3.26.2014

The Dangers of blogging (and social media) for kids



It had been more than 2 years since I had made this blog public.

Within 2 years, the blog had gained much exposure. The children have become mini celebrities and do get notice every once in a while. Blogging has opened a lot of doors for us to new experiences. We are thankful to these opportunities that had been presented to us.


However with blogging, comes the risk of personal privacy. In this digital age, every word (and picture) that has ever been printed in cyberspace does not disappear . With every 101010100001 entry (binary code just in case you do not get it) , your imprint into the digital world stays intact forever. This begs the question of what would happen to these information in the future. There will always be the possibility of information abuses.
  • Prospective employers or school may use your social sharing against your children when they are applying for a spot.
  • Any information on a child's behavior could be use as a negative basis for discrimination.
  • Future partners and in laws may use this as a background check.
  • Friends or foes may use information they know to tease your child.
  • Pictures you deemed cute (you know the ones with diapers on his head as a hat) may be used to prejudge the children when they are older.
  • Identity theft may occur especially if personal information are published.
  • Your pictures may be used for wrongful purposes such as unsolicited adverts or otherwise.
  • Risk of kidnapping or house burglary especially if you are one that post your daily schedule online ( E.g I am going on holiday for a whole week and the house is empty = Welcome to my house strangers! )
No doubt sharing everything you do with your child seems like harmless fun. However at the end of the day, information fallen on the wrong hands could be manipulated and hurt if chosen to .



Should I continue to blog when I know such dangers lurk for the boys in the future?

The truth is, it does not sound as scary as one would phantom. Sure, privacy may be sacrificed in one way or another...But privacy can be invaded in other forms. In today's evolution of the Connected life, this will impact ALL who have a footprint in any social platform and not just bloggers. In this Digital age when a smartphone is just a pocket away, an image of yours or a tweet about you could be either taken or written without your knowledge as we speak. This would be perpetuated by our own actions with that photo uploaded in your status update or the tweet about this morning breakfast. All these will become an invariable footnote in this virtual world. 

With the advent of Google Glass and other new innovations, there will come a time when a chip or a processor may be embedded in us. When that day arrives, privacy will become a must sought after commodity. As much as you would like to control your own personal space, it will be hard press in this age to prevent others from posting information about you. Thus given this paradox, would you rather tell the world about yourself or have someone to conjure up an image, malicious or otherwise, about you?

Science Fiction?

That is what they say about the Internet 2 decades back and look where we are today. That being said, there still exists a need to protect the young ones in this world where information sharing is concerned. We may not turn back the tide of technology, but that does not mean we have to blindly accept it without checks and controls. I do encourage drawing a line to what information are being shared on the net. There are things in the family that is meant just for personal consumption, In these cases, it will remain as such.

These are three guidelines you may consider when starting a blog, sharing a status update on Facebook, shooting a comment on twitter, sharing a picture on Instagram or even sharing a video on Whatsapp group.
  • Do not divulge sensitive personal information. Keep information on personal lives private, unless it is worth sharing and you judge it would not be detrimental in the long run. Don't make your private profile public to keep some sense of privacy. Make your judgment call by asking one simple question. Would I want the whole world (and that includes stalkers and potential threats ) to know about what I am going to share? If the answer is no, don't post it.
  • Do not embarrass the child. This means no photos that may embarrass ( such as those showing naught bits) or comments you may regret (e.g. my child always pee in his pants and he is 10, lucky he is still wearing diapers). If your child is to become a presidential nominee or a public figure in the future, such information will be a media gold mine. You will never know if it will come back to hurt you or your child.
  • Self-censorship especially on sensitive topics such as politics and discriminating outbursts. As much as I have my views, a family journal may not be the right platform to air personal grievances. Surely you would not want your child to be seen as the son/ daughter of the foul mouth blogger (Dad or Mom alike). In some cases, a misplace comment or post can also affect the family as seen by the recent Anton Casey saga. Worse still, if your child intends to run for politics only to find out that Daddy/Mommy opposed the party he/she is running for and even (horrors) offended them. You may have unwittingly limited your child's prospective job opportunities with a few strokes on the keyboard.
    Bottom line: be aware of what you post. If you think if will be harmful to the children in the future or even have the slightest doubt about writing a post, I would suggest follow your instinct and don't blog about it. It is not information lost but sanity save in this vicious world where a single negative comment or post could come derail the life you made. As a parent , you hold the keys to your child future, don't throw it away.
    At the end of the day, it will be wise to write with your heart, but post with your head. If both are in agreement, go ahead, post it and stake your place permanently on the internet. After all memories are priceless yet fleeting if they are not documented.
    It may be a dangerous world out there, but if you tread with care and open your eyes to both good and bad, it is still a beautiful world. In a connected world where you cannot simply hide and disappear (unless you are a nomad in the mountains where technology is a curiosity). Being public means you have to forgo some privacy. It comes with the territory.

    That does not mean opening the front door to strangers with open arms. Even if you choose to do so, try to clean out the skeletons in the closet first. Lastly regardless of the route you take, remember to be a Dad (or a Mom) first and everything else second. With that guiding principle, you should do just fine.




    2 comments:

    1. Like the caption "Write with your heart, but post with your head" :) Will be seeing you guys soon! :)

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      Replies
      1. Thanks Ed. Catch up with you soon !

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