Ezra,  Family,  Little Brother,  Miscellaneous,  Writing and blogging

Protecting my children online

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I’ve been considering this for months, perhaps even longer by now.

This question, “How do I go about protecting my children online?”

What should be shared? How much is too much? What right do they have to their own stories? Could I be causing damage to their future lives and careers? Am I endangering their safety?

I’m sure at some point, the books will be written and people will be able to see the long-term effects of mommy blogging on children. But we aren’t there yet.

I’m just a mom who has to fumble through this and find my way just like all of the other mommy bloggers I know. I don’t think there’s a right and wrong answer…black and white on this issue.

I do know that I have been contemplating making changes for long enough and discussed it enough with my husband that we both feel it’s time.

It’s hard though. This is a lifestyle blog – journal, a baby book, an autobiography. How do I talk about my life without talking about my children? It’s impossible really.

Ezra turns five in September. And I think that that’s a good time to put his story back into his hands for him to tell when he chooses. I have no regrets about recording the first five years of his life here. But I don’t know if I can, in good conscience, continue to do so carte blanche.

Decision one: Come Ezra’s 5th birthday, I will be much more guarded about what I share about Ezra here on my blog and my Beautiful In His Time social media pages.

This doesn’t mean I won’t talk about him. It doesn’t mean you won’t know I have a son. It doesn’t mean that photos of him won’t appear. It’s just slow steps toward making his life more private.

Decision two: Baby #2’s name will not be revealed on the blog or my Beautiful In His Time social media pages. Instead, he will be lovingly referred to as “Little Brother.”

If I could go back 5 years, I probably would have and should have done this with Ezra – given him a nickname for the blog to offer him some added protection. But, as I told my husband who suggested I nickname him now, “That ship sailed a long time ago…”

With Little Brother, I can do better. I also have a much bigger following that I did five years ago, so I feel that makes it even more important.

Decision three: As I shift away from telling Ezra’s story when he turns 5, it’s time to chronicle Little Brother’s story for a while. 

He’s a second child. So naturally, it’s going to be different. But this is still the closest he will get to a baby book, and I’m okay with that. Within reason. When he turns five, well, then, all bets are off.

Decision four: I will continue to use my blog’s private email newsletter to share family updates, photos, and reveal Little Brother’s name (hint hint, SUBSCRIBE).

My monthly newsletter has always been more personal; I feel much more comfortable sharing more private things with a more private audience rather than knowing any random Google searcher can find stuff about my kids. If you want this from me, please subscribe and be a part.

A few final notes:

Big, dramatic, bolded decisions aside – these are simply my best intentions. I reserve the right to fail. I reserve the right to be inconsistent. I reserve the right to change my mind completely.

Over-sharing comes naturally to me, so doing anything but is going to strange, weird, and I am not going to like it. (Which is part of the reason that I’m giving myself another 4 months before I have to really make changes.)

Can you grant me some grace in the future? Can you not nit-pick if (when) I fail? And can you understand, above all, that I’m doing this for my kids’ safety – and that’s it?

Thanks. No really. Thank you.


Bloggers? How do you do it? What choices have you made to protect your kids online?

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  • Natasha Metzler

    This is a great post, Aprille! Since we adopted our daughter as an older child, this was a question we faced at the very beginning. There is definitely a fine balance in there with sharing and keeping things private– not just online, but in my everyday life as well.

    This post encouraged me to actually make some decisions about what and how I say things. So thank you!

  • Elizabeth

    I use a blogonym for my son, me, and dad. Only the dog’s real name is shared. 😉 I also don’t include photos of his face.

    There is nothing to stop you from going back and editing your blog to take out your son’s name, ya know… 😉

    We can all only do the best that we can. You have my support, for what its worth!

  • Amanda H

    I can only imagine the challenge this will be! One of the big reasons I disengaged from social media was because I was continually frustrated that others could share pictures, etc, of me without my permission…even with so-called security/privacy features enabled (although I’m sure they’ve gotten better by now). Good luck and I look forward to being privy to Little Brother’s story!

  • fiftarina

    This is a great move, I think. I also try not to over-expose my family, though, sometimes I love simply tell their stories and post their photos. But right now, I try to not to over-expose their face, well maybe from far, but not too close.

    I still use my children’s real name. Can you elaborate more why giving nickname can be a better approach for this?

    • Aprille

      For me, I think it’s just one less thing that’s “out there.” So that my son’s name can’t be googled in the future (by employers, educators, etc) and stuff I’ve written about him as a preschooler used against him.

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