moment - I had really never given that any consideration.

Call me naive, but it never dawned on me that there may be other people reading this blog with not-so-good intentions - and I never considered the fact that my children may grow up to be embarrassed by their childhoods being online.

I guess I just assumed that I'd be finished with blogging by the time they were old enough to understand, and that nothing would resurface...I mean, why would it? This being just one of a million similar blogs out there, nothing particularly embarrassing or harrowing being shared on here that will come back to haunt them - like I say, I was pretty naive about the whole thing.

When Noah was born, I shared an image of him on my Instagram and Facebook accounts to announce his arrival - and I used his name as a hashtag to accompany it.

I had always done this with my kids names as I liked being able to search for the hashtag and see all of the photos of them together on Instagram, and to also see if any other children shared their name - but that day somebody, not a friend...more an acquaintance, commented on the photo and said this:

"Children these days are known before they even know themselves".

Now I don't know exactly what she meant by that - perhaps she was referring to the use of his name, perhaps she didn't agree with me sharing a photo of him online so soon after he was born.

But whatever she meant, that comment stuck with me.

And it's troubled me since - it's made me wonder - am I being completely irresponsible and selfish by sharing my boys childhoods online?

Members of my family certainly think so and have made their (uninvited) opinions on the matter known, but until such a time as the boys can make those decisions for themselves...the decision ultimately comes down to how comfortable Jon & I feel with it as their parents.

I've been fortunate so far not to have had any terribly negative experiences from blogging - although there was an occasion when someone used photos of Tyne on a fake Instagram account, but I didn't allow myself to get too rattled by it - I assumed this was just a teenager roleplaying and that use of a simple photo wasn't doing any harm.

But there was also a YouTube video I once made to promote a nappy brand - it featured footage of Noah crawling about in his nappy - perfectly innocent footage, or so I thought.

But it received a lot more hits than my videos usually do ...and the analytics showed me that 90% of the viewers were male (as opposed to the usual 85% female audience my videos have) and that it had even been embedded in some very dodgy looking websites.

I have to admit, that left me feeling very uncomfortable and I will never again use footage or images of the children in nappies, in states of undress or playing in the bath.

 I was always careful not to show anything other than  their chests, but I've realised that images which seem perfectly innocent to me can be seen as something else entirely by some dark corners of society - and I don't want to do anything to encourage that.

The vast majority of my readers are lovely people, mums themselves or just women who hope to become mums one day who enjoy reading about family life, and I've been so fortunate to have made some great connections with people as a result of this blog.

It's also given me the opportunity to be a stay at home Mum to my children which is something I will always be so grateful for, and I hope that when they're older they'll appreciate that and understand that it wouldn't have been possible without this blog.

I hope they'll understand that they were only ever written about on this blog because of how proud they make me, how much I love being their mummy and how inspired they make me feel.

I hope they'll realise that they have been the making of me in so many ways - from making me into a mother, the job that I love the most, and making me into a mummy blogger, the job I love second most!

I hope they'll understand that I only ever had good intentions when sharing our lives on this blog - that they benefited from so many experiences as a result of it, that we have so many beautiful images and videos of their childhoods and our lives together because of it (Because I have no doubt that I wouldn't be such a keen photographer and so keen to always video our days out if it weren't for feels like a lot of work sometimes and I'd probably give up sooner!)

But still - despite the good that's come from it -  the worry I doing the right thing by allowing their images and names to be out there?

Are they going to resent me for it when they're older?

Who knows.

I can only hope that they understand, and that I made the right choices. I hope that I have never crossed the line.

But only time will tell.

Do you blog about your children? Do you ever worry about this? What boundaries do you have on it and how did you decide what was right for your family? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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  1. It's a constant worry but as long as their locations arnt known they are pretty safe, the babies they are never left alone for anything to happen. Just remember, when they start school or nursery always blur out the badge on their uniform and don't use the whole "check in" thing on Facebook. Some things need to be kept private and where ur all hanging out each day is one of them :-) you have gorgeous children it's only normal to want to show them off :-)

  2. Such an unknown isn't it? My view is, we watch tv ads and you'll see a baby on a Pampers advert and nobody will bat an eyelid. People know the names of celebrity kids and nobody really cares. So why is our life any different? I think as long as people can't find out where you live then what harm is seeing a picture of them if their modesty is upheld? I hope my children will understand and appreciate that I did everything for the good of the family. And if they really hate it then blogs can be taken down. Accounts deactivated and you can ask google to have things removed so no trace would be left behind. x

  3. It's a really hard one isn't it? Mostly because we are the first generation to put our children on the Internet. It's unknown how they'll react to it when they're older. But we do what we do because we're proud and happy and want to share it and connect with others, the work side of it we do for the benefit of our families. x

  4. I blog about generic parenting/baby/toddler stuff ("so little sleep", "weaning's so messy" etc) but nothing specific to my daughter that she might not have wanted shared (imagine your mum blogging that you got your first period, for example, and all the boys at school reading it - urgh!).

    When it comes to images, I don't show clear views of her face. It's frighteningly easy to figure out where someone lives - I recognise enough parks in photos on supposedly careful blogs to make a good guess about which school a kid goes/will go to; a lot of bloggers also have their addresses publicly available in the registry of URL owners, too - and I don't want anyone being able to recognise and approach my daughter, calling her by name and pretending to know her; I remember T-shirts with names on being withdrawn when I was a kid because this was happening. I like to think I'm being over-cautious but I get enough people recognising and approaching ME (and my blog's tiny) to know that there are people paying attention; I can't guarantee they're all good people so I'm doing what I can to protect her just in case...

  5. I didn't have boundaries when I started, or I don't think I did. But now as the children get older I do worry. For example my older kids don't like having their photos taken and I respect that...which has sort of turned my blog into the Annabelle show almost, lol. But I get it and I have to respect their wishes. I am so conscious now about covering school badges, not showing school names etc and trying not to mention their names fully either. I do hope my kids will enjoy my blog, if they ever read it when they're older though. It's a nice online diary in a way x

  6. Thank you for sharing your experience. Even the not so good stuff. I'm struggling with this too and have recently posted about it as well. It's a tough one, although I have to say your two examples have reiterated my thoughts. Very few people are reading my posts (I'm new to this) but if I put pictures up there're still out there for the world to see. It's tough.
    Don't be hard on yourself for not thinking about it sooner. It only came to my mind when I saw something I. The news recently that got me thinking


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