Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cyber Safety

Help me decide people.

I keep going back and forth. Vascillating I believe is the word I'm looking for.

When blogging, do I post full frontal photos of my kids' beautiful faces? Or do I just do shadowy profiles and back of the head shots?

Do I refer to them by their given names or made up names like Dan-O or Wilma or do I use first initials or first initials of made up names?

Do I spin yarns about what my dh does for a living? Do I discuss in detail my homey little town? List everyone's shoe sizes?

I cannot decide.

Other bloggers that I follow are not helping b/c it seems they are all over the board on this one.

Take, for example, The Pioneer Woman. Ree Drummond, which I assume is her real name, posts freely about her kids and scatters lovely photos of them all about her blog like I toss scratch for my chickens.

So liberating! I shall follow suit.

But then other bloggers I follow refer to their children by numbers or initials. They use no photos.

Oh the safety in cyber invisibility! I shall follow suit.

Some experts say that if a stalker/serial killer wants to find you, they will. They don't need the help of anything you put on the internet. That's for amateurs.

Others give frightening examples of their child's image being used out of context in some horrific way. Do I want my child's face on a package of Bubba's Butt Paste? I think not.

Usually when I read comments left by my faithful devotees I feel all warm and fuzzy. They love me! They support me! They get me! Reading the comments is like getting a big bear hug and I feel all warm and safe.

But once in a while I get stuff.... not spam per se.... comments that leave me feeling....

Like when I posted about my colt's castration. Some saw the humor in the situation. Some saw the educational value. Some threw up. Just about all would agree that spaying and neutering our animals is the way to go for safety, health, and reduction in numbers of unwanted animals. But I got a comment that said I was a sick and twisted individual. Not for posting pictures or making light of things, but for having the vet come out to neuter my horse.

I guess it's folks like that that leave me feeling worried about going whole hog with names and photos and other identifiers. I mean, do I really want some freaky PETA advocate tracking me or any of my brood down to reprimand us for not fetching our dogs Margheritas when they're laying poolside with their shades on?

But then, our pictures are everywhere! Thanks to the social networking blitz, it seems like cyber safety is really nothing more than wishful thinking. Because even if you decide not to join FB, or to join with very rigid restrictions on who you're friends with, it matters not. There's always going to be someone wandering around with a trigger-happy finger on the button of their camera or cell phone, snapping away and posting to their heart's content. Just because I don't want my kid's image on the internet doesn't mean it's not going to end up there after Johnny's Dad videotaped the school play and tagged the photo with everyone's full names and sent it out to his 2500 friends.

Do I even try to keep images and identities off the world wide web? Or is it futile and I should just embrace it and do what I will?

I could post this photo, but where's the fun in that?

I do the best I can posting pics like this cuz it kinda sorta looks cute, but how often can I get away with it before my readers are not even bothering to stifle their yawns? Besides, I could still have someone complaining, "Hey, that's my car in the photo and I did NOT sign a waiver granting you permission to use a picture of my car!"

Are these my kids?

Or these?

Just kidding. These are my REAL kids.
You can tell, right?

So I often think I should scrap the whole safety thing and just post any pictures I want. Well, maybe not pics of them in the bathtub. But since they're in their teens now I haven't really done the bubble bath Santa beard photos in quite some time. That would just be creepy.

What do I wish for most:
Freedom to post whatever I want?

Chime in. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this because I can't make up my mind.

Plus I can't think straight right now b/c S and J and B the Older and B the Younger and Y and N are all asking me when I'm starting dinner. I would describe the ravenous pleading looks on their faces but that might be TMI. Should I have said I was about to make dinner? Someone out there might figure out what time zone I live in and commence stalking....

I'm ranked # 13 on Top Mommy Blogs. Will that allow you to triangulate my position and leave me a ransom note in newspaper letters telling me you've kidnapped my hermit crabs? Gosh I hope not. The kids are kinda attached to the creepy little things. Whatever. Just go ahead and click the button.
Top Mommy Blogs - Click To Vote!

Clip art from Google images clip art.


Rooster Inn said...

I am on the fence as well. I am not so sure that anonymity is really possible. My crew is just private enough that they don't want me using their real names, so out of respect for them I use letters. It is not because of security reasons...we are locked and loaded :-)

farmbeachgal said...

I think I'm leaning towards keeping up with initials, but starting to use photos. I hate the thought of someone "stealing" their photo to use as a fake identity or something worse, but I know the photos are out there whether I like it or not anyway. But still thinkin'.....

Rooster Inn said...

Uh oh...I might have to make a disclaimer that the photo you see on my post is not mine, but in that case I should find some hot Mama to take my place and make the most of trying to out smart all those cyber freakos who would dare to try and steal my face.

farmbeachgal said...

You're already a hot mama, whatchoutalkin' 'bout?

Miss Meg said...

I read another blog frequently where the woman was contacted by someone overseas who had found her daughter's picture on a pedophile's computer. Her daughter was a toddler who had passed away. SICK. But, like you said, the pics are going to get out there, whether you want them to or not.
I'm just starting to identify where I want my own blog to go, and i think I've decided that pictures are ok without the use of full first names, locations, etc. Pictures or no, I love YOUR blog!

farmbeachgal said...

Meg, you're so right, it's a very scary world out there and you never know what some sicko is going to do.
Thanks for the nice words about my blog! Good luck with yours....

Lou Ann said...

As you know with my blog, I use pictures and her name (even though it's her nick name) but then when I started mine it was just for family and friends as I traveled to Kaz. Mine still doesn't have very many people visit so I'm not that worried. But as you and everyone else has said, there are some sick people out there that can make anything seem scary. My take on it is that I won't let the few sickos ruin the enjoyment my daughter and family get from the blog. So I'll take my chances. But clearly you are the only one that will have to live with this decision so only you can make it. I would certainly love to see your beautiful family but if I only get to read about them I'll still pay my daily visit to The Farm.

Lou Ann & Lexie too

farmbeachgal said...

Thanks for chiming in Lou Ann! I think I've decided what to do. Tune in tomorrow!

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