A message came across my board recently with a very valid question: Why, as a Lifestyle and Parenting Blogger, don’t I post pictures of my kids on my blog?
Well, I do, just not identifiable pictures. Several of my blog posts feature pictures of them, like This is 4, and 10 Things to Appreciate about Your Child Today. Both of these posts feature pictures of my youngest – but they are done in such a way that you cannot identify her if you were to see her on the street. This issue was one I pondered deeply when I first started this blog, and the decision I made, while a personal one, is about their safety – and mine.
Bloggers by their very nature and profession are more transparent than most. Each post is a glimpse into the lives and actions of another, sometimes even intimate views that reveal more than the blogger intended.
With this in mind, I have crafted personal rules I follow when I blog in an open forum. First, though this site is about my life and my family, I will NOT use their real names, no matter how tempting it may be to confess that I yelled at ‘so & so’ today. This is for their privacy, and for mine.
My daughters are young and as such are unable to give me informed consent to utilize their names and likenesses in my day to day blogging. And while he is more than capable of consenting, I am offering the same consideration and privacy to my husband. My Eldest Daughter will be referred to as Pixie while my Youngest harkens to Sprite. These titles are hard won compromises! Pixie wanted to be ‘Queen Pixie Sparkles’ while Sprite wanted ‘Orange Blossom Super Queen.’ As for my husband? He is Big A.
My pictures mostly consist of stock photography unless I take a photo of a recipe, craft or item to review. My family, no matter how cute, are not featured in these photos unless they are totally unrecognizable. Profile shots in shadow, feet pics, walking away, etc.
A personal choice
This small step is the right choice for my family, though I know many bloggers do not adhere to these same policies. This is in no way a judgment of them or their own comfort levels. Everyone must make their own path in this confusing online world we are living in.
Other Steps You Can Take
Dummies.com has an interesting, if short, article that lays out some common sense precautions that everyone, not just bloggers, should adhere too when posting content online. The most important being:
- Do NOT PERSONAL INFORMATION ONLINE
This may seem like an obvious one, but you would be surprised by how many people view online content as inherently private, when it is, in fact, the complete opposite. Personal information includes SSN’s, addresses, birthdates or places, Mother’s Maiden Name, etc. Not only are these identifiable items, but they are also questions often used to gain credit or as password resets – so don’t share them!
StaySafeOnline.org takes it even further and breaks down the specifics. Some highlights:
- Keep a clean machine!
Programs, sites and browsers are constantly changing, updating and advancing. Make sure you keep your system current with automatic updates and timely virus protection.
- Be Web Wise
Caution is key when it comes to communications from those you don’t know. If an email has a link or attachment you do not recognize, trash it. Simply put, think before you act.
- Be a good online citizen
Take a peek at any comment section and eventually you will run across a ‘troll’ – don’t be that person. There is no need. The Golden Rule applies online just as in life, treat others as you would like others to treat you.
We are all responsible for creating an online environment that encourages growth and community. This includes reporting suspected stolen finances or identities to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
The internet isn’t going away – it’s up to all of us to make it a safer, better place to be. On that note, if you would like to share your own corner of the web with me, leave a link to your blog or site!