When I first started blogging back in 2010, there was a very important decision I had to make. In sharing personal stories about myself and my family, how much would be too much? That was especially true when it came to my daughter.
Even then there were horror stories of children’s photos being exploited by sick individuals and kidnapping threats. Obviously I realized that this only happened in a small percentage of cases. However, I was not willing to have my family be a part of that.
Five (5) Tips to Keep Safe Kids When Sharing Online
My husband and I had to decide, right from the get go, where to draw the line to keep my daughter, and by extension other children that may be on my site, safe. Here are some guidelines we set:
- Never show the full faces of children.
- Never use children’s real names.
- Don’t check in at homes, schools, or other private places.
- Never announce ahead of time when I or other family members will be away.
- If it’s not something I’d tell a stranger walking down the street, don’t write about it.
Over the course of three years, following these has become second nature. I’ve gotten really skilled at using certain angles to only show parts of faces or backs of heads. People are referred to by nouns or nicknames and video has even been edited to omit names from being heard. The exclusions to this are my husband and I and other consenting adults.
I realized this wasn’t the norm and that some may question our decision. This could also have an impact on the companies I worked with. That’s ‘a-okay ‘with me. Nothing is worth compromising the safety of my family. In fact, most have been understanding, if not supportive, of this.
Anonymity Can Be Beneficial
I actually had to laugh during one recent press event. They couldn’t find my daughter’s name anywhere on my site so, when they made a name tag for her, it said “Munchkin”. They apologized and offered to make a new one with her full name but I happily declined. It was a small confirmation that the small steps we took from so many years ago was still having the desired effect, maintaining my daughter’s identity and privacy.
If someone really wanted to, I’m sure they could find out what my daughter looked like, her real name, her friends, where we live, etc. Some people post all of that without a worry. Still, we’re doing what we can to draw the line with over-sharing and putting our family at risk.
Have you taken steps to protect your family and children online? If not, this video from LifeLock will show you why you should and how they can help protect against identity theft:
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