Parenting Choices: How Much Do You Share Online?

Today, Ashlen and I are discussing our differing opinions on sharing our kids’ names and faces on our blog, social media, etc.

Like so many parenting topics, there is a lot of passion and emotions involved in the topic of online exposure. There are a few big issues that are important to me. Other than the “biggies”, i’m more of a “you do you” kinda person. For example, all of our leftover food containers are glass because I worry about microwaving plastics. But if you’re all about rubbermaid or tupperware, that’s fine! You make the decisions that are best for you and your family and I make the best for me and mine. While Ashlen and I may not fully agree on this (or other) topics, we agree 100% that the we are both making the best choice for their family.

Lauren’s View:

In my previous posts about my insanely awesome bonus-daughter, I haven’t shared her name or face. Don’t get me wrong, she has a super cute face! But I’ve chosen not to identify her on the blog by blurring, obscuring, and/or cropping out her face from the photos I’ve shared. Sure, it wouldn’t quite take CSI-level sleuthing to figure out her identity, but our blog’s Terms of Use hopefully discourages people from sharing our photos to other platforms. I’d like to take this time to share why I’m not sharing her identity on the blog:

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka-Parenting Choices- How Much Do You Share Online

  • She’s sixteen. Remember when you were sixteen? Not exactly the easiest of the teenage years. I’m just grateful social media wasn’t around when I was in high school!  Her peers could easily find the blog, read posts about our personal trips, etc.  How awkward could it be if her classmates or teachers tried to chat up about the specific snacks we had on our road trip last spring break?
  • Hopefully she’ll have a summer job this year, and as you may know, many employers analyze your social media profiles before they decide to hire you. Her social media presence should probably reflect her, not her wicked stepmother.
  • Stranger Danger. One of my secret talents is to worry about EVERYTHING. As in, setting our home alarm with panic button, iPhone’s Find My Friend’s activated, etc.  If sharing her identity welcomed any unwanted attention from some crazy person, it would be really hard to remove her presence online. Ya know?
  • I’m not her mom, but I love this kid like crazy. I have known her since she was six, but if her mom wants to blog using her identity all day and night, that’s between she and her parents.

Would my opinion change if I had a child of my own? Hard to say. I LOVE seeing photos of Ashlen’s crew adventures but totally respect a close friend who has zero photos of their son online. Would I use a nickname? Choose not to show their face? or maybe show their face for the first few years until grade school? I can’t seem to put myself in that mindset.  IF that were to happen, I think my husband and I would figure out an approach that works for us. In the meantime, I stand by my decision for what to share and not share for my bonus daughter, and respect the opinions of anyone who feels otherwise.

Ashlen’s View:

As everyone knows, I show my children’s faces on the blog as well as other social media platforms. I share their stories and different narratives about my parenting choices. Alternatively, I don’t share absolutely everything about my kids. Stories that may be embarrassing, the names of their schools, and any daycare child’s faces (unless approved by their parent(s)) while taking a shot of is a no-no. I have a few reasons for my “being an open book” status:

  • This blog is a joint venture. Not just between Lauren and I, but also our families. My kids take part in the activities, photo shoots, and brainstorming story ideas. I ask for THEIR permission before I tell a certain story or share any picture. If they aren’t okay with it, I wouldn’t think twice about not posting something. My kids and I talk a lot about all types of things. I’m not sure how much they understand at seven, five, and three, but they understand enough to tell me what a blog is and what we’re doing for the blog.
  • I view the blog as not only an opportunity for me, but for them as well. As they get older, I fully intend to let them write blog posts and whatever else they’d like to take part in. My kids are creative and I think it’s pretty cool that we can create outlets of creativity for them. We’ve written a book together and they’ve given me blog post ideas, advice on pictures, and other things for the blog. I mean, how many kids can search for themselves on Amazon and be listed as authors?
  • Am I worried about stranger danger? Yes of course! Luckily, I think we’ve got some pretty fantastic readers who have yet (and hopefully don’t) make things feel creepilicious. Also, I’ve got Lauren to look over my posts to make sure we don’t divulge too much personal info such as where the kids attend school or our home address (yes, I nearly accidentally gave this away in a post! Oops!), etc.
  • Will my opinion change as my kids get older? Possibly. I already feel some of the things that happen in my home may not be “blog-worthy” or appropriate. Not because it’s inappropriate, but because I highly doubt it’s something my children are going to want to see on the internet when they’re sixteen. I try to keep that in mind.

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka-Parenting Choices- How Much Do You Share Online- 2

If there ever comes a time when my kids ask me to stop telling their personal stories (and there’s been a few so far) or taking their pictures, I will stop everything, have a discussion with them, and respect their wishes. My mindset at the moment is ‘we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.’ For now, we’re thoroughly enjoying all of the adventures the blog has to offer, the various opportunities, and the support we get from our audience.

This post was originally posted on Lauren Parker-Gill’s blog, “The Kidsperts.” Featured image via.