I talked a little while ago now about some of the issues I had around anonymity for my children with regards to blogging. And I have to say that I was pretty overwhelmed by the response, the thoughtful comments and different opinions that people gave me with regards to their own decisions about their children's anonymity, and what I might like to consider when it comes to my own. Honestly, I don't feel like there is a right or a wrong answer. There is simply a "what feels right for you and yours".
The anonymity thing is a two pronged issue for blogging parents I think. There is the personal risk element; do you want strangers knowing your child's name and does that pose a particular danger to them? And the digital footprint element; should we be making decisions about our child's search-ability before they are old enough to understand it?
So Rich and I talked about it, and I thought about it a LOT. With regards to the risk of sharing their names, I feel like that's pretty small. I honestly don't feel like "people on the internet" pose any more danger to my children that "people on the street"; in fact people on the street could follow us home, and would hear me using my children's names. So while stranger danger was probably the reason that I first started out using nicknames instead of real names for my children on this blog, I don't really feel like I am worried about that issue anymore.
When it comes to their digital footprint I was a little more anxious. We've all heard those stories about potential employers, and even potential partners google searching you, right? And I would hate for the children to resent what I shared online when they are older. Ultimately I feel like their generation are going to have grown up in such a fully online world, that they won't think twice about their digital footprint, and they won't be so cautious about it as my generation and older generations can be. I also know that I would never post anything that I wouldn't be happy for them (or their future friends and employers) to read. And I guess that's the crux of it, does what pops up when you search their name in google really matter if everything that pops up is nice? Is a cute baby photo, or a story about a day they went to the beach going to harm their future job prospects...? I'd like to think not. By the time they are applying for jobs, any damaging information online about them will have been their own doing surely, not mine.
The final part of the puzzle for me was that I was increasingly finding it harder to write and to video keeping their names out of the public domain. It just feels more awkward on video to not be using their real names, and expecting them not to. And I was finding it harder and harder to find different ways to explain who I am talking about in blog posts without using their names (especially now I have two daughters).
And so any particularly discerning readers of this blog will have noticed, when I updated my design, their names crept in. Under that "Three Little Loves" tab you can find a page for each of my children, and it has their names on. Their names feature on our about page, and their names (and the wide variety of nicknames that they tend to actually go by on a daily basis) will gradually creep in more and more with the blog posts too. I say gradually, because actually it turns out that using their names after years of not, is kind of a hard habit to break.
I have to confess, I'm actually a little obsessed with names. It's always the first thing I want to know when someone has a baby. I love hearing people's full names, the reasons behind a name, the meaning of names, and how groups of sibling names go together. At any one time I have a massive list in my head of names that I'd use for future children were I to have them. So it does seem somewhat ironic that I have been keeping my children's such a closely guarded secret. Names are such a special part of your identity, and I am so proud of my kids' names. So over the coming days I'm going to dedicate a post to each of my children, talking about why we chose their names and other ones we considered, what their names mean to us and all that jazz.
But for now, let me introduce my three little loves... Dylan Aiden, Everly Grace and Ashlyn Quinn. It feels so good to finally be saying that out loud.