This is one of those hotly debated topics… Do I put my kids online or keep them offline?
When I started my blog in 2011, one of things I was a bit hesitant about including was personal information such as names and faces in photos on my blog.
But how do you start a parent blog without these crucial pieces of the puzzle?
A parent blog with no names and no photos of my kids faces. That was going to be tricky to work out.
Some people were open with their children’s name from the start and then I noticed more and more people were beginning to reveal their kids names. I ummed and ahhed a lot with this decision, but eventually I stopped referencing Elliot and Tobias as ‘Beastie’ and ‘Baby Beastie’ and started introducing their names.
This was partly because I felt the names were very babyish and they couldn’t grow with them, as well as the fact that Georgie was soon to be born and I simply had no idea what her blog alias would be! I’d also begun to hate writing these names and actually felt myself annoyed when I read other people’s code names too.
I also thought that if their friends were to see any content of them here on my blog or on my social media that it’ll be mortifiying for them to be knowns as the Beasties.
With all the worry of online bullying, data collection and being scrutinised by the people who read my blog, these were big concerns when I first started out. I expected to receive a few comments from people saying ‘but what if your children don’t want to be online, where is the respect of their privacy?’.
To some extent I agree with those thoughts, but everything we have done through blogging and creating content has been in large part for the kids.
If we are doing anything and they say they’re not in the mood or don’t want to be photographed we respect that and don’t include them.. But another day comes and they actually want their photo taken or to be in video.
They also understand for some things we have done, e.g. filming for TUI in the Dominican Republic, that they were the reason we were there. Our brief was to record content of a real family enjoying a real holiday, not a model family in set up shots.
So without their blessing we couldn’t have gone ahead with that job
We are obviously very careful about the types of content we post, we would never reveal the all important bits of information such as addresses, school names and things like that. But what’s the harm in having them online. After all, Alex and myself choose to have an online presence and we choose to include the biggest parts of our lives.
We don’t post anything that could be interpreted in a way that could be controversial or taken the wrong way.
Posting online means we choose what to share. We choose to post mainly the positives or the important life moments, that’s our choice. Some will choose to share the good, the bad and the ugly. Whatever your choice, its something you have to be comfortable doing and for us, we share as much as we are comfortable doing, and as much as the kids are happy with.
What started out as posting to our private Facebook pages for family and friends, soon expanded to a wider audience through blogging.
As our kids get older the pressures of letting them online grows with each day. Obviously we understand the online world a bit better than they do and know the dangers of what it can bring.
A large part comes down to peer pressure and not wanting them to feel left out. Some of Elliot’s classmates already have Facebook and Instagram so when we get asked if he can have the same, it always goes the same way ‘but you have Facebook and Instagram so why can’t I?’.
The truth is, he is too young, and I have known friends kids who have had some extremely bad times with online bullying when they let their children have access to social media too young.
So for now, we choose to include them in our social media and have them online through our outlets. This way we choose what we share about them and what we keep to ourselves.
Eventually we won’t be in control of their digital footprint or what they might put on social media, so while we still have the ability to do so, it is what we will continue to do.