Thinly Veiled Privacy

I was told yesterday that if I think I have any privacy I am sorely mistaken.

There are lots of reasons this could be true. I haven’t gone to the bathroom without an audience in 4 1/2 years. My age is no longer a closely guarded secret, as my children will tell anyone within ear-shot not only how old I am but that I am older than their daddy. I work in a relatively small office space with an open-floor plan, nearly all phone calls can be heard by everyone else. I have a loyalty card with my grocer.

Specifically though, I was thinking about my work’s blog uses our names in their full real-world glory. Google my name and I’m not on the first three pages (I didn’t go further than that). Add some details and you’ll get much warmer. This led to wondering about my kids and their online identities.

Should I be using their real names? I did. And then I didn’t. And now I do again.

I’m not concerned about a classic stranger kidnapping situation. We can rule that out as a reason for pseudonyms.

As Elliot nears elementary age he also nears having friends with computers. And google. Is it fair to him to have his friends read about his toddler years? Or is it fair to me later on that I can’t blog about my life because it is too intertwined with his? Where are the lines between these being his stories and them being mine? Do I have the right to tell the world he was busted for mooning the teacher? (He was.) Or that when at home he like to wear my peep toe red patent leather shoes? (He doesn’t. Or at least he’s not allowed to, those pretties are mine!)

Pseudonyms might provide the ability to write about our children without it being too obvious who they are. Granted, anyone that wants to search about my kids can and will. And things will turn up. I’m pretty well convinced though that they shouldn’t be coming from mommy’s blog.

Peter’s argument is that that’s not who we are. We live our lives online.

We do. We’ve made that choice. Elliot hasn’t made that choice yet. And I’m not convinced its my choice to make for him. There are other choices that are easy for me to make for him. He’s not old enough to make this choice whether I use his real name or not. Hell, there are people that grew up online and their not old enough to make that choice either. I would never forgive myself if he didn’t get some great opportunity|job|girlfriend|boyfreind|house|trip because when he was 2 years-old he licked his underwear.

What do you do? And what’s your reasoning?

Here’s to hoping that by the time it matters, blogs will be old-school and all kids will say, “my mom is so lame, she has a blog – I could like DIE.”

4 smart people left their mark:

  1. Amy W, 13. June 2008, 5:54

    I use my kids real names…and my oldest is starting kindergarten in July. Maybe some day I will take old stuff off the internet, but for now, I guess I will just wait and see.

  2. Kelly O, 13. June 2008, 8:50

    I blog using my name and my kids’ names, and I don’t foresee any future problems. For one thing, don’t most kids have a blog about them by now? If not, I think most kids in 5 years will have them. For another thing, I never say anything on my blog that I wouldn’t say in front of my boss, so there will be no big-reveal to potential dates or opportunities, no prehensile tails or coprophilia. But mostly, I don’t think our kids will have the same kind of compartmentalization that we have. So, they won’t be one person at work, one person with their families, one person with their friends.

    Besides, I have tattoos and curse like a sailor. I will embarrass my kids for so much more than what their friends may or may not be motivated to google.

  3. Tiffany, 13. June 2008, 14:23

    I use my kid’s name, and I have to admit that I have worried about it. If someone really wanted to find us, it would be pretty easy. But, I honestly think that if we worried about absolutely everything with our kids, they will grow up neurotic. I think a nice and general rule of thumb is don’t say anything you wouldn’t want said about you by your parents, (And trust me, my mom has some STORIES!)

  4. Pink Asparagus » Losing Touch (Pingback), 6. July 2008, 7:22

    [...] Kelly O thinks our kids will lead less compartmentalized lives than we do now. So, admitting that “yeah, that my mom” might not be as socially devastating as it was [...]