Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The dangers of mommy blogging -- and writing about your kids on Facebook

I have never been comfortable with the idea -- or reality -- of "mommy [or daddy] blogging," that is women (and men) who blog about their children. While their descriptions of domestic life and/or their children may be cute and/or amusing (and often are) -- and mommy bloggers generate oodles of traffic and advertising -- it's exploitative, and even dangerous when the parent reveals his or her children's names and where they live.

Another major issue with mommy blogging is it often violates the child's privacy.

That's why, despite many of my friends repeatedly telling me I should become a mommy blogger, I haven't done so. (Well that and the fact that I prefer writing about just about everything -- sports, politics, pop culture, Spanx for men -- besides my family.)

Though, I admit, I have on occasion wandered into mommy blogger territory. But I have always been careful not to reveal my daughter's name or where we live or, until recently, her age and what she looks like -- and have only done so with her permission. Except for my last entry. Which my daughter happened upon last night. After I had retired. And apparently it greatly upset her. Which is why I am writing this post.

Too often, in this era of blogging and Facebook and instant communication, we moms and dads forget about our children's right to privacy (and feelings) when blogging or posting on social media sites -- and I want you to know it can come back to bite you. Big time.

More importantly, though, I am writing (wrote) this post as a form of apology to my daughter.

Daughter, if you are reading this (and I know you are, because I emailed you a link), I want you to know that I feel AWFUL about hurting your feelings, especially as that was not my intent. I love you, and have spent 12 years making sure you knew you were loved and appreciated and felt secure. And I would hate to think I blew all that with a silly blog post (which was intended to amuse not hurt).

So daughter, I apologize to you. And I promise I will not write about you again -- on this blog or on Facebook -- without your permission.

But you're still not getting an iPhone or a BlackBerry for Hanukkah.


Sugar Daze said...

So I had to come and see what all the hubbub was about. I first thought someone had done something terrible to J3-O (meaning like you had a stalker) so in comparison, what transpired really isn't that bad.

I do agree it's hard to draw the line when you are blogging about what to say and what not to. There are times when I am tempted to spill the beans on the most personal of matters and I think it takes something like this to give you a wake-up. My husband is adamant about me never writing about him online -- he doesn't even have a facebook account because he doesn't want other people knowing his business. We have had a few run-ins on this when I let my lips loose online and it got back to him (nothing controversial, he just really meant it when he said he doesn't want me talking about him).

A few months back someone I follow on twitter was talking about just having the best sex of their life ever with their husband and that to me was way too much info!

I hope J3-O has accepted your apology. Thanks for reminding us all to remember those boundaries!

J. said...

@Sugar Daze, formerly known as the Paris-based cupcake artist Little Miss Cupcake, thanks for the comment. And yes, it could have been so much worse (though the day is still young). You also reminded me that I neglected to mention in the post that years ago, before I started this blog, I had read an article about pedophiles who found children through indiscreet mommy bloggers. So the danger really does exist.

Kendor said...

I don't know where we will be in 20 years, and perhaps we swing back in the other direction regarding discretion. IMHO we've all gone way too public...

While I'm not quite as private as Sugar Daze's hubbie, I do understand where he's coming from. And I do understand where J30 is coming from too. Regardless of whether Mom was being tongue-in-cheek, she didn't like being the brunt of it publicly.

J. said...

Wanted to share an excerpt from a note an old, dear friend of ours just sent me:

"I can appreciate that [J-THREE-O] has feelings and rights to privacy. Totally get that. However, I also hope [she] can see that your blog post was a way for you to blow off steam after her behavior made you feel stressed out and held hostage (that’s an adult variation of “hurt feelings”). This is a two-way street.... Your behavior can hurt her feelings, and her behavior can hurt yours. Just so as she realizes that."


Charlene said...

Your post is excellent.

I use Facebook in a limited way and if I have something I don't want published in the local daily newspaper, I sent a private message to the friend.

As to the characters mentioned in m blog, they are all made up names. My real life friends know which character is which real person in my life, and that's ok, because with my real life friends there is trust.

I don't think anyone should publish real pictures of their children, friends, especially woth real names. Having been personally stalked with death threats at one time in my life, it's TMI.

J. said...

@Charlene, many thanks for your kind words, insight, and advice -- though I am horrified to learn you were the subject of death threats! How awful.

As you probably know, I also don't print the names of friends, only their first initial or their blogger/blog name, and check with them before even doing that, for similar reasons.

Btw, J-THREE-O has yet to confront me -- and actually gave me a hug and a kiss and chatted me up when she got off the bus this afternoon. Though I am sure I will get an earful over dinner, or else when she checks her email this evening.

Stay tuned...

larissa said...

It seems to be true
So much communication
Are we overboard?

Ange said...

I absolutely agree with you. That's why I have such stupid made-up names for my friends and family. I try to be cautious with photos too, which explains why they look like something Nana took on her polaroid instamatic (minus the thumb).

Well said!