First, the inevitable update: baby is not yet born. Baby is now officially late. Baby is making me INSANE. But all is well, no signs of any distress, and s/he will either get here before July 7 of her own volition or be forced out on that date.

But that's not what this post is about. Rather, it's a warning or update or something. At the request of Buzzy's other parent, his/her picture will not be shared on this blog. Neither will his/her name. This isn't something I'd previously considered, but M feels strongly about preserving this baby's Internet privacy, to the degree that's possible, and having identifying information shared on Mama's very public blog isn't gonna do that.

I am of mixed emotions about it. On one hand, I want to tell you all about this amazing journey that we're going to be going on, and I feel a little bit hamstrung about doing that without a name and a face to go along with it. But M's point is a good one--when I made the decision to be public online, to use my real name and not a pseudonym, that was a decision that, as an adult, have a right to make. It's not the same one M would make (he's pretty well anonymous online, other than the places where I've outed him), and it's not one that I really have a right to foist on our kid, either. So, for the purposes of WINOW, Buzzy will remain Buzzy. I will tell you what sex s/he turns out to be, but that's probably all of the information you're going to get.

This discussion with M brought up a lot of larger issues that I probably haven't given as much thought to as I ought. What is the reasonable expectation of Internet privacy for a baby? A child? How much does one parent have a right to expect from the other, if one of them is a public online person, like me, and the other a private one, like M? This is, I guess, the first real parenting disagreement we've had, and it's an interesting one to start with. Once it became clear we were starting from really different places (I really didn't, and still don't, see the harm in sharing a name and picture--it's embarrassing stories where I draw the line), M and I hashed out the rules for every online forum in which I participate. Due to the public and searchable nature of it, things will be the least open here on WINOW. It would be M's preference for me not to discuss Buzzy here at all, even with a fake name and no picture, but I didn't think that was very reasonable. The no-name, no-photo thing is, I guess, our first parenting compromise.

Tell me about your experiences with this, readers who have kids? Did you and your partner have to negotiate about it, or were you on the same page to begin with? Are you happy with how you've done things, or would you do it differently if you had it to do over again?

7 Comments

I'm with you. I'm more of an open book online, and my husband is very private. I guess I didn't really ask if I could post pictures and call our daughter by name on my blog...I just do it, and it hasn't been an issue with him yet that I know of. Probably would've been a good thing to ask him about a year and a half ago... I do know he's very anti-nakey baby pictures, which I think are the cutest things ever, but I kind of understand his point on that.

I'm pretty lax when it comes to internet security for my girl, I guess. I share her name freely, and pictures, on Facebook, my now-defunct blog, and the board. Never naked pics, rarely even bathing suit shots. I don't think I've shared a horribly embarrassing story about her, well, because she hasn't had any. I just honestly don't see the harm, short of worrying someone is going to suss out where we live and kidnap/harm my child. That's just so low on the probability scale it rarely rates a thought. My husband is pretty internet private - uses pseudonyms and rarely touches FB, but he doesn't mind me sharing pictures and stories about our girl. He trusts I will keep it reasonable. So, it's not an issue with us, right now. I'm sure as Aislinn grows older, I'll not share our heart -to- hearts, or her health/puberty/boys/girls/relationships. That's her story to tell. Right now? It's still a large part of my story, and I trust that I am doing okay with that.

I have three children and have been blogging since my oldest was 3.5 (he's nearly 10). JP and SG have always been JP and SG. I can think of one post where a photo showing their faces appeared. Having said that, it would be hard for a stranger (re: reader) to pick my older kids out of a line-up.

I posted photos of my youngest, XC, on my old blog until he was 6-months old and then stopped. Since then that blog has gone private so there's no pictures floating around the internet. My reasons are similar to M's, with a dash of paranoia. I don't want to enable a stranger to approach any of my children under the guise of actually knowing them. My kids don't wear their names on anything, their luggage tags are their initials with their photo, nothing they own is personalized. It's a safety thing.

It's also a privacy thing. I blog pretty openly about my struggles being mom to a kid on the spectrum and I do want that to come back and bite JP someday, you know?

But, I think one picture of the baby with his/her initials and birth stats is okay.

I don't have a kid or plan to, but since online search is sort of my professional field, the idea that people think they can be anonymous online (or want to be) is sort of insane to me.

Because of what you said about your SO (and knowing his name) it took me all of 10 seconds to find info about him on the internet, including where he works, photos of him at work, his recent publications, his last three addresses and how many bedrooms were in each of them, what they sold for, the names of his family members, etc. If I wanted to put $20 or so to the cause, I could get his financial history, what magazines he subscribes to, and how much he makes. This is not because he put anything on the internet, but because the reality is that if you participate in American society, pay taxes, have property, etc. there is info about you on the internet.

I think in the future people will be much less worried about it because everyone's info will be on the internet. personally, I would shy away from anything partially clothed, because EW WEIRDO PEDOPHILES.

Wow, this is timely. My husband and I just had a full and frank exchange of views on this subject. He feels that I am way too open about our life and our child's life on the internet. Honestly, Facebook is the only place I do this stuff now, but his argument is that Facebook is not safe either. I just went and deleted a bunch of stuff at his request. I'm not too pleased, but I guess one has to respect one's spouse's wishes.

@Jenny, I don't think anyone who understands the internet and modern civilization believes they can be completely anonymous. But there's a difference between "anyone can find out who you are if they work hard enough" and "I am broadcasting information about this person's life who cannot give informed consent."

I would prefer to have permission to post photos of my child on my blog, but his father doesn't want that. I can occasionally get permission to post a photo that doesn't show his face. It makes me sad sometimes, but it's not like I can take it back 10 years later if Boy Detective decides I did him wrong.

Thanks so much for posting about this. This topic is something that many people don't talk about, and some don't even consider. I really appreciate your thoughtful post.

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