Friday, June 06, 2008

Oh, Privacy

At toddler group this week, I was asked by another mother if I would help her with a feature she writes for a magazine. She wanted to hear the birth stories of mothers in their 20s and I agreed to tell her my experiences in giving birth to Littlest. I didn't think much of it, especially as I'd been mentioned in a different magazine about Oldest's pregnancy. Besides the main description of Littlest's birth, I was asked to write about a funny moment that occurred... what I wished I'd known before labour had started... and to include a sentence about how my husband felt at any of the stages of labour or delivery. I was to include a photograph. Not too difficult. I told N about it, and he was appalled. He said he refused to have his name published and wouldn't agree to have his photo printed in a magazine.

I knew N had issues about privacy before, but I didn't realise they were this strong. It's the reason I never post photos of N or even say his real name. Turns out that if you google his name, he doesn't exist. Which is exactly what he wants. Before he mentioned it, it turns out that if you googled my name, anyone would be able to find my birthdate and the town I live in. With further digging, you can find this blog and other websites that I visit regularly. And it's probably more information that is safe in this day and age. So, I've done what I can to erase myself from the internet.

What are your feelings about privacy and the safety of your personal information on the Internet? Do you use your full name? Your full date of birth? What about children's safety? Do you use their real names? Post photos of them? Do you worry about who is looking at this information and what they do with it? Do you reckon people who do worry about this type of thing are overly paranoid? Let me know your thoughts.


  1. Real name, yes. And I appear all over, if googled, too.

    Daughters real name, NO.

    Where I live, NO. But a lot of websites have trackers which show it anyway.

    So, yeah. Is it any different than being in the phone book? Probably not... That's my theory.

  2. In general, I try to sensor personal information, but it's a little hit or miss.

    I use my real name, it's actually pretty common, if you goggle me, you get 1770 results, and none of the first 10 are me. I decided to make my blog by invitation only after pressure from some extended family members, they felt it was important for Julia. Why not. I don't need people who don't know me to see my blog. But I know there are people who would like to see it, that I know, who are not quite clever or bold enough to get through my screening process.

    I try not to post contact information or information about where I live specifically. I try to make sure all my social networking sites require approval before people can see my pictures and profile. You might be able to find my DOB if you tried real hard. Not sure.

  3. I've tried to make sure that my address isn't easily found although I know it can be (because I have found it). I've recently started to not use my kids names, although I post photos and stories. I honestly think that no matter how careful we are, it is much to easy to find names, phone numbers, addresses, etc. I think that there is so much information out there, so why would anyone single me out? It's a tough line.

  4. i used to google myself and come up with articles i wrote when i was working for the news. funny you should ask this because i scared myself recently -- i googled myself and a whole BUNCH of stuff came up! I have mentioned my kids names before but i usually use nicknames.. and i do post pictures, but i don't use my address or any other personal information although i am afraid that one could find it anyway. yikes! when i think about this too much i get all nerved out.

  5. I don't use my real name online, at least I've never used my family name. If I google myself, all I find is that there are plenty of other people with my same name, which is kind of boring but I suppose makes it harder to single me out. ??
    I generally do keep mostly anonymous and don't really post crucial personal info. Where I live in terms of city is obvious but not the address, for example. I don't have kids but I do have some friends who do who worry about this too, especially regarding photos.

  6. It's a hard issue to deal with. I don't use my last name, but my children's pictures are on my blog. I've often thought about removing them, but since I don't give out any personal information figure it's ok.


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