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Disclosure: How Much Is Enough? Or Too Much?

When I started blogging back in May of 2005, I used my real name.  Which didn't strike me as odd because I figured that the only people who would ever see my written ramblings would be people I knew and sent the links to ... so blogging as "Kerri Morrone" seemed like a fine thing to do.

But things took a different sort of path, and suddenly Google had a solid grip on my name.  Which, again, was okay with me because I'm making these personal disclosure choices on a case-by-case basis.  So for anyone willing to give Google a go, it's easy to find my photo, some of my health conditions and treatment choices, and that I've married into a new, more challenging name.  There's a lot of information out there that I have chosen to share, for better or for worse. 

What do you disclose on your blog?

In some cases, it's "better" for me to use my real name and share my real experiences because blogging has not only helped me achieve better health, emotionally and physically, in regards to life with type 1 diabetes, but it's helped connect me with you guys, and that has been a game changer.  Blogging has also given me some very special opportunities to help make a difference when it comes to diabetes advocacy, and that has been tremendous in fueling both my own health and my career.  And honestly, having diabetes and talking about it doesn't make me feel shy.  I like sharing my stories, and hearing yours, and connecting with people who really and truly "get it."  I felt alone for way too long.  The impact of blogging on my overall health is something I can't put a value on. 

In other cases, it's "worse" for me to not blog anonymously, because now any potential employer can send a query into Google and see that I have type 1 diabetes.  Would that make them less likely to hire me?  More likely?  No change at all?  Either way, that information about my personal health is out there, and I can't take it back.  And not just health information, but personal information.  Real life information.

Disclosure on a blog isn't just about letting people know about free samples, or advertisements, or sponsorship opportunities.  That stuff is important, on a level of maintaining integrity and letting people know they can trust you to tell the truth, the whole truth, and only add some crap about cats occasionally. 

But I've been thinking about how disclosure will be handled, going forward, when it comes to my daughter.  From the moment I found out she was blooming inside of me, I felt instantly protective of this little biscuit.  Chris and I have talked extensively about how we want to handle our child's identity in regards to our respective projects, and we both agree that she hasn't decided to become part of the Google matrix yet.  So we aren't going to put her there.  This is a decision that we, as a family, have made, but it doesn't mean that it's the right choice for everyone.  There is no "right choice," in my opinion - just varying perspectives and levels of comfort.  (And who know how I'll feel once she's here and her little face is just too chubby-cute not to want to post a photo of.)  It's a lot to think about.

If my daughter decides, when she's older, to have a Facebook page or a blog or whatever is the social networking "thing" to do by that time, she can make that decision for herself.  But I don't want her to Google her own name and find more than she's comfortable with. (... That is the weirdest thought ever, picturing myself talking about blogging with my daughter over like coffee or something.  The thought just made me grin.)  Hopefully she won't object to being called BSparl. 

How do you guys handle disclosure?  Are you comfortable sharing your full name and occupation with people?  What kind of information to you like to keep private, and what do you feel comfortable sharing 100% with anyone who asks?  Have you ever had any regrets about how you've chosen to present yourself online?  For those of you with kids, what helps you decide what to share, and when, and how much of it to share? 

Sorry for all the questions, but as the baby grows daily, so does my protective nature.  And so does my laundry list of questions. 

Comments

You're making the right decision Kerri! There are too many crazy people out there and the last thing you want is an extra anxiety in your life (a google-able daughter!).

Tough call. You know I won't say my kids' names and I won't call out the man either, simply because he didn't ask to be part of the blogosphere. Don't want to make it so easy for people either. I've been cool with pictures, for the most part, but I don't go nuts. I try to keep the focus on me as far as some specifics. It may be harder for you as Chris rises but you can always take a clue from the OTHER celebs and start hunting for saris - and maybe get her some cute heels while you're at it. :-D

I completely understand and agree with your choice to protect your daughter. Regarding her name, I've actually grown attached to BSparl and I would have had a hard time adjusting to a new, real name. =P

I wondered how you were going to handle this when she arrives! For what it's worth, it makes total sense to me and I think it would be what I would do, too, if I were a blogger.

Just curious ~ how do you plan to handle friends & family with regard to tagging photos of BSparl on Facebook? I'm sure your friends with both IRL & DOC peeps.

I ONLY joined Facebook b/c I found out people were posting pics of my wedding without even showing them to me first. I wanted complete control of any photos that would circulate of me, so I joined to sort of monitor that. My husband has a high-level security clearance and joined FB after finding out that people had posted pics of his bachelor party w/o his consent!! (Thankfully, they were 100% tame.)

FWIW...my sister & her friends have a no-tagging policy, where no one is allowed to tag anyone without prior consent. :)

I'm involved in the diabetes community because my young adult son has type 1. I've tried to be very discreet about information I put "out there" because in communicating about type 1 diabetes much of what I'm talking about is his life. He actually has given me free reign to post whatever I want, but I'm not comfortable putting his information out there. It's his decision not mine. I think you and Chris are very wise.

I don't blame you one bit. I also limit the amount of photos I post to my Facebook page and make sure my security levels are set so not everyone can Google me. You have to do what's best for you & your family Mama Bear!

I am a child of the Internet revolution. And thus, I am pretty much as Internet findable as it comes. But I don't post private information and I don't post personal stories about people who didn't give me permission.

I've been "Allison Blass" on Google since I was 15, and I plan on staying that way. I do not plan on changing my name professionally when I get married. Personally, yes, but my blog will stay "By Allison Blass" forever and ever. I am years away from having children, but I imagine that I will post pictures of them and their names. But I won't say where we live, or where they go to school. And I'll post the same family-friendly things that I do now. No postings of fights, or embarrassing moments, no matter how cute. But if I take a trip to Disneyland with my kids, I won't be afraid to post a photo of them with Mickey Mouse.

Part of me thinks I won't be blogging much longer, though. At least not about myself. Sometimes I think blogging is a bit like having a TV show. I have been playing this character for 5 years, so I'm in my prime. But after 7 or 8 years, a lot of actors move on to new projects. Part of me wants to do that too. So we'll see. I'm open to the options out there.

Very interesting and thoughtful post, Kerri. It's personally one that I've grappled with for years, and even more recently had to embrace completely as I've become a more "visible" part of the Diabetes Online Community. As a newspaper journalist, I must be objective and unbiased in my job duties - that means keeping hands off of particular issues and topics that I might otherwise have personal associations with. That's becoming more complex, as I am now meeting and communicating with D-industry businesses and such. Those topics, I have alerted my editor about my blogging and D-Advocacy work and say that I can maintain an unbiased opinion on most items, but if a conflict arises then I'll hand it off to someone else. Don't have the child-issue at the moment, but it's one that it also a concern and we've thought about. Have some friends who won't post anything - name, photos, etc online about their baby daughter. There was also a recent Law & Order episode about this topic, about a parent who posted an innocent bath photo online and it got taken and abused and the parent got charged. Controversial issue, but it all does seem to push us more toward your train of thought. That's parenting.

There are certain things I don't talk about because it's not my story to tell. (i.e. my siblings' lives other than the fact that I have a wonderful nephew and beautiful nieces.) I respect their privacy. And on some level, that's why I'm glad I haven't used my maiden name, even though that would give me anonymity for employment purposes.

I think nicknames are just fine. I've known a couple bloggers who have posted one pic of their newborns, then left the rest to imagination. Or others don't show the faces as they grow.

I understand wanting to keep BSparl's identity private. My last name is not widely known online, but I can be found if you google me. (I know, I tried it). My sign on names are not my exact name, so it keeps it at a minimum. But with facebook and myspace, most of the D community knows my last name anyway. I don't share with people exactly where I live unless I feel I can trust them.
It's not such a big deal for me because not as many people read my blog as read yours, but I can understand wanting to keep the baby safe. (However, so many of us feel like you are our personal friend, it could be terribly hard not to be able to watch her grow.) :) You and Chris are already such good parents that I think you will make the right choice regarding BSparl.
On that note, I have dealt with issues regarding my godson and a paternity issue. I had to go through and make my facebook and myspace completely private except for friends and had to delete a couple of "friends". It's hard to WANT to share my beautiful godson, but not be able to for whatever reason.

Smart. We had a couple very weird moments with our (now 3 yr old) daughter's blog. It is now p/w protected.

Stay healthy.

Matt...infusion confusion

You are absolutely making the right decision. I have a very common name yet always go by KellysBlogs. It gives me some sense of privacy even though I know it's total crap & anyone can find anything on me...or anyone else.
As far as my daughter goes, she was not allowed to have a FB or MS page until I decided it was ok. She was 14. I wrote her name and her antics but nothing more than surface.
The mama bear syndrome will forever remain and that's a good thing. :)

I have always been pretty open and probably have been a little careless in a lot of ways. Luckily I am not really the kind of person anyone would want to stalk because if someone wanted to I am sure it would be easy.

You need to do what is right for you and your family. That is it.

Rachel and Cara - You bring up an EXCELLENT point, and one I totally agree with. I have two beautiful nieces and a handsome devil of a nephew, and while I love all three of them endlessly and want to share their stories as part of my own, I never, ever disclose their names. Or post their photos. Or even post them on Facebook or anything. My brother and his wife, and my sister-in-law and her husband can decide for themselves if they want to leave comments about their kids or post anything that discloses personal information here on SUM, but I wouldn't dare do it for them. Not my kids. Not my place to share. (Even though they are three of the coolest kids ever and I am proud of them.)

Lindsay - Facebook - blargh. I have a love/hate with it re: photos. Recently, I removed all of my family members from my Facebook account and opened a personal one for family only. And my family and friends are terrific and very respectful of our decision to keep BSparl's identity as offline as possible. So I'm not too worried about people posting pictures of her, especially since I've asked that they refrain from doing that. :)

It's just a lot to think about, and even though I feel paranoid as hell for even posting about it, it's part of what comes with being a parent in the age o' the Internet. I guess. :)

George - You are so not careless. Not even a little bit. You are a protective and EXCELLENT dad, and I hope Chris and I are able to do as right by our daughter as you've done by your two kiddos. Your kids are also a lot older than my fetus child :) and they are able to make decisions for themselves. I'm more concerned with making decisions for BSparl before she's even out of diapers.

But you know Chris and his career goals. And you know my luck - this kid will want to be in her father's movies. And then? My brain will EXPLODE!!!

This is a very tough thing. Personally, I would keep the BSparl. It is what your readers have come to know. In my case, I also did not think that life would take me on the path that I did and did not worry too much about my son's photo or name. We were in the national news media and at the time he was fine with that. Now that he is entering his teens, he is not so fine with that. Finding himself on google is not something he always enjoys so now I really try to limit my use of his name or his pictures. I never tag my children on places like FB and make sure that he approves any pics posted on blogs or on the site. I still make sure that the photos are not linked to his name. I chose this world but as someone else noted, he didn't. Good luck!!

I completely agree with yours and Chris' decision. You do need to keep her safe, and when the time comes, let her be who she wants to be in reference to the cyber world. (Within reason, of course)
As for me, I've grown quite attached to "BSparl" as your baby's name. It would completely mess with my head to have to refer to her otherwise now.

i think it's so great that you're thinking ahead on this. i've always felt uncomfortable w/giving too much info about my kids, pictures included. there are just way too many bizarre possibilities out there. i know of one family who's child's pic was taken and used on some site w/false info and weird stuff. it's a very fine line and frustrating sometimes...because, like you stated, putting it all out there is a great way to connect w/doc peeps...hmmm...now my brain will be thinking about this way too much today :)

My husband and I have different last names. When my students ask his name, I always say his last name is "Smith". Not that I'm ashamed of him, mind you, but I figure he didn't ask to be a public figure and so I make it impossible for them to find him.

I'm with everyone else on this: I use my maiden name for all my writing and blogging, and only refer to my children and husband with initials... Like someone says, they didn't ask to be part of my public persona, although I write mostly about our family...

I do have a conundrum coming up though: an article in a magazine specifically about my family and my son's diabetes. With photos. A little confused about this. My instinct is not to give their last names still, though I guess I may use their names? Not sure. Need to decide soon...

Thanks for bringing this up though. It's been a concern of mine for years, well before diabetes...

When I first joined twitter and the DOC, I talked about these same questions with my son. We talked about what he was comfortable with. I decided to never use his name or photos online. I also won't allow him on facebook yet, so I figure if I won't allow that, I shouldn't be putting his name and face online. Everyone handles these issues differently. I can tell you most of his 7th grade class is on facebook. In my opinion, he's not missing out on "social media". I think he gets enough of that from XBOX Live :)
I've tried to handle my few brief blog updates my writing from my perspective as a mom and leaving out too much that he would consider to be his feelings. I also worry like you about future employers...in this case for him:) even though that is years away...

There are significant aspects of my health situation that I'm choosing not to address on my young blog. And.now I'm wondering if I should make a disclosure to that effect.

I worry about this everyday and it is a question I grappled with from the very beginning of setting up without envy. Because it is very personal, I go to great lengths to not use our last name, our home town, or the area in which we live. I am sure though in today's age, if someone wanted to find us they could (it is very hard to cover all those various tracks), but I am less worried of finding a stranger standing at my front door than I am the fact of our daughter's (and the other kids') privacy, especially as they turn older. Some things, of course, will be off limits, then and now, and it's probable that eventually Without Envy will be hers to decide what to do with. If and when that time comes I'll trust her in whatever her decision, as I would any of my children.

All that being said, I may or may not have a totally different opinion about this if I had a different occupation. But when a writer is born into a family, it has been said many times, the family is doomed. I hope that's not the case and do believe that something good will come of this experience, for me, my family, and especially for my daughter.


This is a tricky one for me as well and I have also been thinking a TON about it! When I started blogging, I didn't want anyone to know who I was, mainly because I was trying to recover from my struggles with diabulemia, something I was not and am not proud of. I did not want people who knew me in person to know how weak I was and how much I was really hurting inside, especially employers, family and even my in-laws. I didn't want to be the topic of gossip and sideways looks, and well, I need a safe place to talk about all the hard things I was going through. I liked being anonymous and I NEEDED it to get to where I am now.

Now that that struggle is over, I still want to maintain some privacy since my story is still all online. It was very hard for me to begin to associate my real name with who I was online, but I had met so many people and I wanted them to know the "real" me, too, not some girl who was hiding behind her secrets... One of my main goals in telling my story was also to help othes who were going through the same thing, and I couldn't hide from the people who had reached out to me... so I started to come out more, but I am still very hesitant to have my diabetes friends as facebook friends, etc. because of that.

NOW, almost three weeks away from meeting my precious girl, I don't want her to know about those struggles either... unless I have to pull them out to help her through her own (God absolutely forbid!!!!). I want her to see her Mommy as confident, and proud, and strong... but human, too. I'm afraid if she knows what I did in my past, it will somehow be permission for her to neglect her own health, and consequently her happiness. Mine is a story I wish I didn't have to share with others, especially her... I don't know what I am going to do quite yet, but the whole situation is a difficult one!

That sounds like a hard decision to make. Sad for us that we won't be able to see pictures of your cute baby, but I understand where you are coming from.

I couldn't bring myself to put my real name on my blog. Not sure why!

I'm right there with you. I choose not to talk about my daughter in my blogging. If she decides that she wants to be on the internet, that's her choice not mine.

Personally I feel that she can make her own decisions when the timing is right. Also, it's a safety concern. I don't want her floating around on the internet for all to see.

On that note, I did allow us to be photographed and I shared her birth story for a diabetes magazine that has a high circulation. But I figured that was a little different in that she wouldn't be found on there if someone googled her.

I will tell you that some people won't be happy if you don't share. I get messages from people all the time asking (even demanding) to see pictures of my daughter on Facebook and Diabetes Daily. I simply tell them that I'm not comfortable putting her out there like that.

She's your daughter and as your parent, you get to make the choices to what's best in her life. I think that you're making the right choice in this.

I remember when Kelsey was younger and we had funny shot of her in the tub with a buble hat on, Mike photoshopped a bathing suit on her. I think you have to be safe with what you share and what you don't. My kids are proud that they are diabetic (not that they would have chosen it, don't get me wrong but they wear it like a badge of honor now) and it doesn't make sense to hide it (especially from employers), however that doesn't mean I share the day to day highs or lows (I mean of life, not blood sugar). When I discuss certain things about them they know it and have agreed to it and it's usually for the purpose of someone learning from it. It's just like anything else in your life. You have to approach it with confidence, caution and the understanding that not everyone will agree.

I write as a parent of kids with diabetes. I don’t have diabetes but it sure lives in our house. So it is impossible to write without the kids being part of the deal because they make me a parent. To write about my observations on a family with type 1 kind of requires family members with it.

I try to write about the parenting bit and not the kids. I write about my goofy mindset not their current state of health.

It isn’t full disclosure. I do share their successes sometimes and just about never share setbacks. When I do write about shortcomings I try to write about mine. I got plenty.

I try to write in I statements. How I can be a better player in my shared responsibilities of diabetes care. What I have learned. What I find fascinating in the news. What I find funny.

I try real hard not to write the word you. As in you should do this or that. Considering the title of the page is Your Diabetes May Vary, I clearly fall short on the ‘I not you’ goal.

I try not to write about cats. They get enough press.

I do try to write the word Ya, as in Love Ya/Mean It

I’m getting better at that last bit.

I think about that a lot actually. For the longest time, I withdrew myself from the online world: deleting Myspace, Facebook, Linkedin, etc. When I decided to start my blog I kept it totally private and didn't even put my last name on it. After months of debating, I went totally public, last name and all. I figured my advocacy would be more effective if I could reach more people and network a little better. If a potential employer doesn't hire me b/c I am dedicated to supporting diabetes, then I don't want to be working for them anyway. But I have the internal debate a lot... still. =)

I'm fascinated by the number of people who've commented already and said they, too, are at least semi-anonymous in their blogs, and how few have admitted to letting it all hang out.

I use my real name, and my family and friends' real names, and post pictures of my kids. I've been burned a couple of times by not being anonymous, but not in any way that would affect the safety of myself or anyone I know -- mostly just through simple embarrassment.

My policy is to tell no stories that I wouldn't mind repeating to my parents or my boss, and to post no pictures of the kids (or anyone else) showing any private parts, no matter how innocently (e.g., I posted a bath pic of my son when he was 1, but the edge of the tub blocks everything below his waist). I won't say I don't tell embarrassing stories about the kids, because heck, those are the FUNNY ones. But I do use my own internal litmus test in the matter: which stories from my youth do I find amusing or at least bearable, and which ones still make me boil?

I appreciate that you're choosing to allow your daughter to choose for herself what sort of internet presence she is going to have. (Especially since so many children in her generation will not have that luxury.)

I think internet anonymity is important. As a graduate student in the sciences, I am confident that my future employer will google my name to see what sort of research I have published and it would not be good if the first 5 line items were completely science-unrelated. To prevent that, I use my first name and a playful pseudonym.

I also have code names for the important people in my life. This way, they know when they're being talked about but to the rest of the world they are just the Biochemist, or the Teacher, or My Favorite-Four-Year-Old. I feel that people deserve the right to regulate what's being said about them on the internet, good or bad. (On one hand, it's nice to know that what I'm reading is coming from a real person, but at the same time, I can trust what you're saying without knowing your social security number...)

Maybe you should give your little girl a nickname like you have for NurseBestFriend (NBF), or BSparl at the moment. Curiousity will kill me about not knowing what you actually name your little girl, but I will get over it :) I'm sure you will think of something clever!

Releasing NO info is a good thing. I have more than one blog. The one with health info is anonymous. I mention my kids, but no names or photos, and only general info about location.

I agree about not putting info out there for the whole world to see, and have a separate blog (not googleable) for sharing kid pix with family and friends. If I find that people are sharing the link with those who shouldn't have it, I'll close that blog.

I completely admire and respect your decision to keep BSparl off of the internet. Like you say, until she is old enough to decide for herself that she want to share things on-line, I think keeping her off-line is smart.

As for myself, I started my on-line "life" with my knitting blog. And from what I've found, knit-bloggers are less likely to use their full names than diabetes bloggers are. When I first discovered the D-OC, it kind of surprised me how many bloggers use their full names. I've chosen to continue to just be "Karen" with no last name - although I suppose it can be found if someone tried hard enough. I've also worked hard to keep my home-town private. When I started my knitting blog, I only called my husband "SweetPea" or "Pea" - but that one got relaxed quite a long time ago. Neither of us has a problem with me using his real name on either of my blogs anymore.

Call me crazy, or OCD when it comes to identity issues, but I kindof freak out about it. We started blogging after our children were born so it's a little different situation for us. We don't give out our last names because it is a very, very uncommon last name and is easily traceable. My husband didn't want his last name posted either for the employer perspective being the male head of our house and having T1 diabetes. Understandable. We never post our children's names, and only give rough estimate ages. And when we take and post pictures, you never see their faces. It has made for some interesting and sometimes mean comments. But where we've never met half the people commenting, we'd rather have our family protected and safe. I also do regular TV and public appearances, and my children haven't chosen to go into the lifestyle that I have. Therefore, when they are old enough I am more than welcome to allow them to make that choice. Until then, it's my choice and obligation to make sure that they stay safe. Sorry if I freaked you out. Like I said, OCD here.

A year ago I would roll my eyes at the very idea of hiding my child from the internet. I have nothing to hide, etc etc..

But this past year I've had somewhat of a STALKER and she posted to her twitter pics of my lil girl in the bathtub, their names, our home address (not public!!!), the city we live in, pictures of me, info about me, stabs at my son for having a form of autism, it NEVER ENDS. I've had to make so much private and delete so many things because of this one person. I even had to close my youtube account.

So with all that in mind, I say it's ok to share your daughter but be protective like it sounds you are already doing. I honestly didn't think there would ever be a problem. I've blogged about my kids since I was pregnant with them. I don't advertise and I don't allow the links to go to google.. yet, somehow this crazy lady found them. I'm sure nothing will happen, but I feel like I've been VIOLATED to the extreme.

Share some photos, maybe even a first name but anything more I would advise you to keep behind a PASSWORD!!!!

I struggle with this, but really don't obsess about it. I weigh my risk in it all and frankly, I should be more worried to cross the street than post pictures of myself and my kiddos online. I should be worried about the sexual predator that lives within 3 miles of my home moreso than the one online. Not to make light of it, but is it more than we think it is? I don't profess to have the answer, I'm just the question-asker.

I started blogging to give a face to a young T1 diabetic and the challenges of being her mom. I show her face on my blog. You will find her name there. If you truly, truly wanted to, you could find us I guess. We are all amateurs at this. I'll bet that some hired hand could find each one of us that thinks somehow we are 'hiding out' here on the 'net. Is it scary? I guess so. I just think that it all needs to be weighed against other things we do each and every day that are far, far, far riskier.

I applaud you Kerri for making the decision that is right for your family. That is great. Maybe one day I will change my mind about it all, when she is a teenager and doesn't want her picture out there, or me to talk about certain things. All of life requires change and I see this grand blogging experiment as no different.

And as far as I'm concerned, her name is BSparl. Who needs something better than that???? :0)

We are just three weeks into being diagnosed with diabetes. My 8yo daughter was diagnosed with type I. I really want to share what we have learned and offload some of my thoughts so I started a blog. I don't want my desire to blog to affect my daughter so the furthest I will go is using first names. I may even use an alias.

I completely agree with Penny. I think my opinion is influenced by the fact that I met my husband (and some of my best friends) at a couple of internet communities. The people there know us on and offline, and as such have access to personal details like our names and addresses. We trust those people, but since the communities are internet-based there's no way the information isn't out there. That said, I try to avoid splashing my son's full name hither and yon. I think it's a nice gesture for you to consider BSparl's future Google-ability...seems like we all end up on here sooner or later, and if you'd rather have it be later I respect your decision. (I have to admit I'm the teensiest bit disappointed for selfish reasons...I love finding out what names parents have picked for their children! :D)

Great questions, Kerri. Our two older girls (10 and 12) are now on the Internet under their own names. We figure this is the world they're born into -- no fighting it. But we are careful that they don't "friend" anyone they don't know in real life.

I was going to post a comment here... but then the comment got too long, so it turned into a post.

Hope this helps, amiga:
http://bit.ly/9pLPLm

Interesting topic. When I first started my blog nobody except family and friend who knew me IRL even looked at my blog. And then about 6 months aftar starting it, Syd was dx. Then my blog started to take a different spin...I was blogging about how it is to parent a young child w/ T1.

I have chosen not to use our last name. Or where we live. As for pictures, I post them. I think it is a very personal decision for you. You will make the decision that's best for you guys.

For selfish reasons, I love your blog and getting to know you and your sweet family, I will miss not seeing pics of Bsparl but I am glad she has such a great mommy and daddy looking out for her.

That being said, whenever I have posted pics of OTHER people I always get their permission. If it is someone who doesn't use their names on blogs, I don't on mine either. It is a personal decision.
Good luck!

Shamae - I do what you do, in asking for permission from friends before I post their pics. Same logic. :)

And I plan to share a photo of little BSparl once she escapes, but after that? Most likely not. I want to share her with the world - she's what I am most proud of in this world! But in reality, I want her safe and sound and as much out of harm's way as I can manage.

I have been blogging about Riley's diabetes for 4 1/2 years now. I have never disclosed where I live (other than North Carolina) and I've never shared my last name on my blog. I'm careful not to share the name of Riley's school or any of his friend's names. I'm careful to photoshop any pictures that show landmarks too. I know this doesn't help you since your name is already out there. But, that is how I've handled it.

Hi Kerry, I think you're absolutely right! Althougt we'd love to meet little Miss BSparl, I think your concerns are completely valid and understandable. Besides, she'll always be BSparl for SUM fans :)

Brava!
As a transsexual, I am very glad my parents never put anything about me online.
And as a teacher, I try not to put my last name anywhere.

Very interesting question, and great to see all of the discussion it generated. I think you are 100% right that privacy issues are, by their nature, very personal, and ones that we would all like to feel as though we have control over (thought that is less and less the case). I think maintaining the privacy of your child, or, more importantly, establishing that it's a decision you want her to make for herself, is something that you will never regret, and which she will someday appreciate.

From the child's perspective, I think you made the right decision. I was once surprised to find an article my mom wrote about how Gilmore Girls brought us closer together when I was trying to google the time for the next episode. I really disagreed with the way she portrayed our relationship in the article. We discussed it and reached the agreement that she could write whatever she wanted, but that I deserved advance warning.

Hi,
My daughter and I will miss seeing pics of BSparl, but, of course, I understand.
How about GSparl after she's born?

Neither my DH or i are as "famous" as BSparl's parents, but DH does work in the web development world and we took this issue very seriously as well. We have a picture website up of our daughter because we live far from immediate family, but the site is not google-able and can only be accessed by direct link that we give out. I refuse to be paranoid, but i don't throw caution to the wind either. We each need to figure out what we're most comfortable with.

I understand the quandry... in many ways, it would have been so easy to have separately completely online identites for STARFLEET/fandom and everything-else. Or SF/F, DOC, job/career, and everything-else. The problem quickly develops that you need to keep straight which identity knows what, and which identity reveals what, and where. I had to do this to survive IRL a bit over 20 years ago, and it became very stressful, very quickly. Then there's the issue when opportunities arise that do not allow for a Web pseudonym, and suddenly one of those "separate" identities is collapsed into one's real identity.

As far as kids are concerned, having a no-Web-exposure policy is best. With all the pedophiles, stalkers, and identity thieves in this world, it's best to keep all images behind secure, passworded firewalls, set up to avoid copying and printing.

I use aliases for my kids and husband online. People know my first name but most don't know my last - it's too easy to find me if I put it out there. As Major Bedhead, I'm all over the place but with my real name, not quite as much. I don't link to my blog from my Facebook or LinkedIn pages because I don't really want those two worlds to collide all that much.

I rarely post pictures of my kids, especially O, online these days. I have them on my blog but not that many. I'm sure people could find me with a little digging - I'm just trying to keep myself relatively anonymous.

I'd recommend anonymity. You can always drop that later if it doesn't fit.

I made a decision a long time ago, before the Web, not to be anon on the Internet. I can't say I've regretted it, and it certainly simplifies matters.

You just have to be careful what you say, especially regarding your children. You mustn't violate their privacy.

As for me... Google auto-completes my name after "Zoe Br" so hiding anything is impossible at this stage, even if I wanted to.

I think I thought of a good happy medium! Share the name or don't, I think we'll accept it if you don't want to share.

How about this? You post updates about her with a few photos once in awhile. Maybe every few months? I know I'm so curious about her and I am sure others are too!

Reading these comments made me think of another issue where when my son was only 2 someone took his pictures and posted that he was their son on a website! I know it's really harmless but I did feel violated.

Any photos you do post, please TAG them with an email or URL so if someone sees them elsewhere they can contact you about it.

I don't think the 'net is as unsafe as people think it is. Your kid is more likely to be harmed by someone they know in real life or at the mall, playground, etc. It's the not knowing that is hard to deal with.

I do share everything on facebook but I know every person on my list very well and WANT to share with them. I will still do the blogs but keep them password protected so not just anyone can view them.

I'm going to say what I think everyone thought at least once: "What?? We don't get to see at least one picture of the baby!!?!" ;) OK now that that's off my chest... do what you feel comfortable doing! My writing focus has obviously been parenting with diabetes, and so my blogging naturally mentions the kids. I did recently archive a bunch of the non-diabetes posts and now that the boys are older, I'm more aware of what I 'report'. But for the most part I'm comfortable with my 'disclosure', and you should always be certain that you are with yours.

Kerri, I think you reaffirmed what a wonderful mother you are with this decision. I also like the name BSparl. I know you will be able to keep us updated without betraying this decision. Great Mommying!

In my own homeschool blog-sphere circle, we all generally post pix of the kids and family (and cats), but use pseudonyms for everyone, including adults, friends and neighbors. Our location is limited to City and State, and I'm careful not to post anything someone might be embarassed about, now or in the future. You're asking all the right questions, mom :) - Mo

I know I'm jumping in a little late... tax season has me behind in everything.

I totally agree with you, that you need to make the best decision for you as a family.

I love the "GSparl" idea... then we know you who are referencing... and if you absolutely feel the need to post a pic of the cute-ness... maybe a very close up pic of that cute cheek, or curly hair is all that needs to be in the photo.. not an entire baby shot - but an extreme close-up?! Just an idea.

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