I'm a blogger newbie and noticed that some moms use aliases for their children and others don't. Should I? I don't on my blog. I simply never really thought about it until I started reading other mom blogs. Why do you or don't you use an alias for your child?
I use an alias for my daughter for a couple of reasons. I do have concerns about online predators. I also do not share birth dates, our last name or home town. I want to make connections with the people that visit my blog but I also want to keep my family safe. I also use a nickname for my daughter because she is too young to know that I blog about her (or understand it), and I try to be mindful about how she might feel about having her name along with pictures and stories posted for the word to see.I guess it is my way of providing her some anonymity.
I know that many people feel that the more "real" information about yourself you put out there, the more likely the bad guys are to find you or do something with your information. I only started blogging a few weeks ago and it was an incident that happened with my oldest that propelled me to blog. I was so emotional about the situation that the only way that I could detox was to write about it, and I guess I felt like I needed validation. I did use my daughter's real name at the time, and I can still edit it out, but I haven't...maybe it's just a matter of ownership. This is one where you have to go with your gut - if you have any reservations, go with the alias. http://flavoredmom.blogspot.com
I use an alias for their privacy. They were toddlers when I started blogging & not able to say whether it was ok I share things about them with the world. So I made the decision to never use their real names. They are 5 & 6 now and want me to use their names but they don't really know the ramifications of what they are asking. I told them when they were 18 they could choose to use their real names, until then it's aliases all the way. Partly for safety and partly for privacy. Nothing on the web ever goes away. Do you really want your bad angsty teen poetry about the person you dated for 3 days following you around when you are 30? Do you want your college friends reading about how you pitched a tantrum in Wal mart when you were 6 and your mom wouldn't buy you Legos? By using aliases for them now, they are less likely to be embarrassed by my blogging later.
So far I've deliberately avoided using my children's names. If I want to blog about something regarding a child, I don't want her to feel I've invaded her privacy by announcing to the world something she did that she herself wouldn't choose to divulge, even though I deliberately try to avoid specifics when possible. Things stay on the internet for a looooong time...even something I think is innocent might not feel that way for my child now or years down the road. I also have privacy issues. While I know anyone can find my address or phone number if he or she really wants to, and, with social networking being popular, it's hard to contain all personal information, I still try to put as little out there as possible.
I use them just to protect their identities. Online predators are freakin scary and I don't want to add anything that I shouldn't just in case. I try to keep things to a minimum that involve pics and such. I don't post their real names, real birthdays (I usually give or take a day or two) or our address or phone numbers...DUH! lol I keep things safe. It's better to be safe than sorry.
I use an alias because anyone can do a google search on your kids name and find out all about them. That's how we found a picture of my nephew's naked butt in the middle of winter. My kids aren't really young, but there are repercussions for older kids too, since now employers and college reviewers can google too and future in laws or girl/boyfriends.
I use an alias for all of us in my blog. I share photos and stories and I am wary of whack-jobs out there in the world. It's really to protect my kids, it's just one little thing I can do to watch out for them.
I think it entirely depends on what kind of blog you write. If you write a family blog that is intended to keep your extended family and friends up to date on what you are doing, of course you would use your childrens' names. Furthermore, it is not very likely that such a blog would have a huge following of strangers so it isn't really an issue. But if you write a blog about a topic of general interest that is intended to appeal to a wide audience of strangers it might be appropriate to keep your child's name anonymous, partly out of respect for your child who will have his own online reputation to manage someday, and partly for his safety.
I'm not one to believe (because I have read much reputable research on the subject) that the internet is crawling with online predators, but I think there is a reasonable level of precaution one can take. I wouldn't walk out of a meeting into the city still wearing my name tag on my chest. I wouldn't let my children walk around town with their names embroidered on the back of their sweatshirts or on their backpacks. That is just asking for trouble. Why be reckless? Dropping their names and posting their pictures to a large audience of strangers seems like a good place to draw the line. Probably nothing would ever happen, but why do it? I know that strangers are not particularly interested in my kids and anything I have to share about them within the context of a general interest story can be done so without using their names or their pictures.
Gee - I didn't even consider my 16 month old daughters future feelings about me using her name. I don't use my husbands, so why should I use hers? I also agree with Angeline about there not being a ton of predators out there, but they do exist. My husband is a police officer and he can tell you that technologically speaking the online "bad guys" are often a few steps ahead of the "good guys" that are chasing them. Thanks for this discussion, ladies. I think I will go and change her name in my old posts now.