Privacy is something bloggers talk about a lot. It is definitely a concern, and something that should be considered carefully as you enter the online world with your blog. Deciding how much you share online is a very personal decision, you have the final say on everything that is published to your site, which can be liberating, but also intimidating!
It took me awhile to nail down my “privacy rules” for my blog and I’ve finally settled on what I feel is the safest thing for myself and my family, while also giving me room to be open and honest with my readers and give them a glimpse into our lives.
Here are my privacy rules – Other people’s rules may differ, it’s up to each blogger to figure out what rules he/she wants to set for their own site. I don’t think my rules are perfect for every one, but they can provide a starting point for creating your own set of privacy rules.
- Our Home – I never provide distinguishing information about where we live. My readers know that I live in Houston, Texas. That is a city with a population of over 6.8 million people, so I’m not too concerned that any creepy-internet-person is going to be able to hunt me and my family down among so many people and in all the many suburbs of Houston. My readers also know that I live in an apartment on the 3rd story. Again, this does not narrow it down enough for any one to be able to figure out where I live, but it does give plenty of information about our lifestyle to allow me to connect on a personal level with my readers (especially those that also live in tiny apartments with small children).
- Real Names – I only use my own real name on my blog. My husband’s name and those of my children remain private. I do this for several reasons, but the main one being that I don’t want my stories to be a part of my children’s digital footprint their entire life. When my son goes to apply for his first job, I don’t want his potential employer to do an internet search of his name and come across something I’ve written about his many tantrums as a toddler. I want him to be able to share his own things online and be accountable for them, instead of him needing to be accountable for the things I’ve shared when he was too young to give his permission. I refer to my family as “hubby, Little Man and the Princess” on my blog. Some people choose to use just first names, initials, or made-up names. It’s a personal decision, but made-up names are what works for me.
- Photos – This one was another hard decision for me, do I share photos of my kids online, or not? I finally decided that I would share photos but not names (see above). Th way I look at it is this, the photos that I share are no different than taking my children out in public. Some creep could see them there just like some creep could find them in a google search. The danger/safety levels seem about the same to me. I could be wrong, but that’s just where I stand on it. However, I don’t post diaper pics of my little girl, and I’ve gone back and removed several diaper pics of my little boy. Yes, they are adorable and innocent photos, but sadly, not every one sees it that way and I don’t want some creeper doing searches for diaper-clad babies to come across pictures of my kid. I only even thought about this when some one found my blog by doing an image search for something like “baby in a diaper”, it could have been a completely innocent search (probably was) but it also alerted me that those images could also be searched non-innocently, so I decided it wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice to take them down. I am probably over paranoid with the diaper pictures, but that’s just where I’ve chosen to draw the line for my family. If your line is elsewhere that’s totally fine with me! I know a lot of people who don’t use their children’s images, and others that use them all (even the diaper ones!) it’s just something to think about for yourself and decide where you want to draw the line.
- Photos part 2 – Becky blogged about this a few weeks ago, but it’s also worth mentioning here. I’ve started watermarking photos of my kids over their faces, so that the pictures can’t be stolen and used elsewhere. I’ve had it happen to me once, and while it wasn’t a huge deal, it could have been, so I’ve started using a watermark where it cannot be cropped out of the photo to hopefully deter people from snagging the pics of my kiddos.
- Discuss – Remember to let your family into the conversation. If your children, or spouse are uncomfortable with you share certain things, respect their wishes and keep them off the blog. Blogs should be a happy and safe place for every one! 🙂
There are 5 things to consider about privacy online. Have you made any privacy rules for yourself? Where do you draw the line?