I Have A Wee Small Favor To Ask

Hey y’all –

I’m about to start working on an article for HomeLife magazine about setting online boundaries, especially when it comes to sharing information about kids. I know that some of you blog, some of you don’t – but I’m guessing that almost everybody uses social media (like Facebook) in some form or fashion.

So. Here’s what I’d like to know. If you’re willing to answer, of course. And you don’t have to answer all the questions, so feel free to pick and choose. This is super informal.

1. If you’re a blogger, do you ever post pictures of your kids on Facebook that you would never post on your blog? Why or why not?

2. Do you ever think about how your child(ren) might feel before you share an anecdote about them or a picture of them? Do you think about how they might feel when they’re older?

3. Is there an age at which you feel like your kids’ stories aren’t yours to share anymore? At least not without their permission?

4. Have you ever had an experience that made you reconsider whether or not it’s safe to share information about your kids or pictures of your kids online?

5. Do you have any general guidelines that you adhere to in terms of sharing information about your kids or pictures of your kids online? Or are you totally laid-back about it? What works for you?

I may end up using some of your comments in the article (I’ll only use your first name), so if you’re not okay with that, you might not want to comment on this post. Just FYI. Also, it would be great if you’d just talk about your personal experience with your family (as opposed to stuff you’ve seen other people share on Facebook or blogs).

Thanks in advance, y’all – and thanks, also, for your great Father’s Day suggestions. The boy and I went shopping a little while ago, and we actually bought two of the things that y’all suggested.

THE INTERNET IS A WONDER.

Love,
Me

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Comments

  1. I have a blog (that is not updated) and on it I do not list my children’s names. Our last name is in the title but I only use the first initial when mentioning anyone’s names (expect for grandparents and I call them by their family name i.e. grammy). I am wanting to start a new blog and one of the main reasons is so that my last name will not be on it. I am a big fan of the show Criminal Minds and there have been too many shows, real or not, that freak me out about sharing too many personal details online. Also, I do not mention where we live. Some of my friends do and I decided to take their links off mine so that it could not be figured out so easily.
    As you might guess, my personal rule is to not list any names, places or specifics where my girls are concerned. On my FB page, I only show pics with initials. It is set to private and only my friends can see them. I am also thinking of making it a custom private for instances where I haven’t spoken to a ‘friend’ in many years won’t have access. It seems that it is way too easy for the wrong people to get my sweet girls information. I will do all I can to keep it away from them. Evil will always be out there but I will do my part in keeping it as far from my girls as I can.

  2. I share pictures of my baby on my blog and facebook. I think that you have to be ok with having your pictures “out there” if you post them to facebook. You shouldn’t put pictures on facebook that you wouldn’t want to have on your blog for the world to see. If there is something that is personal, it probably shouldn’t go anywhere in the internet. You never really know who has access to those pictures and comments.

  3. I am very careful not to post names on pictures on Facebook. If someone knows me well enough, they know the names of children in my pictures. I will link to the parent if a child in my Facebook pictures, but never reveal the child’s name. It’s to easy for a child to believe an adult if the adult knows their name.

  4. Melissa says:

    We have a very unusual last name, so it’s not on either of my blogs. One is set to private and is all about my daughters…only 10 or so people have login information. The other is a photoblog (I’m eventually hoping to have my own photography business) and I try very carefully to use only a few pictures of my oldest daughter, only if they really showcase something specific about my photography. I don’t include any information about where we live or where she goes to school or church, etc.

    I also have very strict privacy policies on Facebook–I’m only friends with people I know in real life–though my parents often “share” pictures of our girls to their wall. Nothing bad has happened yet, so I let it slide.

  5. Kimberly says:

    I am not on facebook, but my girlfriend (Amber) used to be on it and would post all kinds of pics of her kids, then one day, not sure how, but she found someone also on facebook that she didn’t even know (poser) who had all her (amber’s) kids pictures and was pretending those pics were HER (poser’s) kids! So Amber took all her pics off and cancelled facebook.

  6. I do not use first names on our blog – although, I am sure if some one really wanted to find us , they could. I do use first names on facebook, and I would like to think that with all my stuff set to friends only that no-one who did not need to know anything would be able to find out anything.
    I ask my students every now and then how to access information – because if any one would know , it would be my students. [ they are still setting my phone for me, since I just cannot do it]

  7. I used to be super open on my blog, but I am a public school teacher. Once I found parents were able to easily Google me, I was a bit freaked out. After that, I started a new blog where I write using the name “Mrs. Confident” (based on a Bible verse in Philippians). I call my husband “Mr. Confident”, andI do use my child’s name on the blog. Only his first name. I’ve never said his middle name, and I’ve never used our last name.

    I think my line is not to tell anything too embarrassing (if it has to do with his boy bits, breastfeeding, potty/diaper stories, or anything else related to the potty) on the blog. I try to keep it to milestones and fun stories. I think in the end he will appreciate a record of his childhood via the blog books I plan to publish. However, as he gets older, I will probably bring him into the decision making. If he asks me not to post something, I will probably respect his privacy.

  8. I don’t Facebook or Twitter, so I’m not up on all the social media. I do have a blog and share my children’s names and pictures. (Not last names.) I do that mainly because I use my blog as a journal and want to save the memories. Now my youngest is 9 and he has gotten to the point where he’ll say, “Don’t put that on your blog!” when he says something we think is funny. I don’t think he’ll mind reading it when he gets older.

    I always ask my older two if they mind if I share something before I do it. My 19-year-old has been through a tough time lately, but he let me share some of his thoughts after we talked one day. I always ask. Always.

    As far as pictures go, I recently began making them smaller and fixing them so you can’t copy them by right clicking and it doesn’t take you to an outside link when you click. I don’t watermark my pictures, but it’s probably a good idea.

  9. 1. If you’re a blogger, do you ever post pictures of your kids on Facebook that you would never post on your blog? Why or why not?
    I would post the same pics on my blog as on FB unless it contained pics of someone else’s children – then no blogging and only on FB if the parent is a FB friend who I can tag so they know the pic has been posted (I only have a few very close friends whose children I have in pics with my own). I have my FB privacy set to the highest so no one but close friends can see my pics.

    2. Do you ever think about how your child(ren) might feel before you share an anecdote about them or a picture of them? Do you think about how they might feel when they’re older?
    Yes – and I don’t share things that would potentially embarass them now or ever. Even if it’s “cute when you’re six,” it might be really embarassing later on or embarassing if someone mentioned it even now.

    3. Is there an age at which you feel like your kids’ stories aren’t yours to share anymore? At least not without their permission?
    Yes – I have preteen/teen stepchildren who I have raised since they were tiny and their stories of now from these preteen/teen years are not mine to share – the stories are theirs! :)

    4. Have you ever had an experience that made you reconsider whether or not it’s safe to share information about your kids or pictures of your kids online?
    Not personally – but when I read on Kelly’s Korner that people were copying/stealing pics of her children and using them as avatars or whatever for their personal use, I got reallllly creeped out and haven’t blogged much since. :(

    5. Do you have any general guidelines that you adhere to in terms of sharing information about your kids or pictures of your kids online? Or are you totally laid-back about it? What works for you?
    I don’t share first/last names on my blog. Mostly because my stepchildren’s mother is a bit off and I don’t necessarily want her to be able to Google us. :( I am okay with FB pic sharing because it’s a good way for my family (I live away from them) to see the kids a lot. Plus I *believe* I have my privacy settings set to the max security.

    ***Will you let us know when your article comes out? I’d really like to read it and hear what other moms are thinking and what limits they set. I am often worried I don’t set my limits securely enough. :(

  10. 1. If you’re a blogger, do you ever post pictures of your kids on Facebook that you would never post on your blog? Why or why not?

    Yes, because I only friend people I personally know, and not even all of them have access to my photos.

    2. Do you ever think about how your child(ren) might feel before you share an anecdote about them or a picture of them? Do you think about how they might feel when they’re older?

    Yes, so I never refer to them by name. Anyone on my blog who already knows them will (I hope) think the stories are as cute as I do, and I don’t talk about anything that might horrify them later–no bodily functions, school/social struggles, etc.

    4. Have you ever had an experience that made you reconsider whether or not it’s safe to share information about your kids or pictures of your kids online?

    No but friends have. Email me if you want to try to connect with them.

  11. hmm, this is such a great discussion. My girls were older when I started blogging — 13 & 20 and I was super cautious about sharing anything sensitive about them. As for pics on FB, etc. Now that they are even older, I put up what I want and they untag what they don’t like.
    But I’m soon to be a grandmom and I’ve thought about his pics being on FB — I’m a wee concerned, but I trust my daughter and s-i-l’s judgement.

    Let me add something about blogging/ FBing/ tweeting about our kids — certainly they are precious and funny and adorable, but I wonder if so much exposure is good? It just makes my nervous (and yes, I love Criminal Minds and NCIS) from a safety aspect, but also from a parenting place. Are we asking our kids to become performers in our own stories? And if so, what kind of pressure does that create. Just a question.

  12. I have a blog and I don’t share my kids real/full names, mine is just my initials. I don’t share any information on where we live (except the state). I’m a little paranoid about creeps finding my blog and seeing my kids pictures so I censor which pictures I share. I haven’t had any bad experiences so far. I actually really don’t like pics of my kids on FB. I only have a few and they are set so only friends can see them. That doesn’t prevent other people posting pictures of us and putting our names on it. When my kids get in school I probably will limit what I write about them. I’ll ask them how they feel about me blogging their stories and will respect their decisions.I hope they will just see it as a scrapbook/journal about our life. I’m still new to blogging and my readers are mainly friends and family. I don’t share anything too embarrassing and I don’t share much about people not in my own household. I try to keep things as anonymous or private as I can but it’s on the Internet and that’s always a risk. I never post pictures of anyone without their permission… I just don’t feel it’s my place. It seems like most of the blogs I read keep their names private and don’t share too much personal info. I think sometimes it’s like walking on a tightrope.

  13. I have a novel of thoughts. Will email you later.

  14. 1. No. I’m pretty picky about what I post both places.

    2. My son is only a toddler, but I do think about how he will feel looking back and reading the blog (since one of my main reasons for having it at all is to have a record of our life for me, the hubs, and him).

    3. I’m obviously not there yet, but in my mind, when he and his peers are old enough to read the blog, I don’t think it will be fair to post stories without his permission.

    4. Thankfully no.

    5. I only share first names, but it’s not hard to figure out our last name. While I don’t post my address or town, you can pretty much tell where I live from the places I visit/links I post about what we do on a daily basis. I only post about a trip when I have returned. As for pictures, I am cautious about posting pictures that include people other than my little family of 3 (unless I ask their permission first) and definitely don’t tell stories (or name names) about others than our family of 3.

  15. 1. I don’t post pictures on FB that I wouldn’t post on my blog, but I’m trying to think of a reason why. I guess I don’t TAKE pictures that I wouldn’t want anyone to see, whether those people know me or not.

    2. I do think about what my kids will say when they get older (they are currently 8, 6 and 3, with one on the way). I have never said anything untrue about them, or anything that I feel is really negative. Not that everything is all sunshine and roses around here, but I keep some things (like the fact that one of my kids has been in counseling for a while) private. That includes FB and my blog. I just think HE should be the one to tell people if he wants to. My hope is that one day, the kids will see my blog as a really valuable scrapbook of their lives, as well as a window into my heart and mind … I would never intentionally write anything that would hurt their feelings or embarrass them.

    3. I imagine that there will come an age when each of my kids will tell me they don’t want me writing about them anymore. I hope that I have been respectful enough of them that it won’t be because I have hurt them somehow, but simply because they want to share their own stories, not have other people read about them through my filter. I also hope I’ll be able to come up with some entertaining content to replace stories about them!

    4. Not yet. I do not publish our last name on my blog, and I occasionally Google my own name in conjunction with my husband’s and children’s names, and then I do it again adding on the name of my blog. So far, we are still “unfindable,” and I hope to keep it that way.

    5. I’m very laid-back about it, but I do try to keep away from excessive negativity and definitely don’t post pictures of my kids wearing anything less than a swimsuit.

  16. Good questions! I guess I have to answer from different angles.

    I’ve had a LiveJournal for 11 years now, and it’s “friends-locked” so that only people I allow on my friends list can see my posts. Online, that’s where all my truth goes. There are about 25 people who can read my posts, including my husband, and I’m free and clear with information. I’ve known those folks for years, most of them, and I’ve met most of them in person by now. So they all know my address, all my dirty little secrets, and stuff about my son. I post lots of pictures of him there (linked from Flickr, which is set so that only a few people have access). It’s my safe place, and I don’t treat it as a blog.

    On Facebook, I have my security settings arranged so that only the people have friended can see my photos. I don’t like the friends-of-friends option, because sometimes those friends-of-friends are people I actively avoid! I do put photos there, but not a lot. If I didn’t trust the people I have as Facebook friends, I wouldn’t put any photos.

    On my public blog and Twitter, I use my first name and my husband’s first name, but never our son’s name. He’s only 3.5 and my mama protectiveness kicked in at birth. I’ve never shown his face on my blog or Twitter, either, and I won’t start. I do tell funny stories about him, and I love quoting the wacky things he says, but some things are off-limits. Potty training, for example. We’ve been working on that for a while, but my 800-something Twitter followers don’t need to know about that at all. So it’s off the table.

    Who knows what my online activity will be as he gets older, but I see myself talking about him less and only sharing things he gives me permission to share.

    And don’t even get me started on how Fort Knox we’re going to be about HIS online activity!

  17. The internet IS a wonder! (There’s a girl in my Sunday School class who says it’s gonna change the world! Hahahaha… She’s a funny, funny girl!)

    I’ll be so glad to hear what you have to say on this topic. I have a blog because we live far away from all of our family and lots of our friends, but I never update it because I’m so afraid I’ll end up posting something I’ll somehow later regret. I took our last name and location off of it, but the worrier inside me still has concerns about safety.

  18. My sons, at age 9 and 10, have opinions about what I share about them on our blog; my 4 year old is barely aware of the blog at all. Our audience is mostly other adoptive families, so we aren’t a very “public” blog . . . I started it for to chronicle our journey to parenthood, and stay connected with other families using the same adoption agency.

    I will share general information about my kids — about them playing baseball or starting school, or post a photo of them with their birthday cake. But I do not share what city we live in, our school name, baseball organization, etc. for safety’s sake. I’m careful not to show the school sign/name in our back-to-school pictures, or our house number in photos taken outside our home, etc. I also ask permission to share a funny story about them — and now I ask permission even about things from when they were younger, after one son was mortified about something I wrote about from when he was 2! (Apparently 10 is the new 14 for parents being embarassing.) :o)

    Right now, we’re adopting again so our blog is mostly family news and adoption progress (or lack thereof). I’ve not been a blogger who shares deeply about our marriage or families of origin and their issues, and I plan to keep it that way.

    I think it’s important to know the purpose and audience for your blog, and then boundaries fall into place a little more easily.

  19. 1. I have a blog and actually post more on my blog than I do facebook. I try to update it as much as possible, because at the end of the year, I upload it to a website and turn it into a book…kind of like my scrapbook. I didn’t have many pictures from when I was growing up, and really wish my mom had taken more, so I want my kids to see all that happened during their childhood. It’s also fun to look back and see how much they have changed, remember the funny little things they said 2 years ago, etc.

    2. At this point, they are little. I share most of the funny little things they say, mispronunciations, etc. Mostly b/c only family and close friends read my blog and they would probably hear the story or see the pics anyways. I am careful of pictures that I post b/c again, those will be in a book for them to see one day.

    3. I am sure when they get a little older, there are things that I won’t share. Or, I may just make my blog private since it is like my “memory keeper.”

    4/5. I make sure to not share my city, our last name, our friends’ last names, or anything about friends that they ask me not to. I know that people can access that if they really want to but I have a sitemeter that I can see who views and if there is something “fishy” I research it. I haven’t had anything that I have had to worry about. If I did, I would probably make the blog private. And of course, my husband is the final “editor” and I always remove things he might worry about being put out there for everyone to see or read.

    Overall.. my life is pretty much an open book to anyone who knows me. I feel that sometimes, the Lord reveals something to me that I feel I need to share in order to encourage someone who might be reading that day. God has blessed me with a beautiful family and friends and I want to remember these days when I am old and gray :)

    Love your blog!! You make me laugh often :)
    jessica

  20. I use pictures of my kids, and first names only of my kids on our blog. I am very careful to not use our last name, school names, the name of our hometown, or other info (like sports team names, etc.) in my blog. I do link to my home church on occasion. I don’t name other kids in my blog, unless I have specific permission to use their first names.

    My oldest children are 5 and 7, and they know I blog stories about them all the time. They like reading about themselves, and I hope that they will enjoy the memories when they are older. As the kids get older, I am trying to not blog anything too horrifying about them. My blog is my scrapbook, intended to help my tired “mommy-of-4-small-children” brain recall happy memories from this season of my life.

  21. 1. If you’re a blogger, do you ever post pictures of your kids on Facebook that you would never post on your blog? Why or why not?

    No, I am much more pickier in choosing pictures for Facebook than my blog simply because I think more people have access to FB than my blog.

    2. Do you ever think about how your child(ren) might feel before you share an anecdote about them or a picture of them? Do you think about how they might feel when they’re older?

    Yes, so I ask before I share it on my blog. My 11-year-old daughter has even requeste that I not putsome things out there for the world to read.

    3. Is there an age at which you feel like your kids’ stories aren’t yours to share anymore? At least not without their permission?

    Yes, that has already happened to me!

    4. Have you ever had an experience that made you reconsider whether or not it’s safe to share information about your kids or pictures of your kids online?
    I haven’t but I’ve heard stories.

    5. Do you have any general guidelines that you adhere to in terms of sharing information about your kids or pictures of your kids online? Or are you totally laid-back about it? What works for you?
    I am a schoolteacher, so I don’t share pics of any of us in swimsuits or any other pics that might get me in trouble!

  22. For Facebook, I utilize my privacy settings to control (as much as I can) who has access to pictures of my children and my status updates. The only people who have access to that information are people I interact with and trust. The funny status updates and mobile uploads about the kids are always stories I tell verbally, too. And, they’re young (1 and 4), so I work at being sensitive to their needs and respecting the boundaries I want them to establish for themselves.

    As for my blog, I use the kids’ first names from time to time, but I write with a pseudonym that I have used since high school when my mom insisted on it. I don’t specify where we live beyond North Texas, and I never post pictures of people because it’s a public blog. I try to be mindful about what I write about them, because I don’t want to overshare. The purpose of my blog isn’t parental in nature, though, so that helps.

    When I was my daughter’s age, I specifically ordered my mom to stop telling stories about me, because I was embarrassed that she talked about me even though she wasn’t the kind of mom who told embarrassing stories. She respected my wishes, and there were people who actually thought she only had one kid – my brother. I eventually grew out of my bashfulness, and she was very glad to be able to talk about me again! That said, I try to remember what it was like to be so bashful and to respect my kids’ boundaries before they can even establish them for themselves. It’s kind of like modesty: they’re too little to understand for themselves why they need to dress modestly, so I have to teach them those standards. They’re too young to assert boundaries on their privacy, so I have to teach them how to do it.

  23. I used to have our last name in the title and URL of my blog. I have changed that, so I feel much more anonymous. I feel like I can tell stories about my son the same as I would about my husband, sister, or mother. I always try to treat children with the same respect as I would treat a grown up person. I am very liberal with the pictures that I post on facebook and my blog. I LOVE PICTURES! I think about what I say before I say it. About my family in general INCLUDING my son. I started blogging as on online “baby book”, a way to remember the little details, so yes…I speak freely about my baby. He is not quite 3 yet. When he gets a little older, I might feel differently, but I will know when or if it is ever time to let him tell his own stories. Until then, let the transparency continue!

  24. I stopped blogging about my every day when my daughter was born, and I ended up starting a new blog where I don’t use her name (or my husband’s name). I started thinking about it, and I don’t really know what the cut off age would be for me on telling stories about her, so I just decided to not bother with it, and just don’t. I also no longer post pictures to Facebook, because of a situation with other family members (who mean well, I know they do) using our pictures of our daughter as their profile pictures. It just made me feel weird that now I have no idea who their “friends” are that can now see that. Eek. So I no longer post pictures and just print photos out the old fashioned way and send them to relatives. I guess they can still show people, but that way its not (hopefully) with strangers. And if it is I guess I just don’t know about it and somehow that makes me feel better?

  25. I have a blog but I do not have a facebook page. I do put pictures of my family, pets and other stuff on there pretty frequently. I would not put anything on my blog that would hurt or embarrass (too much) my children. I do tell funny incidents and life lessons often. I have never really thought one way or the other about someone taking information/photos and using it for their own. Good grief, sometimes I would trade days of my life for someone elses!!

  26. Whitney says:

    1. If you’re a blogger, do you ever post pictures of your kids on Facebook that you would never post on your blog? Why or why not?

    My Facebook profile is made completely private, and my blog is open to the public. I definitely post more photos of my daughter on Facebook than I do on my blog, but I would never post anything on Facebook that I wouldn’t consider putting on the blog for the public – does that make sense? I wouldn’t put anything embarrassing on either.

    2. Do you ever think about how your child(ren) might feel before you share an anecdote about them or a picture of them? Do you think about how they might feel when they’re older?

    My daughter is only 6 months old, but I’ve already considered her right to privacy. I don’t ever post stories that would be harmful to her in the future, and as she grows, I’ll continue to censor what I write.

    3. Is there an age at which you feel like your kids’ stories aren’t yours to share anymore? At least not without their permission?

    Yes. I think that when she’s in elementary school, I’ll begin to “phase” her out of my blog stories, but I rarely write exclusively about her. I mostly post about being a mother.

    4. Have you ever had an experience that made you reconsider whether or not it’s safe to share information about your kids or pictures of your kids online?

    Yes. When I was pregnant, I was reviewing my blog statistics and noticed that a specific IP address from England visited my blog by Googling a certain “risque” subject – I still have no idea how this person ended up on my blog! Anyway, I was able to view the download activity and the user downloaded all of my pregnancy photographs. From that moment, I removed my child’s name completely from my website and gave her a nickname and I also changed the settings on my blog so that web search engines cannot index it any longer. (Long story short, my blog doesn’t show up in Google searches.)

    5. Do you have any general guidelines that you adhere to in terms of sharing information about your kids or pictures of your kids online? Or are you totally laid-back about it? What works for you?

    I don’t post my child’s name online and I try to be as careful as possible about giving specifics about our daily routine. I know that if some creepy person out there wanted to stalk us down, they could find us, but I still try to take as many precautions as possible. Like someone said in an earlier post, my husband is my final “editor” and I always ask him for his advice if I feel funny about a post.

  27. On my blog, I don’t share my kids names.
    Same for pics -I’ve got WAY more on FB than I’d ever use on my blog. I know my friends on fb, not so much on the web.
    My oldest is going to be 13 soon, if I’m going to share something that may not make him look great, I ask first. He’s never said no.

    We’ve never had a creepy incident, but why risk it?

    I’m pretty laid back, basically just crossed bridges when I’ve needed too.

  28. 1. If you’re a blogger, do you ever post pictures of your kids on Facebook that you would never post on your blog? Why or why not?
    Yes. Mainly because they had other children in it and I wasn’t sure if their parents were comfortable with their children being on my blog. I am friends with their parents on FB, so I tagged them there.

    2. Do you ever think about how your child(ren) might feel before you share an anecdote about them or a picture of them? Do you think about how they might feel when they’re older?
    I do think about it. I try to respect their privacy, but I think about it this way: at age 32 am I embarrassed when my mom recalls a funny memory of me at age 5? No, I am glad she remembered usually think it is funny too. While I know a blog is more than just one tiny memory my mother has, these are also my memories too. I don’t want to forget for one second how precious my children are at this age.

    3. Is there an age at which you feel like your kids’ stories aren’t yours to share anymore? At least not without their permission?
    My oldest (age 5) has gotten to the point where she has asked me to not share stories about her. While she doesn’t understand “the blog” she does know that people know about her life when my friends ask her about things I have posted. I have cut back posting about her and ask her if I can share pictures of her now before I post them. I have a horrible memory and unless there is a picture of an event from my childhood, I don’t remember much about it. I rely very heavily on sight in learning and recalling information. I think that is why I am so obsessed with taking pictures. I can only assume that genetics will hit one of my children and they will be the same way. Maybe then they will appreciate what I have done?
    I hope when they get a little bigger (maybe 8 or so) to have them jot down some memories of their day to go along with the pictures I capture. Will I make that blog public? Probably not, but I think it is important to journal, learn to write a bit every night, and practice using REAL English. No thanx, or ppl or what have you that is so common thanks to texting. I wish my grandmother had kept a journal. I would have loved to read her stories now that she is gone. I think (hope!) my grandchildren and great-grandchildren might feel the same way about us.

    4. Have you ever had an experience that made you reconsider whether or not it’s safe to share information about your kids or pictures of your kids online?
    Yes. Though I do not have any knowledge of anyone taking my information off my blog and using it, I know it has happened to others and makes me nervous. But I do have a sitemeter and check it for activity. The thing that kept me blogging what the availability of cameras out there. I could be at the park playing with my kids and someone could be taking pictures of us and using them. Or recording what we are doing. Cameras are everywhere! When I blog, I *feel* like I have control over the pictures I share.

    5. Do you have any general guidelines that you adhere to in terms of sharing information about your kids or pictures of your kids online? Or are you totally laid-back about it? What works for you?
    I do not name their school or any city/town we live in. Things have a general location (mid-LA, Cajun Country) that sure, if you know the area, you know where we are, but I try to cover broad areas. No naked pictures. If the naked picture is too adorable not to share, I draw bathing suits on them. And no last names or occupations of family members.

    Let us know when the article comes out! I would love to read it.

  29. I have a personal blog and a classroom blog. I do not use names on either one–only initials. I have parents sign permission slips for their children to appear in the pictures on my classroom blog. (And by the way: it is the best way of keeping the families/parents involved in the classroom. Best PR move EVER to link home and school.) In five years of posting daily classroom blogs, I only had one parent complain because he saw his son’s first name written in the background on a bulletin board shot. I took the picture down, and the mom apologized and thought it was unnecessary.
    I am very careful about what I say about my own “personal” children. I’ve been blogging since they were teenagers (now adults) and I would never put anything that would embarrass them. I do use their real names on Facebook because I control who sees my updates/pictures on FB. I would not want my kid’s stories to be used for entertainment at their expense.
    There are a few blogs that I have quit reading because the mothers writing them seem to create drama about their children to increase readership.Very disturbing.
    Excited to see your article about this for some more guidelines. PS: At our school, we are not allowed to have parents or students as friends on our Facebook. This is a district policy.

  30. Colleen says:

    1. If you’re a blogger, do you ever post pictures of your kids on Facebook that you would never post on your blog? Why or why not?
    Actually, I post more on my blog than I do on FB because i have set up my blog so that only those with invitations can view it. I realized (too late) that I was sharing too many details on our blog (first and last names, home town, etc), and I didn’t want to start a new blog and it was too much to go back and fix, so I set it up so that it is private, and now I feel better. It is mostly just for close friends and family that live far away that want to keep up with my growing children. And really, since I don’t scrapbook at all, it is my own version of scrapbooking and documenting our stories and lives.
    2. Do you ever think about how your child(ren) might feel before you share an anecdote about them or a picture of them? Do you think about how they might feel when they’re older?
    I haven’t yet really – I’ve kept some of my son’s more personal stories out of it now that he’s in kindergarten, and I’d imagine that as they grow, I will become more aware of their privacy.

    3. Is there an age at which you feel like your kids’ stories aren’t yours to share anymore? At least not without their permission?
    Not sure – I feel that that is not a black and white line, but that slowly over time, I will probably share fewer and fewer of their private stories.
    4. Have you ever had an experience that made you reconsider whether or not it’s safe to share information about your kids or pictures of your kids online?
    Not personally, no.
    5. Do you have any general guidelines that you adhere to in terms of sharing information about your kids or pictures of your kids online? Or are you totally laid-back about it? What works for you?
    I share no naked pictures at all. As I mentioned, I share fewer pictures on facebook than on my blog. I feel that there are more lurkers and stalkers on fb than we know, and so I’m quite leery of it.

  31. I have a blog and a FB page, and I share lots more pictures on FB than on my blog, although I do share pics on my blog. I use nicknames for my kiddos on my blog.

    As far as anything I write about my children, I always get their permission before I post it. (My kids are 5, 7, and 9.) I believe respect goes both ways. If I would be embarrassed about something someone said about me, why does it make it okay to share similar things about my kiddos.

    I also don’t share personal info on my blog, but I’m guessing people could figure it out pretty quick. I have links to friends’ blogs, and they are much more open about where they live, etc.

    Facebook gives me the option of Friends only for everything, which is what I do. Keeps my kids pretty protected. The blog doesn’t offer quite the same thing. I’m pretty laid back about the pics though. (I do keep them sized small so people can’t click on them and steal them.)

    I wrote on my blog once:
    “God calls me to think of others better than myself. He calls me to honor others in love.

    That includes my children. They are better than me. They deserve honor and love. That means in the way I speak to them. That means in the way I speak about them. That means in what I write about them. How I talk and write about my children impacts them. It impacts me. It impacts others.

    My role as their mother is to protect them, to train them, to love them, to guard their hearts from evil, to preserve their reputation. That’s why I have close friends I go to when I am struggling, when I need wisdom on parenting, when I am tired and drained and confused. That is why, Lord willing, this blog, along with other public venues, will always be a place that respects my children. A place where I share funny stories and pride in their accomplishments and regale others with their wonder and beauty. (Incidentally, if you’re wondering, I always read my posts sharing stories about them to them first to be sure they’re okay with me posting them.) I long for this blog to be a place where I can be real, yes, but authenticity doesn’t mean I dishonor my family.

    I long for this to be a place of love.”

  32. 1. I have a few pictures that I don’t put on the internet, naked bath ones etc. If they go in Facebook they would be appropriate to share on my blog.

    2. If I had any thought that my comment or photo bother my kids later down the road I don’t think I would share it online or write it down in a scrapbook, etc. The things I share online are things that I hope that will be reminders to them of good times we have had and show the love that I have for them.

    3. I have not hit this age yet, my kids are young 2 and 4 they are still just at the brink of making memories. I will always probably share stories about them, but I may ask their permission before sharing them once they get to a point of understanding the internet and privacy. I will most likely still write the stories, but make them private, just like photos they may hate them at the moment but in the future they hold onto the treasured memories.

    4. I have never had an experience of the internet causing me fear for my children. What I’m more cautious about is being in public. You have to be careful about who hears your children’s name in the grocery store or at the park. Look and see who is taking pictures of your children. We are living with the predators right next door to us, we need to be more afraid of them than someone who may take the time to find you online, take the time to find where you are living, and take the time to travel to where you are. If they are working this hard on finding you they are unstable and have probably already presented themselves as a risk. But the people who call themselves family, friends, neighbors and only have to follow you are the ones to be afraid of.

    5. My first son’s name is actually a nickname and if he chooses in the future he can go by the full name or change the nickname. My second son’s name is unusual so we will see how that works for him. I do not write their full names out on my blog, but besides that I don’t really want to stress about it. The fact is that people are living full lives online. Names will become more and more Google-able. Google is now are creating a photo recognition program what are we going to do then stop sharing our photos?

  33. Sharon O says:

    When I put my grand daughter who was 11 on my blog and she read it she said ‘did you ask my permission?’ and no I had not. I apologized and she said it is ok only I wish you would ask.
    She had the right to do that I was in the wrong to assume she didn’t care. On facebook I am very careful about family/kids pictures. rarely do I put them on.

  34. Sarah Kate in WA state says:

    I don’t have a blog, but I am on Facebook and post quite often on there. I definitely try to consider my kids and how they would feel about what I share on Facebook. While I write quite a lot about them, I try to keep it lighthearted and funny…..nothing too personal that might embarrass them (now or down the road). I think that the older they get, the less I am likely to share. Right now, my son is almost 11 and my girls are 7 and almost 9. I find that I share quotes and stories about the girls much more often than about my son, who is less likely to enjoy having his ‘stories’ shared. I think that’s just a natural part of growing up. I anticipate that by the time they are all teens, and old enough to have their own FB accounts (if it’s not totally obsolete by then!), I won’t be sharing much about them at all.

    I only have friends on FB who are people I know and trust in real life, and I try to keep my privacy settings as high as possible as far as who can view pictures, etc.

    We go to a large church (that has been my church home since I was 10), and I have found that Facebook has provided a fun venue to connect with some of my church family (people I have been in small groups with in the past, but don’t see on a regular basis every Sunday, friends of my parents who I have known for years, etc.) and share a part of my life with them. I often get stopped on Sundays by these people who say, “I just have to tell you how much I enjoy your posts on Facebook. Your kids just make me laugh!” My girls especially get a kick out of their “5 minutes of FB fame”. They’ve also been known to say, after a conversation or comment leaves us all laughing, “Are you going to put that on Facebook?” :) However, I’m well aware that that is likely to change as they get older!

    Thankfully, I have not had any “bad” experiences with the pictures I’ve shared online, but I’m well aware that it’s always a good thing to be careful about what I do choose to share.

  35. Well, firstly, my children are grown up now – 34, 30 and 22. And yes, I do post more photos of them on Facebook than on the blog, because I have the privacy controls set at maximum and I decide who gets to see things. My son does not want his daughter’s face on the blog at all, so I only ever put photos of her taken from behind there, and he and his wife don’t want her real name mentioned, so I call her Missy. Facebook – well, I post a few of her there, and her name, but again, I have the control over who sees her.

    2/3. I do think about whether to tell a story or two about them, especially in their growing up years. 2 of the 3 hate being mentioned, but the 3rd one actually raised a very valid point when he went head to head with his siblings re their request to be excluded – he pointed out that this is a story about MY life, and it is inextricably bound up with theirs, because I am their mother. They saw his point. If I don’t talk about my kids, a huge part of me is left out. So basically, I use my discretion, but do talk about them.
    I am not sure the words “with their permission” if the child is a minor sit well with me, you know. There is this “I am their mother, and I will always have their best interests at heart “thing warring warring with the idea that a child can dictate what I do or say. I prefer to think that common sense, sensitivity to each child’s character and a whole heap of love and consideration work as a perfectly adequate filter. I am never going to make fun of, or deride, or ridicule any of them. They are my kids. And another thing to remember is that the younger mums out there can learn a great deal from stories of older mums! Been there. Done that. There is not one of us who has perfect children. And to be quite frank, I hate reading about the perfect. It is not real. I know that. So i may generalise a little if i have a particular point to make. My kids may know who I am talking about, but no-one else does!

    4. No
    5. Common sense prevails.

  36. I have daughters ages 21 and 23, one is a college student, one graduated and is working in a ‘big city’. I do not use my girls names (or my hubs) on my blog. I refer to them as Daughters 1 and 2. Daughter 1 started her own blog this past year and her name is in the title so I suppose I could call her by name on my blog but I don’t. I do post pics/use their names on facebook in a way that I wouldn’t on my blog since I know all my facebook friends on some level and have privacy settings in place regarding pictures. I don’t post many pics on fb.

    I always consider how something would ‘read’ to my girls before posting. I do not share every anecdote for that reason. Much of what I write on my blog about my girls is from their growing up years which they can now laugh about…I don’t know if they would have laughed at the time but now that these stories are memories they are fun for them to hear too.

    Since my oldest has a blog now I definitely feel like some of our shared experiences are hers to tell, not mine. I keep my family at the forefront of my brain when writing and I think I write primarily for them.

    I’m alert online. I have never given my hometown and it does not come up in stats…a nearby town is listed instead. I also have never given my hubs place of employment but am often asked about that in particular I think because he travels a to interesting places often and people are curious as to why. I realize people who really want to dig for these things could somehow find them but I am at least going to make them work for it.

    I moderate comments on my blog and have never had a problem. One thing happened recently which was odd but not scary…a friend from college but one I have not seen those days reads my blog. She teaches middle school and she recently told me she showed some of my pics to her class. I had written several ‘travel’ type posts. I didn’t really mind but I definitely thought she should have asked first. It did get me thinking that I should put a mark on my photos….for the most part I don’t take great pictures and don’t know why anyone would take mine but still. And I would have said sure, use the pics but its just a courtesy to ask don’t you think?

  37. There are a bajillion typos in that comment-sorry-it’s early and I haven’t had my coffee : )

  38. 1. I am a blogger and I never post pictures of my boy’s face on my blog. It makes it tricky some times trying to capture a moment while keeping his appearance hidden, but it’s important to me to give him some semblance of anonymity.

    I post some pictures on Facebook, but my FB account isn’t tied to my blog. There is no FB button on my blog and my blog posts never post on my FB wall. I friend only people that I know and am actually friends with… people that know our family. If I wouldn’t want them in my house, sharing a meal at my table, they don’t make the list. My FB privacy settings are locked down – basically unless we’re friends, you can’t see anything about me other than my name.

    2. My son is ten and I frequently ask him how he feels about me posting things on my blog. If I want to write something that could possibly embarrass him, I give him full veto power. We’ve been having this dialogue since he was five or six. In all the years, there has only been one time that he had an objection. More often than not, he will do something nutty and then suggest that I go write about it on my blog.

    This system has worked for us, mainly because my son is not shy. He is full of confidence and loves a good laugh (even when it’s at his expense). I think the fact that I keep my blog anonymous goes a long way towards making him feel secure and unembarrassed.

    3. As I said above, my boy has full veto power concerning the things I share. That will never change. As a rule, I try to keep my blog posts personal without overstepping the boundaries. I don’t want my hubby or my son to ever feel like I’m sharing too much just for the sake of a blog post. It’s family first, blog second around here.

    4. I’ve never personally had a bad experience as far as online stuff goes. That said, I do have some concerns about privacy. When I started my blog, I decided not to use my full name. There are a handful of people that I’ve met through my blog that know my full identity, but most people just know me as Amy or Mrs. Ha.

    5. I guess my general guideline is to keep a fairly tight reign on things like that. As we all know, once something is out there on the internet, there’s no taking it back. Common sense will be our guide.

    In the coming years, as my son starts to participate in some of the online stuff, I am going to encourage him to tread carefully. I want him to understand how important it is to have a long-term view as far as online stuff is concerned. I am hearing more and more stories about kids who end up limiting their opportunities as an adult because they decided to post crazy nonsense on FB page as teenagers.

    If we are going to allow our kids to participate in the online world, it’s our responsibility to make sure they have a full understanding of what the possible repercussions of such a life. We teach our kids about the impact of eating healthy, smoking, working hard in school… It only seems logical that online stuff should be talked about as well.

  39. I am blogger. I don’t really post any pictures on Facebook that I wouldn’t post of my blog, but my husband and I share a Facebook, so we certainly have to agree on pictures to go up. I post MORE pictures on Facebook than the blog, and Facebook is friend-protected. We are only friends with family and friends we know in person and communicate with regularly. I usually only post pictures of my son online that go with something I am talking about, so I don’t usually just do picture posts of him. All pictures must be appropriate. (See answer to question 5, to avoid redundancy in answering.) My husband, son, and my first names all appear on my blog, but not our (very common) last name. We actually share first names with another VERY prominent blogger.

    One thing we’re VERY careful with is to remove any GPS coding embedded in our pictures. That may be the biggest detriment to child safety when you’re posting pictures, cell phone pictures, especially. We have Droids, and have the setting for NOT embedding GPS code into our pictures selected. I would recommend EVERYONE look into their phone’s settings and be sure any pictures they post online do not have GPS coding embedded. I believe Facebook disables this automatically, but of course, a blog would not.

    Absolutely, yes, I think about how my blog may affect my little guy. I would never share a picture or anecdote that may embarrass him. I avoid posting about things like diapers, bodily functions, little boy parts, etc. I would hate for him to see my blog in 10 years and feel humiliated that people knew so much about him, even though my blog is very small. I try to think about how I would feel if someone posted the things I post about him, about me, and if I would be uncomfortable, I wouldn’t post it.

    My son is currently 18 months old. So this is one that we haven’t really gotten to yet. I’m sure that yes, at some point I will change the focus of my blog to be much less about my son, because it will be less appropriate. My general guess would be when kids are old enough to accurately relate their OWN stories that it may be time to let them do so. Unless of course, they enjoy being shared about on my blog. So we’ll see!

    Yes, I had an experience early on in my blog that made me reconsider if I would consider blogging. I had a keyword search find my blog that I found a little disturbing. It wasn’t obviously creepy, but it certainly was bizarre enough to make me think. It was a post I’d done about my feelings about spanking and bullying. I ended up removing all of the wording in the post that referenced spanking. I decided that if I ever am found as the result of a keyword search that is OUTRIGHT disturbing, I will reconsider the public nature of my blog.

    I have some general mental rules (for my blog and Facebook) that my husband shares, as far as his posting on Facebook. We would NEVER share bath, diaper, or naked pics of ANY kind of my son. General rule… if I wouldn’t post a similar picture of myself, I wouldn’t post it of my son. I also try to avoid pairing words with pictures that would attract the wrong kind of search attention. We also watch closely what relatives repost of our boy. For example, our son is my hubby’s parents’ first grandbaby, so they often use pictures of them with him as profile pics. We like to ensure the pictures are appropriate, and that they aren’t being shared with the world. For a little while after he was born, my MIL would tell us that she was sending pictures of her son to “everyone she knew.” We discovered that this wasn’t entirely people she knew IN PERSON and asked her to stop. We also have asked her to stop putting picture of our son on her Facebook, as she is friends with some people (like my hubby’s ex) that we would not like having access to loads of pictures of the little guy.

    As information goes, I will not share anything about my son’s diaper habits, private areas, or anything that could be considered “private” information. Again, if I wouldn’t tell my readers about that area of MY life, I wouldn’t share it about his. I think a lot of mommy bloggers fail to adhere to modesty in regards to their kids – they feel that since THEY think a particular habit or anecdote from their kid is cute or funny, that everyone will. People may not want to hear about how your was running around without a diaper and had an accident, the nature of the accident, how he dealt with it, etc. (Hypothetical example.) I also think people tend to overshare pictures of the little folks without enough clothes, and that is one thing I strive to avoid. I have bath pictures, and cute naked pictures of my son, sure. I think all parents do. But those are for our picture albums, that will never be shared with strangers.

    One last thought, I agree with a poster above that we MUST teach our kids to be responsible online. How can I tell him to be cautious of what he shares online if I’ve shared his every embarrassing/personal moment since birth, complete with naked, embarrassing pictures?!

    I guess that’s all I have to say… as if that’s not enough. ;-) Thanks for opening the topic. I think as bloggers, it’s good to constantly examine our motives, personal guidelines, and priorities when it comes to the safety and happiness of our families.

  40. If you’re a blogger, do you ever post pictures of your kids on Facebook that you would never post on your blog? Why or why not?
    I have a blog (actually i’ve only just started) but i haven’t put up any photos of my kids or of me and i don’t think i ever will. My blog is public, open to everyone and it
    feels unsafe to share pictures of my kids in that space. For the longest time i wouldn’t share photos on facebook either, but once i figured that i could set everything to friends only, I’ve shared a few photographs.

    Do you ever think about how your child(ren) might feel before you share an anecdote about them or a picture of them? Do you think about how they might feel when they’re older?
    My kids are 8 and 4 years old. So a lot of what i write is about them. But i only write about the fun stuff…nothing that could possibly embarass them. In fact my blog has helped me focus on the postive and the beautiful in my kids and in my life. I want my blog to be something that my kids would love to read when they are older…and i always have this in mind when i write.

    Is there an age at which you feel like your kids’ stories aren’t yours to share anymore? At least not without their permission
    They’re too young now, but i guess i would feel like i can’t write about them without their permission when they are say, around 12 years old.

    Have you ever had an experience that made you reconsider whether or not it’s safe to share information about your kids or pictures of your kids online?
    No. But i’ve heard so many stories that i’m a bit paranoid about these things now.

    Do you have any general guidelines that you adhere to in terms of sharing information about your kids or pictures of your kids online? Or are you totally laid-back about it? What works for you?
    I don’t share any pictures of my kids or me on my blog and no names either…not even mine. I’m a bit more open on facebook because of all the privacy controls. The thing about a blog is that you want as many readers as possible so everything you put on the blog is public…i haven’t put my name on my blog, nothing about where i live, no contact information other than an email address.

  41. I’m totally different on FB than on my blog. For one, I have strong privacy controls on FB, and everyone on FB pretty much knows my kids. However, I am fairly open on my blog. I do stop and think before I post stories about them. Sometimes I ask, but usually I don’t. I do consider their feelings, but sometimes I go ahead if I think it’s something they may mind now but won’t mind in a couple of years.
    BTW, my kids are young teens. When I started blogging, they were about 8 – 10, that age range. I have always tried to be careful what I write, and I don’t publish unflattering pics.

  42. I have my blog set to invite only so I know exactly who is reading and can therefore feel comfortable writing about where we live and post pictures of my daughter.
    I make sure my Facebook settings are set at the highest privacy level and only have friends on there who I actually know personally. I refer to my daughter by her first initial in status updates just because I wonder if that could show up somewhere else. This has caused a funny situation where many of my friends refer to her as “B” not realizing that we really don’t call her that in real life:)
    I usually don’t have her in my profile picture since that’s public all the time, though the four generation picture I put up for Mother’s Day is an exception:)
    I do already think about what I write about her – she turns three in August- and from day one have had a private blog (my eyes only) to write things that might be embarrassing later or that I think others might comment negatively on;)

  43. HI…

    On my blog, I do not list our real names. I use nicknames and do not use our last name or our specific location, just general area. I do not post pictures of our kids on FB or the blog in bathing suits or “half dressed”, etc. And when I think about it, I think there actually are pictures I’d post on FB, where I”m in control of who sees, that I wouldn’t necesssarily put on my blog. (Still, no bathing suits, etc.)

    Now that our kids are older (15, 12, 8), I still post funny stories, but I check with them first to make sure they are ok with it. I think by age 8, it’s good to ask the child before posting. Just yesterday, something happened at Target with our 12 yr old son that was hilarious but quite embarrassing. He made sure I knew he didn’t want anyone told about this and “don’t put it on Facebook, either,” he said. But, even the stories I have put about the children on my blog aren’t embarrassing….just funny things they said or did when they were younger. I think a good rule of thumb is to think ahead…will the child be mortified at age 14 to go back and read the blog post, no matter how cute it was when they were 5???

    I had a strange thing happen on the blog with a picture of our youngest daughter a couple of years ago. It was a picture of her pretending to scream with a wide open mouth. I checked my site meter for who was visiting the blog and someone with a s*xual sounding website had gone to that way-old post…the one with that picture…. and clicked on the pic. It made me feel very uncomfortable…actually quite sick to my stomach……

    I don’t get HomeLife but would love to read the article when you are done!

  44. I don’t have a blog, that would take away from my time reading them ;). I am on facebook. I do post pictures with my kids names. I regularly check the privacy settings to make sure access is blocked to anyone who I have not friended, and I also recently did a paring down of friends to, shall we say ” who is most likely to show up at my or my immediate family members, funeral?”. That certainly dwindled tne list, but means is people I trust. I am very safety aware, but really, in this day and age – not too hard to take pictures of kids anywhere or find out names. So point is, rather than worrying about the mechanics of HOW things could be done, I concentrate on my kids knowing and following safety rules, period. And (age appropriately) the reason for said rules. For example (off topic I know, see I cant have a blog as I ramble), to distinguish friend from aquaintance I told my daughter if we havent been to their house for dinner and vice versa – then they are not our friend! With point being you trust friends not acquaintances, so she knows to not just toodle off with an aquaintance she happens to meet on the street. Sounds convoluted but it was explanation tnat worked really well. And ramble ceases. Re:stories – golden rule – should be easy to know what is age appropriate cute as opposed to embarrassing. If I dont want it written about me, wouldnt write it about them or another way to phrase, if I wont let them read it, I wont write it. After all, besides all normal reasons for that, we must always remember that kids become teens, teens will always be more techno-savvy than their ‘rents (or have school mates that are), and you cant get mad at them for posting embarrassing status updates (or blog posts for the bloggers) about us if we have set that precident … so the only staus post I didnt let my kid read was when I almost destroyed the tooth fairy myth … but that was still embarrassing about me, not her! And if anything I status bragging things about them or pointing out my own (usually parental) flaws.

  45. I’ve just begun blogging and have only attached one photo of one of our daughters. I do not post stories, pictures, etc. about our children (or anyone) until I have gotten their approval. My purpose is to share without embarrassing anyone. I put our daughter’s first name, but not her middle. I think we need to be cautious and protective of our children.

  46. I do share photos on FB that I would never share on my blog. Since I have more control over who sees the pictures on FB (or at least I think I do! :)), I feel a little safer posting photos of my kids there. However, I do post photos on my blog regularly, but only use my kids first names and never mention the name of their school. As far as stories go, I have four kids ages 6 – 10 and a HUGE part of my blog is stories about them. I try not to share anything that would embarrass them, especially now that they are getting older. They love being mentioned on the blog, though. When one of them does something funny, they’ll say “Go blog about that, Mom!”

  47. 1. My Facebook account is visible only to my friends, so I would put the same pictures on Facebook and my blog.
    2. I always take into consideration how my children would feel about something before I post it on my blog (Facebook is mainly about me – short little tidbits of what’s going on in just my life/thoughts). My two oldest (14 and 11) read my blog and I don’t want them embarrassed by what I’ve written, so I try to be sensitive to their stage of life (particularly the 14 yo who now has a girlfriend and he’s navigating this new part of life – I don’t post ANYTHING about this!). I do want my blog to be somewhat of a journal of our life as a family, however, so I pick and choose what goes on there.
    3. If I ever feel like something I want to write about would adversely affect my immediate family, I talk to that family member before putting something on my blog. However, because I want this to be a family blog, I feel like these are our stories to tell.
    4. I never put anyone’s names on my blog – I refer to my kids with their initials only and my husband and any friends with the first letter of their first name only. I want to keep that part private. If someone would ever see one of my kids in public (highly doubtful as only family reads my blog), they would never know their real name. I made the mistake of ONCE putting my oldest son’s actual name on my blog (in typing fast and just writing) and my mom was all over me. I do respect her anxiety, however, as there are some very unpleasant people out there. People who know us know exactly what kid I’m referring to.
    5. Hmmm… guess I just answered this one in the last answer :)

  48. 1. I post pictures on Facebook regularly, but I have my Facebook locked down. I did post pictures of my kids on my blog, but did not use their names, nor my location.

    2. I would never share anything that would embarrass them! They are my top priority. However, I’m totally fine with self-embarrassment.

    3. I would say the age they are now, 12 and 9. That’s partially why I stopped blogging so much.

    4. Not really, I went into blogging fully aware that anyone could could read my blog. That was always in the forefront of my mind.

    5. Like I said, I never gave my children’s real names, nor the city I lived in. I did come to the conclusion that there are millions of blogs and the chances of anyone stumbling across my blog that wished to do me harm was about the same as someone stumbling by my house that wished us harm. So, I didn’t worry too much.

  49. This is a good question. I’ve definitely gotten a lot more protective of what I post in either spot after being semi-stalked by an aquaintance. It made me nervous and paranoid and I ended up deleting lots of blog posts and facebook friends. You never know where the crazies are. That being said… my dadgum last name is in my blog title; a name I came up with in simpler times when my mom was the only one who read my blog.

  50. Rutheee says:

    Children (who are not on line themselves) are far and away more likely to be harmed by people they live near, go to school and church with and sleep in the next room to than strangers on the internet. Sad but very true.

  51. 1. If you’re a blogger, do you ever post pictures of your kids on Facebook that you would never post on your blog? Why or why not?

    I do have a blog, and I have never posted pictures of my nephews on it. I don’t use their real names either. When I first joined FB I put up 1 photo of each of the nephews, but not after that until a couple of weeks ago. I had taken pictures of my nephew and the daughter of a friend. She wanted me to share them with her on FB. I did get my sister’s permission before sharing them.

    2. Do you ever think about how your child(ren) might feel before you share an anecdote about them or a picture of them? Do you think about how they might feel when they’re older?

    Yes, I do; especially now that the oldest nephew is a teenager. Their have been “family issues” that I chose not to go into detail about on my blog. I did give my testimony, and briefly mentioned their was a “situation” God brought me through, but out of respect for my nephew and other family I did not elaborate.

    3. Is there an age at which you feel like your kids’ stories aren’t yours to share anymore? At least not without their permission?

    I never shared anything private regarding the nephew. There have been a few times where something happened that was really great, or I thought would make good “blog fodder.” I did ask his permission to share it.

    4. Have you ever had an experience that made you reconsider whether or not it’s safe to share information about your kids or pictures of your kids online?

    Nothing personally threatening, but just out of common sense, or just trying to be cautious.

    5. Do you have any general guidelines that you adhere to in terms of sharing information about your kids or pictures of your kids online? Or are you totally laid-back about it? What works for you?

    Like I said, I don’t use real names. For instance, my older nephew is referred to as “Little Mark”, because I once commented that he reminded me of a young Mark Lowery. “Mark” is not even remotely close to his real name. I have always tried to be very careful about not giving too many details about where we really live, etc. I just say, “East Texas.” Now that he is older though, I have become a little more laid back about that, but still no photos on the blog. I am only friends with people I truly know on FB, and I do have it set up so that only friends can see photos, so I feel safer about posting them there.

  52. 1. If you’re a blogger, do you ever post pictures of your kids on Facebook that you would never post on your blog? Why or why not?

    No. Because I am not out to embarrass them or make them uncomfortable. I never post a picture on facebook without asking their permission, it’s a respect thing. They never seem to care but I ask anyway.

    2. Do you ever think about how your child(ren) might feel before you share an anecdote about them or a picture of them? Do you think about how they might feel when they’re older?

    My children were older when I started my blog, but I do value their input. I always ask them to “o.k.” whatever I post about them. They’d always say “It’s fine, mom, I don’t need to read it” but I’d ask them to read it anyway. When they were younger I did try to be careful with the stories I verbally shared about them. People do tend to remember stories and I did not want my kids “labeled” a liar or a brat just because of ONE funny story that I shared and the person remembered.

    It saddens me to read some things that people post about their children. The blog should be a legacy that the mom can pass on, not a place where she can rant and complain about that one moment in time that will soon pass for her but will forever be engraved on the heart of her child, should he/she read about it later.

    3. Is there an age at which you feel like your kids’ stories aren’t yours to share anymore? At least not without their permission?

    Once my kids were old enough to actually be embarrassed, I tried to be very careful not to share the stories that would embarrass them (but, of course, you can’t know what will embarrass and what won’t until it’s too late!). But I am sure I erred a few times. During their growing up years I did encourage them to let some stories be told so that they could learn to laugh at themselves. I do think that you need to be careful whether it’s verbal or written.

    4. Have you ever had an experience that made you reconsider whether or not it’s safe to share information about your kids or pictures of your kids online? No. But mine are older. I don’t put their names on my blog but have posted a few pictures.

    5. Do you have any general guidelines that you adhere to in terms of sharing information about your kids or pictures of your kids online? Or are you totally laid-back about it? What works for you?

    Mine are older, as I said. But if I had little kids I would never put a picture if my child wasn’t fully dressed. I would just be very careful and not post pictures with their names or school names or anything. I saw one child’s preschool “first day” picture with them standing outside the door, and the preschool name was written right on the sign (along with other information). I’ve also seen pictures of kids standing outside with street signs nearby, etc. I’ve even seen parents post pix of their kids and give a link to the local church that the parents attend.

  53. I grew up in a household of public oversharing. My dad owned the local weekly newspaper, and his personal column was often peppered with kid stories. Instead of strangers commenting online about the cuteness and me never knowing the embarrassment, I had them stopping me in the grocery store to say how funny something was that they had read. And because I didn’t read the paper when I was little, I usually didn’t even know it had been printed somewhere, so I’d wonder how they knew about it. And it sort of seemed “normal” to me to have the world know my business.

    So I guess to me, the blog sharing is a rite of passage. For all of us :) My children are doomed to be shared about, long after other people might determine it’s no longer their story to tell. Sorry, girls! You can post your side of the story in your own blog when you’re old enough! Which, by the way, is a favor my dad also allowed us. If we wanted to write our own column, we could, and it was printed in the paper for the town to see.

  54. At one point, I took all of my kids pictures off of my blog because I got paranoid after reading some other blogs. I even took their names off. Then, after a couple of years, I decided to go back to putting our names on. There were a lot of blogs of people I trusted with much bigger followings (such as yours Sophie :), and I felt like it was safe, although I know there is some risk involved. With that being said, I do not ever post bathtub/swimsuit pics of my little kids on my blog or facebook. I try to use caution with the pics I post.

    I tell funny stories about my younger kids (especially my five year old right now as he is at the age where lots that he says is funny :). I exercise caution with my teenager, as he is now a facebooker and does not want to be embarrassed, which is understandable!

    I hope that helps! Please feel free to use my name if you need to! I would love to read your article when you are done to get your thoughts on these issues!

  55. I don’t have kids, but I teach college students and one of the cautions I try to give my students is that once something is on the internet, it’s there for good. Even if your Facebook account is protected and as private as can be, your friends can copy and post your pictures elsewhere, or put something you said on Twitter, or blog it. Caution is ALWAYS warranted, even when you think what you are posting is secure.

  56. I just started blogging so no one reads mine except my sister and sister in law. I feel kinda certain that my blog will never be as read as yours is. I mainly do mine because I am not a scrapbook keeper and I want to remember things about our family. My kids are 11 and 8. If I reach for the camera my son runs to another room so the pictures that I do put on my blog or mainly of my daughter. I always let her see my blog before I hit the publish button and if there is something on there that she is not real crazy about then she and I will talk about it and if she has a real reason other than just not wanting it there, then I will take the picture off. She is only 8 so right now she loves the fact that she is on the internet. She has even started asking when I take a picture am I gonna put it on my blog. I do use there real names and I don’t feel like that is a problem. I have facebooked for a while and I have always talked about my family and put pictures on there. My facebook friends are just that, friends. Most of them are family or church friends. I have never had a problem with anything that I share but if I ever feel uncomfortable sharing about my family I will stop. My family is my number one concern. They are all that matters not whether someone sees a picture of something that they did.

  57. I may be throwing a curve ball here, but this is what really disturbs me – and it’s not online. It’s on the back of cars.

    The stick people family. DRIVES ME NUTS. Everytime I see one, I have thoughts like this…Well, there’s a nice family of five. A mommy, daddy, two boys (one named Jacob who obviously plays soccer – #21 on his team and one named Thomas who’s into baseball #9) and a girl, Sarah, who cheerleads, and according the bumper sticker an Honor Student at Blah Blah High School. They have two dogs.

    If you think about it, that’s a LOT of info to publicize on the back of your car that any Tom, Dick, or Harry sees on the road. Make that any Tom, Dick, or Harry Perv. How easy would it be for some pervert to watch Sarah get out of that car and approach her as a “friend” of the family? Ask her about her brothers, dogs, etc. SO EASY.

    I know everyone’s proud of their kids and families, but it concerns me broadcasting such family details on the roadways of life.

    Maybe it’s just me.

  58. Melanie says:

    No blog, but I do have a FB page, which I have tried to set with the strictest privacy settings I can. (Sidenote–this weekend is my high school reunion, so after the reunion, depending on how it goes, I will probably “unfriend” several hs folks. I’d like to limit my fb friends to people I actually care about in real life. Especially since the reunion will be over, and the chance to peek into the head cheerleaders life will not be as tempting.) If I had a blog, I would probably try to limit pics of the kids, and I would probably give them different names. I also would limit the stories I tell about them–which I already do on fb, no status updates with embarrassing stories about them. The kids are 10 and 8, and I don’t want them to feel like I am using their life experiences as my personal joke/story fodder. Of course, they do funny things, and those are shared privately with people, but I do try very hard not to portray them in a negative light. My feeling is, once they started school (kindergarten), their lives became more “public” and therefore it was my job to protect them and.

    Of course, by funny things I mean silly, embarrassing things that kids do as part of growing and maturing. My kids have decent senses of humor, so I wouldn’t hesitate to share a funny joke or situation they were in, where they found the situation funny, too.

  59. May I comment from the other side? I do not have children, but follow friend’s blogs and Facebook updates and I’m shocked at what my friends post from pictures of naked bums to intimate potty details to bodily function descriptions that leave little to the imagination. (I work in a nursing home, so it’s not easy to gross me out) While I love the general updates about my friend’s children, I don’t care to know the gory details about snot/poo poo/etc. I wonder why they post such as that. I mean, I understand being proud of your children, but at some point don’t you have to ask yourself your motive in the posting? Thank you for addressing this; I love your HomeLife articles.

  60. When I began blogging, my husband and I made the decision to use “blog names” for our 3 children online. It was a few years before I ventured onto Facebook, but when I did, I never captioned photos with our children’s names but instead used only their ages. People who know us know which one is which. ;) And, at this point, I am only friends on FB with people I actually know. I am not as diligent on FB in keeping our children’s names private, but most often I refer to them as “my 8 year old,” etc., rather than naming names. Again, people who know us know which is which, especially since our kids are rather spaced out in age. I am vague about our location both on my blog and on FB, and my husband and I have common enough names (first and last) that I don’t go to great lengths to prevent others from knowing our last name. That is, I don’t have a separate email address that doesn’t show my last name for use with my blog.

    I don’t post many photos of my kids on FB. The vast majority of my photos are on my blog, and my blog posts onto FB with their “blog names.” I have FB settings where only my friends can see my wall, photos, etc., which limits who can see photos I post but not photos others post and tag me in. I have–infrequently–untagged myself in FB photos whether the photo is of me or my children.

    I do not post every funny story about/conversation with my kids on my blog or on FB. I filter what I will post, and am more likely to post things the younger ones say/do than the oldest. I do consider whether or not my 14 year old, in particular, would be mortified if I publicly repeated things from his life especially since I am “friends” with some of his friends on FB. I think the same can be said of things my husband says. ;) My 8 year old, on the other hand…he still gets a kick out of people retelling him the stories that have been told. Since I think he is approaching the age where he will soon start to care, I occasionally ask him if it’s OK to post a story or a photo. I use (so-called) common sense in retelling any story or sharing any photo, no matter what the setting: blog, Facebook, face-to-face.

    This is a great topic! I’ve enjoyed reading others’ comments.

  61. 1. If you’re a blogger, do you ever post pictures of your kids on Facebook that you would never post on your blog? Why or why not
    I actually post less pictures on facebook than I do on my public blog or my private shutterfly account. I realized that even when my facebook settings were strict, someone could save a picture and re-post it when my sis-in-law innocently did. It really freaked me out, not because she did it, but because anyone else I’m friends with could.

    4. Have you ever had an experience that made you reconsider whether or not it’s safe to share information about your kids or pictures of your kids online?

    I monitor google analytics not because I care if I’m popular or not, but so that I can see how others find my blog (looking at key word searches, etc). I have considered making my blog private but I would hate to do that since I have met other babyloss mamas through blogging. Ultimately I will do what’s best for my family though and if I feel like things aren’t safe I’ll do it.

  62. I do post pics to my FB but I only allow people I am friends with to see them. I quit posting as much as I used to because my 4 year old was coming home from school saying someone was talking about seeing her on Facebook. Don’t really want my 4 year old (who is already asking to ‘text’ people, yikes) to know about Facebook. Some people post WAY too much out there.

    I have a blog that I do post pics of. I don’t list kiddo’s name but my name is in the title so I am sure if someone really wanted to figure things out they could. Ever since Kelly had her issue with people stealing her photos, I’ve been thinking about watermarking them as well, just haven’t done it yet. I don’t have NEAR the readership she has (or you, note all my parenthesis usage).

    I also don’t really talk much about where I live. Just my state (MS!) and my Bulldogs.

    And no, I don’t share embarrassing pics but I do tell sweet (and mostly funny) sayings from my kiddo, mainly because I want to remember them.

    My blog is not just for my kiddo though, it’s about real life, keeping it real. I enjoy writing and it’s such a release for me.

  63. My blog is specifically about my daughter (almost 3) and her adventures on a day to day basis, and includes updates on everything from her weekly gymnastics class to annual vacations to the clever things she says to the tough sleeping issues we’ve just gotten through!! I do not differ from pictures I would post on the blog to the pictures I post on Facebook because the bottom line is if the picture isn’t appropriate for one, it’s not appropriate for the other. Just because I think I “know” my friends on Facebook, doesn’t mean I know them and what they could take away from a picture. With that said, I am not too concerned with picking and choosing pictures either way. I guess I am the laid back type to which you are referring! I use good judgement, but I don’t see the issue in posting a picture of my daughter at the beach in her cute pink polka dot bathing suit! Again, if it’s not appropriate for others to see on the blog, maybe she shouldn’t be wearing it on a public beach… I just don’t understand the issue with the posting of pictures. Yes, I understand someone CAN steal your picture; however, I personally am not too worried about it. I saw where someone commented in regards to a child having a greater chance of being harmed from a neighbor/relative, etc, versus someone 5,000 miles away reading my blog. I couldn’t agree more. I am more concerned about her nutritional safety (i.e. organic food/all natural flavors, etc), her education, her relationship with me and others and many, many other things than I am about someone using her picture to claim as their own child. YES, it’s creepy – please do not misunderstand me – I just am far more worried about other things… My blog is a place to document her life, such as a journal, and it give my relatives and friends an opportunity to see her grow up, as I live out of town. I know she will reach an age where I will take a little more precaution into what I say (and ask her permission!), but for now, I just use good judgement. I don’t spell out her name including a social security number, and I don’t say when we’re headed out of town with our house address, but I don’t see the difference in using a first name vs. an initial or even mentioning a last name. If someone is going to find you, they will find you regardless of whether you are using a last name or not! Also, no – I don’t feel there is an age at which my kids stories are not mine to share. It’s my story, the way I see it. Yes, some may be to personal to share to the world (as there are some now that are too personal) but it’s my stories. I will encourage my daughter to keep her own journal on her perspective of her adventures as soon as she is old enough! (but keep in mind I do not have thousands of followers!!)

    With all that said, I am eager to read your article and other’s thoughts. I have not had any bad experiences, all good, which I recognize could be the reason why I am so laid back, so I look forward to reading others and perhaps my mind may change. That’s the beauty of all these blogs – I get to see all different views on life!!

  64. I kn ow I am not answering your question…but I did not know how to email you!! I am going to be visiting Birmingham in a couple of weeks and I would love to know the best places to eat and shop. And is the Tutwiler a good place to stay? Thank you ever so much!!

  65. Shannon says:

    Not a blogger anymore, but my thoughts from back in the olden days when I was…

    1. Yes. Have my Facebook privacy settings arranged so that only friends (not friends-of-friends or strangers) can see my friends. I have a lot of Facebook friends, but I have it set up so that only *some* can even see my photos.

    2. Yes. All the time. Some of it boils down to kids’ personalities. My firstborn thinks the stories are all fantastic. My third born is embarrassed if I even wink in his direction. So I always took that into account.

    3. I don’t think there’s a magical age where it suddenly becomes an issue, but for my kids, I really noticed a shift take place somewhere around first grade-ish. Especially with my older kids, when I wrote a post that involved them significantly I let them read it first. And there were a couple of times they said “no”, and I honored it, no questions asked.

    4. Yes, one instance was creepy enough to report to authorities. If you want details, email me. Another one didn’t rise to that level, but did drive home the danger of what people with Photoshop skills can do to a photograph. ‘Nuff said.

    It is true–absolutely true–that there are far greater dangers than internet predators. Parents need to be *at least* as vigilant about neighbors, acquaintances, etc, if not more. However, if I can, with some basic common sense, mitigate somewhat the online risk, you bet I’ll do it.

  66. I’m a very sporadic blogger. (I want to change that!) I only post pictures of my girls that don’t show their faces on the blog, but I do occasionally post their pictures, faces and all, on FB. I’m more careful with the blog because anyone can see it. I’m careful with my FB privacy settings, so only people I’m friends with can see my pics. And I guess I trust my FB friends.

    I do stop and think before posting pics and info about my girls. If I think something would be embarrassing, I usually don’t share it. Sometimes I will post an anecdote but not identify which girl it’s about.

    My oldest daughter got her own FB at 13, so I generally let her choose to share things on her account.

    I also use pseudonyms for my girls on my blog. I feel like it helps protect their privacy and mine! (Although I do use my first name and my husband’s first name.) I’m also vague about where we live.

  67. I fb and have a blog. On my blog I use our names, but not our last name, town, or any other identifying information. I do not post pics of the boys with jerseys on that could be tracked down to find our town, school, etc. Sometimes people will post our last name in the comments or something else identifying-I delete the comment. As my boys get older (oldest just turned 9) I’m very careful about what I blog about their personal lives. I only put things on there that he would be proud of, that he would want to share, and would in no way embarass him. In another year or two I’ll ask his permission before putting things on that refer to him. While my blog is an outlet for me, I understand that we, and our lives, are so intertwined that I need to think of his feelings as much as I think of mine.

    On fb I am a minimalist for pictures, I do the annual birthday pics of the boys, and family ones for Easter, summer, and Christmas, I don’t think everyone I’m friends with needs to see all the pictures of what we did over the weekend, they can stop by in person and look at my albums! I have posted pics that do have identifying info, either for place or name, since I know the people that can see it know my name and where we live already. I’m only friends with people I really know and have all my settings set to private. I check that periodically too since when the do upgrades things get reset to the defaults (which isn’t so private) sometimes.

  68. I’m a little late commenting, but I think this post was the same day as my first chemo treatment (which didn’t go so well) and I missed it. I’m catching up.

    I don’t facebook, but if I did, I certainly wouldn’t put pictures of my children there that I wouldn’t put on my blog. If it’s not appropriate for a public forum like my blog, it’s not appropriate for any public forum.

    I do share some funny things about my kids on my blog. I even share some funny pictures that go along with them. But they are what I would call tastefully funny. Humorous. Not embarrassing. Sometimes I’ll take a picture and they will ask me not to put it on the blog. I always tell them I don’t plan to, but if I change my mind I’ll ask first. I always tell the truth and don’t sneak anything by. That includes my 11 year old boy, who is my funniest. I also have a 14 y.o. boy and twin 17 y.o. girls.

    I’ve never had a negative experience to this point with sharing pictures and such. But I also don’t share my children’s names on my blog. I don’t share my husband’s either, but it wouldn’t be hard to figure out through the email address I use. I don’t share specifics about where we live, and the couple of times there has been something in a picture I’m carefully to blur it out (like a house address or street name). I am concerned for my children’s safety and take appropriate precautions.

    I don’t worry about the pictures I post because we are a modest family to start with, so we don’t end up with pictures that would be inappropriate in that sense. I would never share any type of revealing or seductive picture of any of us, but then again, we don’t have any of those.