Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Our Daughter's Digital Footprint

My husband is a very private person, and I am (obviously) very open. Our girl may fall somewhere in between, or she could be more like myself or more like her Dad. I have been wondering lately what it would be like for her as she grows up to have all of these photos of herself posted publicly, on this blog. An employer could search and easily find them, as could a potential beau or future classmates. Do I want that for her? Shouldn't she have a say and control over what images of her are posted publicly?

According to this study, 92% of toddlers have an online presence, and 1 in 4 actually have one before they are even born.

As a teenager, I remember being absolutely mortified when I found a picture of myself, dressed for a 5th grade field trip in a completely mismatched outfit. "Mom! Why did you let me wear that out of the house?" I asked. "You wanted to pick out your own clothes that day, and of course I let you. I thought it was sweet; you were so proud." She explained.

Now what if that photo was online, instead of tucked away in a dusty envelope and hidden in a drawer? Of course I wouldn't care right now at this point in time...I actually tried to find the photo just to show you how awful it was! But all teenagers go through "a period in which physical appearance commonly assumes paramount importance." Not most teenagers, all teenagers, according to the American Psychological Association (read more about adolescent development here). I remember going through that phase, and no amount of anyone telling me how I looked wasn't really important would have helped.

I have decided that after her first birthday, I will strictly limit public photographs of her. "Strictly limit" rather than prohibit, because I may occasionally post a family Christmas portrait, or a photo of her holding her sibling, should we have another child. But I do not want there to be photographs of her floating around that may seem cute and silly to me right now, but that future classmates could view on their phones or whatever technology exists at the time with a simple google search and use to tease her.

The only public photos of her "out there" have been in this blog, and I think anyone would be hard pressed to use them against her in a decade or so. Even so, I plan to clean up this blog and change all references to her from her first name to 'A' or 'Baby A' so that she is not as searchable. Doing that has already really helped, as I found a lot of images when I googled her before I went through and changed it in some of my previous posts.

I will continue to post to facebook and instagram, but since those are "friends only" (facebook) and private (instagram), they are not searchable by anyone outside my circle now, or in the future. They would have to be my friend/follower, and her future classmates, her boss or any suitors are not. Even if they were to be at some point, I can easily change the privacy settings on the facebook albums, or exclude them from seeing specific albums. 

The YouTube videos I upload of her on a weekly basis are "invite" only, meaning that a person would have to be sent the link (her Grandma and Grandpa in Oregon, and my Dad in Yucaipa) in order to view it. When you visit my YouTube account, the videos do not appear there, even though I have over 50 of her uploaded that I see when I'm in my account. The same holds true for Shutterfly, which I periodically use to share pictures with family who do not have facebook.

Posting images of her is not inherently evil, as it is one of the only ways that my family in England and Ireland "know" her, and one of the ways I use to back up my photos (in addition to saving them on the memory card and uploading them to Shutterfly). Plus, I love sharing because she's just so gosh-darn cute! But, the main purpose of my blog is sharing the stories and preserving the memories, which can be done without photos of her. 

I am realizing that I want to have control over who sees those images, not for me (because I would share them with the world if I could), but out of respect for her and her privacy. While she will always be my baby, I have to recognize that she is her own little person...who will grown into a big person before I know it.



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