Ethics of blogging about your children in the first person

June 09, 2009 By: erik Category: Family, Internet, Musings 197 views

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Several dozen times now I have come close to starting a blog or twitter account or Facebook account for my 77-day-old daughter, and updating it as if it was her talking about herself. But there’s something that always stops me. It feels vaguely unethical. Like I’m not sure that I would have wanted my parents to do the same to/for me. The Golden Rule and all that. It would be cute as the dickens, of course, and it would help separate my own identity and thoughts from all the reporting on her activities. Let’s face it, the Offspring post category has rather exploded around here lately. It’s one thing to do it for an inanimate object, but eventually she’s going to grow up and participate in the social internet world, and maybe she won’t like having these old accounts (and scatological status updates) lying around?

Can I get some opinions from my audience about this? Would you do it for your kid? Would you really enjoy reading Nora’s status updates from a separate account? Knock me off the fence.

  • I like the idea of a Twitter feed from Nora\’s perspective, but I\’m not sure about a blog. Twitter seems so much more transient than a blog and there\’s only so much damage you can do with 140 characters.

    My opinion is that as babies, there\’s not much harm in blogging/tweeting/posting photos, but as they get older, that line will start to blur. Once the kid reaches an age where they\’ll start to remember the events you\’re talking about, that\’s when I start to wonder how much sharing is ethical.

    That said, if you started a Nora blog, I would of course eat it right up.

  • Paul

    Vaguely unethical? I think you need to get over those feelings. My guess is nobody will be fooled by posts attributed to Nora during these first few years, and it will give you a chance to experiment with her point of view. Maybe she can take over the blog herself on her third birthday.

    I’m reminded of a letter I wrote (never published) to Creative Computing magazine many years ago. I was responding to an article written by the father of a five year-old who was arguing that age 5 was not too young for a child to use a computer. I pointed out how easy it is to underestimate the ability of a child. I used my son as an example, explaining how he was learning his alphabet using a letter identification program on my TRS-80 Model I. He was allowed to play his “game” any time the computer was not being used. He only had to ask, and I would bring it up for him. He was not, however, allowed to touch my floppy disk storage box at any time. One day I entered the computer room and saw him standing on a chair and pawing through my floppy disks. Instead of barging in and yelling at him, I watched quietly from the doorway. He found the disk with his game on it, took it out of its envelope, put it in the disk drive right side up, and rebooted the system, thereby bringing up his game. I realized then how much I had underestimated his ability to use the computer on his own. I will always (easy to say now) remember the closing sentence of my letter – “Tommorrow will be his second birthday”.

  • Excellent! This is just the kind of off-the-fence pushing I was hoping for when I registered Nora’s Twitter account this afternoon. 🙂

  • Please see my incoherent response via the dying medium of email.

  • I felt forced to start a kids blog for my now-4-year-old when he was born, for the sole purpose of allowing me to share his pictures with family without mailbombing them all on a daily basis with tons of cute pictures.

    Luckily the blog service I was using went our of business which allowed me to regain my senses somewhat, and then discontinue dumb kid-related blogging. To each their own though.