Monday, May 28, 2012

Destroying her privacy?

Am I destroying my child's privacy by blogging and Facebooking? I read a commentary piece recently that made me think a little harder about what I do online. These writers argue that online activities such as mine - sharing photos about and stories of my child - are stealing away her basic human right to privacy:

"We have a right to control how much we want the world to know about us.
These are fundamental to our personal autonomy.
Our children deserve the same protections."

At first, this column really hit home - and hurt my feelings. Am I an awful mother for blogging and posting about my child? Am I a big, mean, nasty dictator stripping her of her rights?

You know...
I do not think so.

On my personal account, where I share the most information and photos, I know all of my Facebook friends. I have selected every setting possible to ensure those friends, and only those friends can see what I post. I check those settings frequently to catch any changes Facebook has decided to sneak in.

I post a lot about my daughter, because the Facebook friends I care about are family and close friends with children of their own. To be honest, I may not have survived the first few years of motherhood without Facebook as a sounding board and support mechanism shared with other parents whom I respect and love. I am a better mother because I found support when I needed it the most.

With my BalancingMama Facebook page and this parenting blog, I have set clear limits. I do not post certain kinds of photos of my child. I never discuss details of my marriage or share stories that intrude on someone else's life. I will not write any details about my job, employers, or coworkers. I try my best to hold close any information that would allow a stranger to specifically pinpoint our location.

Do I write a lot about Amelia?  Yep.

Do I share a ton of photos of her?  Of course!

But do I ever share anything that I think would damage her? That would keep her from getting a job in the future? NO.

Does the big Facebook ad machine have ways to get and share my information? Yes... in a way. But as an advertising professional who actually buys Facebook ads, let me tell you: I do not know how to obtain any personal information about specific individuals. Can I target by interest, children, age, college? YES. But do I have any way of knowing who exactly fits within those categories? Names? NO. Are there ways to do so? ...maybe? Not in the simple ad buying tool Facebook has for the regular, legitimate advertisers. Internet privacy, cookies, and ad targeting sound scary to many, but from the actual advertising side, it seems like most people just do not understand how it really works.

When she gets a bit older, I will show Amelia this blog and my Facebook pages. If she asks me one day to stop sharing so much about her? I will shut down in an instant. Her privacy is absolutely important to me and I will give it precedence. When it comes her time to choose, I will respect that.

In the meantime, I will keep on sharing. But as always, with discretion.

Parenting bloggers - what do you think?
How do you balance privacy and sharing info about your lives?

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