Wednesday, February 21, 2018

10 Incredibly Important Safety Precautions All Bloggers Should Take To Protect Their Kids Online

10 Incredibly Important Safety Precautions All Bloggers Should Take To Protect Their Kids Online #blogging #parenting #kids #onlinesafety #momblogger


Blogging has come so far since I first started sharing my family nearly a decade ago! There's no doubt that blogs are a big business now. But as parenthood blogs continue to gain popularity, it's becoming even more important to take safety precautions to keep children safe in this sometimes scary online world!

Just like every other topic, there are so many different opinions about blogging. Some people feel that blogs are simply a form of exploitation. There is some truth in that, but one could argue that the same goes for all forms of entertainment. Some family bloggers choose to blog without using their child's name or publicly showing their face. And others put it all out there for everyone to see. I don't think there's a right answer, though...just many shades of gray. As bloggers, we live in a constantly changing world, and we have to continuously evolve to adapt to it. 

As for me, I'm somewhere in the middle. I've been sharing my family for a very long time, and my mission became even more important when Liam was born, and we decided to show the world what Down syndrome was really like. I choose to share my family with all of you, but I do take important precautions to keep my family safe!

10 Incredibly Important Safety Precautions All Bloggers Should Take To Protect Their Kids Online


Don't advertise your last name.


Although a good amount of sleuthing will dig up plenty of information, it helps to publicly withhold your last name from your blog and your blog's social media pages. It's on a need to know basis for me, so I only share it with legit companies that I am collaborating with, and on my personal Facebook page.


Give a general location.


Giving out the exact location of where you live is unnecessary. It's much safer to generalize by giving a part of a state or a nearby city. You can still make connections very easily that way!


Use a different mailing address.


Part of blogging includes receiving items in the mail for review and checks for paid posts. I know some bloggers who open a P.O. Box to receive all mail related to their blog. The best solution for me is to use my name with a close family member's address (with permission of course).

Don't give out your schedule.


I know how tempting it is to share every single detail of your life, but try to keep things simple! It's okay to share the fact that you work five days a week or have soccer every Monday and Wednesday, but your audience does not need to know the exact time and place! The more general you keep it, the safer you will be!


Post on social media AFTER things happen.


We live in a fast-paced society that lives for instant interaction. One of the most important things I do as a blogger is to share my social media posts after we leave a location.  I don't tell my audience exactly where we will be ahead of time, and I share those special photos and details after we leave.

There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, like vacation or mandatory live social shares.  But even on vacation, I wait until we are back in our hotel room, house or condo before I share photos of what we did. And, thankfully, mandatory live social shares have only happened for events I attend alone!

A bonus perk to this rule? You can actually live in the moment with your kids instead of worrying about sharing a photo, a tweet, or a Facebook post while you're supposed to be having fun!


Don't share too many details.


Many bloggers are open books. I believe in being open and authentic with my followers, because I want them to know the real me. But I'm able to do that without sharing every single detail about my life with them!

For instance, I might share that Liam is having an endoscopy on March 16th, but I don't need to share the time, the location, the name of the doctor who will be performing the procedure, or where my other kids will be while we're gone. It is definitely possible to connect with the people who follow you, without giving out every intricate detail about you, your kids, or your life!

Pay attention to the details in the photographs you share.


Scrutinize your photos BEFORE you post them. It's so easy to post something without realizing your license plate, a street sign, or your last name appears in the photo! If you don't have another photo to use, it's incredibly simple to edit out letters and numbers, or do a creative crop!


Moderate those comments.


Many bloggers prefer for their commenting systems to be open to anyone and to be instantaneous, but blogging is a game of trial and error. What might work for one person may not work for another. And what once worked for you may stop working.

The harsh reality of blogging is that the bigger your blog or social media following becomes, the more likely you will receive a mean or disgusting comment. Sharing yourself or your family makes you a target to online bullies, stalkers and trolls. It is so important to remember that not everyone who reads your blog posts is a GOOD person, so you have to be careful about who to trust.

I do moderate my comments on my blog and on social media. Although the comments are positive and supportive 99% of the time, every so often a nasty one comes through. And when they do, I focus on the fact that *I* am in control. I either laugh at the pathetic comment and delete, or forward the comments to the appropriate authority figure. And, yes, I do that with comments I perceive to be a threat.


Talk to your kids about staying safe online.


Protecting your kids online isn't solely on your shoulders. We live in an online world, and kids need to learn the dangers at an early age. Simply talking to them about stranger danger isn't enough these days. NOW we have to talk to them about online dangers as well.

If you haven't already, I strongly encourage you to sit down with your child, no matter how old they are, and remind them of what to do in uncertain situations, both online and in the real world. Their safety may depend on it! But that still isn't enough - it's so important to go over those safety precautions regularly, and adapt them as your child grows!


Respect your child's wishes.


Your kids are on this blogging journey with you. As they grow, they may no longer want to be featured on your blog, or they may want to approve the content first. Although it's bittersweet to let something go, it's important to acknowledge the fact that your child has feelings and thoughts on the matter, too. In order to retain their trust and keep the peace, you have to respect your child's wishes.

Maintaining a family blog is hard work. You have to treat it like a business partnership, work together to make it run smoothly, and adapt as needed. Everybody in the family has to be in agreement to make it successful!

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I love my four kids with every ounce of my being, and I will take the necessary measures to keep them safe. Although these safety measures are working for the time being, I will adapt as needed. And if the moment ever comes when I would need to give up this blog to keep them safe, I would do it in a heartbeat. They matter more than anything else! 


10 Incredibly Important Safety Precautions All Bloggers Should Take To Protect Their Kids Online


How do you keep your child(ren) safe online, whether you are a blogger or just a mom sharing on social media?


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9 comments:

  1. These are really great tips and a great reminder to read through every now and then! Comment moderation is a big one for me because I have received some strange and disturbing things in my comments, for sure! And absolutely paying attention to the details in your photos! Thanks for sharing these reminders.

    Shelbee
    www.shelbeeontheedge.com

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  2. These are great reminders! I am open about who we are on my blog and it does worry me at times!

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  3. Awesome tips! I'm not a parent, but I still agree with a lot of what you said - especially with giving your kids a say on what content about them that is shared. I know that I don't tend to post pictures while I'm at place; it's easier and safer to wait until it's over.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  4. These are great safety precautions, Im suspicious of everyone by nature (lol) so keeping certain things private are non-negotiable.

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  5. Amen amen amen! Yes to every single one of these! One other thing that Brian and I did before I ever started my blog was to unlist ourselves from our local phone book. Even though I don't give out our last name or the exact city name where we live on my blog, I do say that we live in Georgia and these days with the crazy internet I'm sure somebody could do some research to find us if they wanted to. Since I unlisted us from our local phone book we were also unlisted from all of the websites like whitepages, and other phone directories. That gave me much more peace of mind going in to blogging knowing that our phone number and address wasn't on the internet for all to see!

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  6. I totally agree with posting things on social media AFTER the fact. We usually do that with trips just to be safe and so people don't know we aren't home.

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  7. These are some great tips that I wished I had thought through more carefully in my earlier years of blogging. A huge one for me is posting AFTER things happen. Sometimes it is hard to wait, but generally it is always worth it. I need to do a better job with some of these still.

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  8. These are great tips! So far Lewie enjoys my blog posts, but I agree that as he gets older, I will need to keep his wishes in mind. I hope there isn't ever a time that he wants me to stop altogether or to stop sharing posts about him. I completely agree with you, however. If there were ever a fear for our safety, keeping us safe is FIRST.

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  9. Oh man, so many great points. I have recently been re-evaluation my blog and my kids' presence on it...so many things to think about!

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I love hearing your thoughts and ideas! Let's connect!