Cultivate Theme

As my son grows older, we have lots of reasons to celebrate: His growing sense of responsibility, the way he is able to write and almost read, and the way he is gaining control over his emotional and physical being.

We are also celebrating something else: The return of Mommy's privacy. 

We've started conversations about privacy with our son - starting with the bathroom door. Which, for the record, should be closed whether you have children or not (preserve the magic in your marriage, people). Our son is just at the right age where he is picking up on the fact that if the door is closed, he needs to knock first.

Granted, he usually walks right in after knocking, but baby steps...

As he gets older, I try to be more respectful of his privacy as well. This includes my behavior to him offline and online. That's a decision I made before I started my blog - to keep his name and face off it (stories are fair game).

So, in this day and age when we read more stories about our security being violated or monitored, it is no surprise that parents are getting concerned about what they've been sharing on social media sites. And now, they want that information removed.

New companies, like uses technology to replace baby-related posts with other posts like pictures of cats. I am totally for this service. Because, perhaps, in your rush of excitement to post the news that your little one just used the potty for the first time, you forgot how many people can potentially read that update. And perhaps it would be better for your career and your friendships with non parents to replace that post with a picture of a kitty hanging off a tree branch with the caption "Don't sweat the small stuff."

How do you teach your children about privacy in the real world and online? Tell me in the comments at Sorry, Mom. I didn't listen.

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Comment by Marcia Fowler on March 11, 2014 at 8:33am

You're right about it being "the norm," as they get older.

Comment by Lauren Markman on March 11, 2014 at 6:15am

The privacy conversation is tough - and ever evolving. Like you, we try to do what is age appropriate privacy talks. (We haven't gotten around to the windows/curtains yet, so that is probably next.)

I agree that it is hard to talk about online privacy when so many other parents post your child's image online. So, that has become an internal conversation for me - about what I can control and what I can let go.

I do truly wonder if children, as they grow older, will be happy or embarrassed that their entire lives were documented online for them. Would it be the "norm," so it isn't embarrassing? Hard to say.

Comment by Marcia Fowler on March 10, 2014 at 9:11pm

Just recently started giving real thought to this issue.

Of course, we do the "don't let anyone touch you except doctors, etc" talk. I also started pushing the idea of closing curtains/shades while they get dressed because "we don't want neighbors to be able to see you naked" and along with that I'm also stressing that they do not ever let anyone take a picture of their naked bodies. Seriously, did our parents have to warn us of that? No. This is all so new. We didn't grow up with our photos plastered online.

I do like seeing friend's kids pictures online but I only have a private blog for family. I have maybe one picture of my kids on FB. When my kids are teenagers, are they going to be happy that their childhood photos are online? Probably not. I do ask other parents not to put my kids photos on FB .  But when they attend public school events, there's no hope. It's a free for all. So how can we teach privacy when parents are clicking and posting non-stop? Grr.. this wasn't in any of the pregnancy books or How to Raise a Baby books.  Instead, I learned what green poop meant. :)

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