Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Children's Witness Protection Program

Pin It If you read any old posts you may notice that I've given my kids fake blog names. (Fake blog names - every kid should have one - it's so trendy!) It's just the whole... getting more traffic thing.

I love the traffic, I love meeting new people who are kind enough to take a minute to comment, and then getting to know THEIR blogs - love ALL of it - but I'm starting to wonder if I've been sort of naive about how many personal details I've shared. Not my thoughts, not my feelings, but the demographics.

This post at Segullah made me think. I've thought about it all along, but the ten people who were reading my blog on a daily basis were not all that threatening. Now that there are, well, more than that, I probably need to take it more seriously.

So I'm going back through old posts and reevaluating. I'm not sure if giving my kids fake blog names really accomplishes anything other than giving myself a false sense of security, but it's a step.

So, uh, meet my new kids: Sarah (the six year old), Abby (the four year old), and Carter (the three year old). I gave them each our runner up baby names for them. I didn't even try to be clever. (Hey - I was hurrying.) I haven't thought of a name for my husband yet. I'm taking suggestions.

I'm still pondering pictures. I doubt I'll take pictures down. I'm not sure what the right thing to do is. I will figure it out as I go along, I'm sure. What do you think about it? What do you do on your own blog? Pictures? No pictures? Real names? Fake? Private blog? I'm wondering what you all think and feel about it.

(I know I am totally killing off my last post by posting this so soon, but I figured people would start reading my post, see the names and wonder what in the heck was going on - so I kinda needed to post it. Sigh.)

35 comments:

  1. Great move! Love the names for your babes! I don't think we can ever do enough to protect our kids from the crazies.
    Protecting them from stupid choices, well that's a whole different ballgame!

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  2. I wasn't always a blogger; I had started fooling around with Flickr first. But even then I was already wary of the repercussions of putting things up for public consumption. The first repercussion-thought that jumped into my head then was "Hey! You're that guy with the thing at that place in that photo on that photo site-thing!"

    When I became a father, I wanted to share the joy's- blogging was the (next) natural medium. I wanted to relay stories & relate experiences about my little girl Caitlin. Then this came to mind: "Hey! You're that Caitlin that that Daddee Yah site talks about all the time!"

    So, if you were somehow able to identify my little girl & shouted "Caitlin!", chances are she'd freak & say "Who was that crazy person yelling at??"; that is, if you can even identify her from the purposely-obscure photos I use on my blog...

    But having said that, I love some of the child-nicknames used around the blogosphere!

    A Daddee (not my real name)
    http://www.daddeeyah.com/

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  3. Forgot to add; the photos of Caitlin that I do use, are usually a little dated- ie, she looks a little different now..

    Which also means she is less adorable :(

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  4. Our names are all fake...or real...or fake? I'm not telling! :)

    I don't want to get paranoid about the whole thing (also, don't have that many readers), but on the other hand, I don't want to be stupid about it, either.

    Hard to find the right balance. I'll check in later for some insightful responses from your readers.

    Heidi

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  5. i'm glad i read this. i now have to go back through mine. i'm thinking of 'zerilda' and 'egbert' for mine. unless i think of something more bizarre. i *hope* thus far i've stuck with m1 and m2, but i'm quite forgetful. and i'm a really bad photographer, so hopefully that will solve the photo issue.

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  6. I guess I'm naive, but how is someone going to find out kids, just with a first name and picture? I think the pictures and video make reading so much more enjoyable.

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  7. Sue, it is a viable concern. Our names are all fake, including mine. (It's like the Blogger Protection Program.) My husband knows many law enforcement officials who recommend the practice of pseudonyms. And no pictures! They have some very scary stories to tell. But don't leave us!

    Oh, and to let you know how sucked into the blogosphere I've become, I was talking to a real-life neighbor the other day, and used one of my kids' blog names instead of the real one. He looked at me funny.

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  8. I started out with real names and have been starting to wonder if that was a mistake. I don't have a ton of readers as of yet so I guess I'll play it by ear and see what happens.

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  9. I am using fake names for all of us...and now when I blog, I can't shake the weird feeling that I'm being dishonest. It's kind of freaking me out. I just used our "runner-up" names, also...I think I'd have felt better if I'd been more creative and used more obviously made-up names. Oh well. I'm too tired now to go back and re-name us. :o)

    BTW...I asked hubby to name himself, and he decided that he was a George. I'm Gwendolyn because that's what my grandfather always called me (I have no idea why. I think he was trying to get on my nerves.)

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  10. I try to keep photos up for only a week. It's not a perfect solution, but it's my compromise.

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  11. I didn't think about that for a long time. Now I just say #1 son, middle son, youngest son. My name's fake, I don't care all that much, it's a theme thing. And I've called my significant other BH. Stands for Big Hunk, cause, he is! He is more worried about our privacy than I am.

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  12. There's a fine line between paranoia and safety. Unfortunately I haven't found it. I do have different names for my kids, but It always feels like I'm writing about my imaginary friends. Maybe I am...

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  13. I've been worrying about it too. Then the post from Segullah. I gave my kids/husb fake ID's too, took down a few pics, but am resentful about it.
    I'm such a baby.....

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  14. Guess what I did over the weekend - replace our real names with blogging names. It took me hours to go over old posts and replace our names. I didn't remove the pics. I think we are okay.

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  15. Segulla's post made me think too...You know the rules at my place:

    obscured pictures
    no real names
    public blog

    ...writing from Tuvalu.

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  16. Well, I will have to quite your bog then... I have memorized about 50 to 60 names to get to know your family and if I have to memorize three more I am done;)

    I think it's important to protect the babies!

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  17. PS... why Carter? Couldn't you go with something better... like Jack Bauer?

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  18. I have four grown daughters; I generally only post photos of them as children. I do change their names. I have a baby grandson blog for family and friends; I don't link to it. I don't worry about the problem very much. We have had family photo websites with hundreds of pictures for the last six years, and no one has suffered any consequences.

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  19. I am very careful on my blog and don't post pics of my kids. I'm super paranoid I guess, but I read a post at Blogs Are Stupid about how even the most innocuous of photos of a child can be alluring to a pedophile. Yuck, can't even think of it.

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  20. I use real names, real undoctored pictures, but I don't say where I live. Undisclosed City, BC, Canada. That's all you get. Based on the precautions others take, I feel all risky and stuff, but I can't seem to dredge up a reasonable belief that someone would come to the middle of nowhere to harrass us. Maybe I'm being silly, I don't know.

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  21. I use nicknames...ie, my child isn't really named Little Mister, and my husband isn't really named Sergeant (although I call the boy "Little Mister" many times in a normal day, and lots of people call my husband "Sergeant" at work). The pictures are real though.

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  22. I am slowly going to do the same thing. I haven't used any of my kids' names or my husband - anyone, really - other than my own. I don't think it matters. My husband owns a business and travels around town every day in a truck with phone #'s on the side, etc. If people wanted to find out where he lived, what his kids' names are, etc. they will. I think the picture thing is something I am also trying to figure out. Good post - see ya.

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  23. Killing off your old post? What? Aren't 37 comments enough? humpf.
    Pictures, yes! Although, I am paranoid enough with my pics that when I save them, I never name them real names unless I will never post it on my blog. That way if you right click on the picture, and click properties, it says Pea, not her real name. The only name I use is my own, which really is my really real life name. But no last name. You could probably find me if you tried really hard, but I'm not worried about it that much.

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  24. I'm with the fake names, the limited identifying personal information, and some pictures (although the pictures make me nervous.)

    DAMMIT, cute trumps nervous.

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  25. Yeah, BB, you had a good post about your pics recently too.

    I feel a little ridiculous calling them fake names too. Maybe I'll just start calling them Kid1, Kid2, and Kid3. I don't know.

    Maybe I'll try Veronica's picture plan too - that sounds like a good compromise. Of course then a lot of my archives make no sense, but whatever.

    There is no way in heck I'll go private, I have a sick need for all of the positive validation.

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  26. courtney4:38 PM

    I use our real names...firsts only...I don't mention the town we live in or any neighboring towns, really. I do post pics of my DD, but they are fully clothed cute photos. I did crop her first bath pics so there were no "goods" showing...in case it would be enticing. I don't have a ton of readers but I'm not stupid...much! BTW, I've been lurking on your site for a few days and have added you to my bookmarks...seriously funny!

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  27. Same thing happened to me. I never thought that my blog would get big, and all of the sudden, everyone knows our first names, last names and city.
    We're moving pretty soon and I'm totally going to stop all of the details.

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  28. madhousewife5:53 PM

    To me blogging would not be as fun if it were not anonymous. In case you couldn't tell from reading my blog, I opted for pseudonyms also. (Heh heh.) And I don't post pictures. I cross-post on Xanga, where I have more readers, but still not a lot, and to me it's less about privacy than it is about maintaining a sense of mystery. Yes, that is my story and I'm sticking to it. Who needs traffic when you have mystery!

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  29. Nicole8:39 PM

    I just started blogging last month and gave the kids nicknames...the problem is that I'm not all that happy with the names (and I call my "carter" "boy"--how's that for a name?). I think I may have to have a "renaming" ceremony one of these days and give them cooler titles. I do put pictures up though. I'm not worried so much about their faces giving them away.

    I worry about safety a lot. On the other hand, I get about 3 hits a day on my blog and they're from people I know, so maybe I'm just paranoid?

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  30. Folks, security is a real issue. Use pseudonyms. Avoid pictures. One FBI guy told my husband that it is a common practice for perverts, etc., to scan preschool websites for pictures and to target a child that way. This is very serious. The same goes for Internet usage by your teen - the law enforcement people we know will not allow a computer anywhere but in the middle of a main traffic area in their homes, and they monitor everything their kids do on it - not because of the kids, but because of the crazies that can track them down from the info they put out.

    Sorry to be so serious, but it really is an issue. Also, a lot of teenagers would get really upset to have those stories about them on the web with their real names.

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  31. I have been thinking about this too! I don't have any answers, but I am like the pseudo-name idea. Guess what?!? I have always loved the name Carter and if our baby is a boy we will probably name him that. If it is a girl, I have no idea.

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  32. I recently went through my blog and deleted more than 100 posts with too much information and took down most of the photos of my kids. What spurred me on was looking at my stats--there were a bunch of Google Image searches that landed on my daughter in a cowboy hat with a flirty smile on her face. Whoa. Freaked me out.

    I don't think people are aware of how much information can be gathered by these stat tracking programs. For example, people that use their real names and pictures but not the city they live in...stat programs list what city your IP address originates from. Other sites comb blogs and republish the posts as their own--so even if we take things down they are still out there.

    There is very little that is actually private about blogging--take every precaution that you can.

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  33. I posted about this awhile back too. I took our location off and used initials instead of names, and I kept the pictures. It is a scary world, but I don't think it's wise to totally live in fear. I made a compromise, but I still question it. The other day, for example, our PTA president at our school told me that she reads my blog. Linked over to it accidentally through another blog. Ooops. Hope I haven't said anything bad about her or the school! Hope my kids' classmates' parents don't start reading. Hope that crazy person lurking out there doesn't start making connections between the things I say about our school and location and what my kids look like. Ugh. Okay, I'm worrying again! I think I'm going back to my site and taking off the picture of the kiddos. Ugh.
    Thanks for reminding me to be more careful!

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  34. I do fake names but real pictures. I'm desperate to get my kids married off so I can quit cooking.

    'Course, my kids are older. If they were toddlers, I'd probably use Photoshop to turn their sweet little mugs into armadillo faces or something.

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  35. I'm a random reader from MD that stumbled on your blog and fell in love ...

    Slightly dissapointed that those weren't your kids real names, they're so cute! I'm sure the real names are even better though. :-)

    And I enjoy the pictures, but it's whatever makes you feel comfortable I guess (A year after you've made the decision ...)

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