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I write about my family on the internet.
(Obviously.) And I have had a policy since I first began: I do not share my
husband's or daughter’s names. This applies when I am on social media
professionally as well. It was important to me from the beginning to set boundaries.
I want to protect their privacy and
digital footprint as much as I can. I don't think it would be fair for a post I
wrote to show up if someone were to Google his or her name. Even though I run
my posts by them before publishing online, and they are comfortable with what I
Yes, that means I ask my 6-year-old daughter’s
I write about her or post a photograph online. She doesn’t completely
understand what the Internet is all about. But she knows when I share these
things via my computer they can be seen by people she knows—and doesn’t know.
And when she is not comfortable with that, I respect her feelings.
My making money from sharing my family’s
stories has given me an incredible gift. It enables me to work from home, to have
flexible hours and be with them. But there has been a strange side effect.
Lately, I find I'm not using their names
in my everyday life.
The other day, I was talking to my mom on
the phone and I said, "I have to go pick up my daughter from school now."
But I think parents should work to understand the issue and make the choices they feel are best.
"Why don't you ever say her
name?" Mom replied. And I realize I have gotten into the habit of not
doing so, even with family and friends.
A few weeks ago, I was over at a friend’s
home. Our girls were playing together and we were catching up. I caught myself
saying, “my husband” instead of using his name. With a personal friend. It
sounded so strange, yet it was completely involuntary.
She did not seem to notice. Or at least
had no visible reaction. But I was completely freaked out. How could I speak of
one of the most important people in my life in such an impersonal way?
It can be easy for the lines between
online and offline to become blurred. Especially today, when so much of our
lives involve the Internet. The subject of writing about one’s family online
has been discussed at length. Some experts argue parents are fooling themselves
think they can control their kids’ digital footprint.
Maybe I am. But I think parents should
work to understand the issue and make the choices they feel are best. That’s
what I have done.