This is actually something I have been wanting to touch on for a while, and the article "Blogging Your Baby" on CNET this weekend finally pushed me into actually starting this post. Now, I'm not talking about all blogging about parenthood and kids, I'm talking about the specific type of blogging they discuss in the article - the public blogs with intimate details of children's lives, written by their parents for whatever reason. In the article, they basically seem to be saying "well, maybe it'll bother them but we'll wait and see". I am here to tell you, you don't have to wait. It has happened, and it can be absolutely devastating.
You don't need the internet to "mommy blog" your way into nearly ruining your child's school years. Let's go in the wayback machine to my middle-school years (which do, in fact, predate blogging). My brother and I were good friends with a classmate of our who lived in our neighborhood. He was a nice kid, if a little on the geeky/awkward side at times. (Let's call him..."Bobby".) Bobby was in that middle ground at school - not bad-looking, but not a guy the girls swooned over. His parents had money, so he had the right clothes and stuff, but his goofiness made him a little uncool. You know the type...not really popular but definitely not unpopular.
As you may recall, middle school can be the worst....everyone is breaking down into dating and non-dating groups, most kids are just starting to really be interested in the opposite sex...things are very uncomfortable, and it doesn't take much to make you everyone's scapegoat. Right as all this was going on, someone discovered that Bobby's mom wrote a column every Sunday for our local paper. About her family. Mainly, about her kids. And in this column, our entire school learned (and this is just what I remember):
That Bobby had had a skating rink "date" with an easily identified classmate who hadn't told anyone about it (and the date didn't go well although his mom thought she was "cute" and called her hair "fluffy")
That when he had his first boy-girl party (which I attended with my best friend) his mom bought him cans of soda and he had a tantrum because he wanted bottles to play spin-the-bottle with (as we girls all said, AS IF!!)
That he had gotten really upset at another boy-girl party and called home (supposedly crying) to be picked up because the action was, well, out of hand (my brother and I were at this party, and the action was in fact out of hand because parental supervision vanished. I don't remember Bobby crying, but he did freak out a bit.)
Can you imagine the seventh-grade mortification that ensued? His mom had to pledge to never mention him again; and everyone scoured their parent's old papers for any more dirt. He did live it down, and although he left our school a year later I am pretty sure it was to go to a private school or something. He did have this air of being uncool until he left, though.
I can't even imagine what would have happened if it had been a blog that was discovered. No way was anyone motivated enough to go to the library and look through the microfilm for old columns, but online? We'd have all sat and read them for a week until we knew every horrifyingly embarrassing detail of his life. And even if he'd gone home and flipped out, it would have be very hard for his mom to erase all the things she said...they'd have been quoted in other blogs and articles, and depending on the type of blog she did, probably archived forever in the Internet Wayback Machine! If Bobby's mom had written even 10% of the things I have seen people reveal about their kids online...he'd have left our school that week.
Now, he was a little on the over-sensitive side, and like I said, not one of the "coolest" kids to begin with. But I think a lot of kids are in that position. So...what's my point? While we do mention Emily (and heck, take her to appearances with us) I plan to do my best to protect her from suffering even the smallest version of Bobby's fate. And I sometimes shudder at what other mothers post about their (identifiable) kids, when I think of what happened to him. Maybe he should have been "stronger"...but I think that's a bit to expect of kids at that age. Yes, he did get over it...but it really shouldn't have happened at all. And yeah, maybe if he'd had a MySpace page he'd have written about all these things himself...but having a parent be the one who screws you up at school is very different from being a blabbermouth yourself.
I don't think
I'd just like to add, I meant to save this in draft mode, not publish it, when I had some immediate toddler demands on my time. I won't tell you what she did, though ^_^. I think I could have written some of this better but...it went up so a few quick edits and I'm just going to leave it as is.