Risking their right to privacy: mom bloggers and “sharenting”   

I’ve always been a big sharer of personal stories. I disclose embarrassing anecdotes about myself at parties, and I am drawn to blogging as a way to share my personal experiences with others. My wife, on the other hand, has always been a very private person. We are always having conversations about how much to share online (and in person) about our family. If I didn’t have my wife grounding me, I think I might have shared a lot more of myself online at this point. And I probably would have engaged in some “sharenting” – the oversharing of stories and photos about our kid(s). 

That said, I don’t think there is a clear line that can be drawn between OVER-sharing and acceptable sharing. It’s different for every family, every mom-blogging sphere, every kid. I’m pretty lax in my opinion on other families sharing lots about their kids. The only moments I see as inappropriate are vlogs (video blogs on YouTube) where footage is shared of a toddler using a potty, or a child completely naked (of any age). I judge these moments as inappropriate mostly because of the risk of online predators and because when that kid grows up, their friends can pull up a video of them going to the bathroom and do mean things with it. I also worry about identity theft, so I personally try to keep full names and other identifying information out of my blog. But I love sharing my daughter’s name, so I choose not to use pseudonyms for her first name. 

The reason I’m writing this post today is because my wife recently saw a news item about a person sueing her parents for over sharing about her online when she was a kid. I haven’t been able to find the news article my wife referenced, but we had another brief check in about my sharing of Avery’s life. 

I blog to share my own experiences. It’s cathartic for me. But I happen to share my experiences of parenting, and that inevitably involves sharing stories about my daughter. I haven’t shared anything remotely embarrassing (or even personal) about Avery, but she is also just a baby without real experiences of her own. Perhaps one day the funniest stories that I’ll be itching to share could also be embarrassing stories. 

How much am I willing to withhold in order to balance Avery’s privacy with my need to tell stories about my life? How can I know if she’ll grow up to appreciate what I’ve documented about her life, or if she’ll feel exploited? If I make money from my blog, is it more exploitative than if hardly anyone reads it, or does it not matter? 

I’m going to keep checking in with myself as I continue to blog, asking myself the same questions: 

  1. Does this story/picture/blog violate Avery’s right to privacy? 
  2. Is this truly my story to tell, or is it Avery’s (or my wife’s)? 

What are your thoughts on balancing your child’s right to privacy with your right to tell stories about your own life?