Social Question

keobooks's avatar

When parents are blogging, at what age do you think they should cut back on the details to preserve the privacy and/or dignity of their kids?

Asked by keobooks (14296points) June 26th, 2010

I read a lot of parenting blogs, and I’ve followed one mom’s since the day of her daughter’s birth. Her daughter has spina bifida, so it’s been interesting to watch her daughter progress over the years and see how her mother deals with the challenges of having a disabled child.

Anyway, her daughter is now about seven and her mom is just as detailed as she was when the baby was born. I just read a post by mom that was extremely detailed about the difficulties of potty training her daughter (don’t diss the kid—potty training is really tough when you are partially paralyzed and may not be able to feel when you have to go or have the muscle strength to hold it. I know adults with spina bifida and other spinal problems that have the same difficulties.)

Anyway, I thought that maybe there comes a time when mom should stop blogging publicly about certain aspects of parenting. I thought that this could be potential fodder to ridicule the girl once her classmates discover the blog in a few years. She has friends and family members who now ALL know about things that might embarrass her—if not now, in a few years.

I’m going to stop reading this blog, because I feel that while it was interesting to read about this journey through growing up disabled, that now the child is old enough to deserve a little bit of privacy about things like potty training and other sensitive subjects.

Am I alone on this? I more than understand the urge for parents to blog everything—but shouldn’t there be limits? I’m just grateful blogging didn’t exist when I was a baby. Sheesh.

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12 Answers

augustlan's avatar

If it was completely anonymous, I wouldn’t think it would be a problem. However, if everyone knows who the writer is… I have to agree with you, there. I wouldn’t want to expose my childrens’ lives in such detail.

keobooks's avatar

It’s not completely anonymous. She posts her daughters name, the names of her teachers and school, the town that they live in and lots of pictures.

Hmmm.. now that I said all that.. that’s probably not a good idea either.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I agree with you too. It seems wrong to me. I’m very careful about what I will post about my son though so maybe that’s why. I couldn’t imagine actually writing a full blog about my son and all the things that happened while he was growing up.

augustlan's avatar

@keobooks Yeah, that’s way too much exposure for my comfort level. It’s one thing to lay my life bare, but my children should be able to choose for themselves once they’re adults.

Buttonstc's avatar

When I first read the question, I was going to say something along the lines of: “You should stop blogging about your child when they are old enough to read it and raise objections”

But I was assuming something a bit more benign than this. I was thinking more along the lines of an Erma Bombeck type of scenario. I saw an interview with her now-adult children who took it all with a grain of salt but recalled their teen years when they were not so sanguine about it.

But the scenario you present strikes me as being extraordinarily self-centered on her part. I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable with that were it my family.

She doubtless feels it justified on the basis of educational merit and potentially helping others, etc. but that could be just as easily accomplished with an anonymous blog.

I think she should explain her raison d’ĂȘtre to her daughter and give the child the option of deciding whether it’s time to go anonymous by starting another unrelated blog.

My guess is this Mother is just blithely going along with the current societal trend of putting all your business out for public view with shocking disregard for any potential consequences. With all the “reality programming” on TV nowadays, boundary lines keep getting increasingly fuzzier. I’m betting she hasn’t thought to just pause and think this through some more. But that doesn’t make it any less selfish on her part.

Obviously, raising a severely disabled child can be an extremely challenging and lonely road and I’m sure this blog of hers helps to ease some of that.

But when you have kids, it’s no longer all about you and she needs to do some reevaluation here.

I’m not surprised that you felt uncomfortable enough to stop reading her blog. Have you also considered dropping her an email tactfully worded to express these concerns to her?

Perhaps enough feedback from a variety of people may be an impetus for her to do some further thinking about all these issues now that her child is getting older and more aware.

I know that there are disabled/paralyzed folks who have addressed these issues as well as sexual (also private) challenges also in the interests of educating others. But the key point is that they were adults and chose this for themselves. This poor little kid isn’t getting a vote here and I just don’t think that’s right.

Seek's avatar

Well, the first details to cut back on are the home address and phone number. Jaysus.

A blog like that could be a great resource of support and encouragement for other parents going through the same thing, but man, nothing like putting your family at risk.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t get those parents who create a separate blog to write from their infant’s perspective aka ‘oooh, I had two good poopies today…yay!’...I am thinking if you’ve got that much time on your hands, you’re not parenting…but I agree with posters above…this could have been a good idea, if anonymous.

KhiaKarma's avatar

I’m with @Buttonstc on this one….just like you realized the seriousness of the details being posted gradually- she may yet be unaware of the risks. It could be beneficial for her to receive some well-intended, good natured feedback from you. Sometimes things like that start off more cautious (maybe when she began the blog years ago) then as a person feels more secure, more sensitive information may be disclosed- without much thought.

keobooks's avatar

I’m really glad I asked about this. I was considering doing a blog when my daughter is born, mostly as a journal to myself and family members. I was going to be careful about protecting her privacy as she got old enough to be embarassed.

But the more I think about this and tell other people the reality of this blog I read, I think I’ll make darned sure to make my blog private or make all the references anonymous from day one. I never really thought about the fact that talking about your family so much—embarassing the kids is the least of their worries. Any anonymous reader could just look up the personal information in the phone book and show up at their house or try to pick their kid up from school or something.

Gads.. even if someone wasn’t a creepy pedophile, they post when they go on vacation—someone could just break into their house. Man.. Whoda thunk?

I think I will send them something.

Buttonstc's avatar

I think you’ve made a very wise and thoughtful decision.

A blog can still fulfill it’s primary purpose to inform/entertain or whatever with identities anonymized.

I can’t see how a lack of identifying names, locations and such deprives the readers in any way.

And for families and close friends, cluing them in and sending a link gets the job done. To any other strangers reading, they can just enjoy the stories, info without identifying info needed in any way.

tranquilsea's avatar

Personally, I would never blog about my kids. I am on a number of forums where I go for help with the kids and I don’t use any identifiable information beyond their age and sex and that is only provided to help people understand what I need help with.

In todays day and age I would never want information I posted on-line to haunt them at any point in their lives.

ninjacolin's avatar

Interesting issue. The worst thing you could do is fail to forward your concerns over to her for consideration. She may not have thought about it from this perspective before.

It’s interesting because the openness of the internet is what makes it work. It would help if the child’s name and personal details were left off but the activities, trials, successes and what not were preserved. The anecdotes are useful to others going through the same things.

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