Blogging and teenagers – you can’t win!

Ever since I started my blog eight years ago, it has always been a principle of mine not to identify my children on here. No doubt I’ve missed out on plenty of commercial opportunities as a result, but that’s not my priority. My priorities when blogging have always been to record stories for posterity, to share them with anyone who wants to read them and to keep my children safe.

I’ve never worried about paedophiles, but I worried about people they know reading the blog and being able to identify them and taking the p*ss. It’s hard enough going through puberty and the teenage years, without kids at school being mean (or just having ‘banter’) because your mum wrote about that argument you had with your brother, or even when you did something brilliantly. Because it’s just as embarrassing when your mum ‘shows off’ about you as it is when she criticises you, right?

Then earlier this year I had a blip when I wondered whether I should give up blogging about them at all because they’re all teenagers now and their stories are not mine to share. Since then, I have still shared stuff about them, but perhaps a little bit less than I would have done when they were younger. I’ve also opened up my blog to other parents to write honestly about parenting older children, because it can be so hard to be honest when your own kids and their friends are going to read what you write.

Fast forward a few weeks to when my son finished school. One of his friends had taken a nice photo of him with his girlfriend. I don’t have any photos of his girlfriend, even though they’ve been together for about 18 months. I asked if I could have the photo.

‘Are you going to put it on your blog?’

‘No.’

But he WANTED me to put it on my blog. All those years of being so careful to avoid identifying him and his siblings. All those years of the kids being wary of my blog and what it contained and there he was, at almost 18, suddenly wanting me to put a photo of him on the blog.

But it’s still my blog and my rules, so I won’t be sharing the photo. His girlfriend hasn’t given permission and nor have his siblings, who could be identified by him being identified. (OK, so they could also be identified by me being identified, so I didn’t even used to put pictures of myself on here.) That one photo could lead to an absolute field day for people he knows, who are suddenly able to unearth embarrassing stories from when he was 11.

Then a few days later, my younger son had his say.

‘When I’m 18, can you tag me in your photos on Instagram so I can get more followers?’

That’s still over two years away, but again my instinct is to say no. My Instagram leads to my blog, leads to those embarrassing stories from when he was 8. This is a boy who hates to see photos of himself from before the age of about 14 and has avoided having friends round in the past for fear they might see photos of him around the house.

But it just goes to show that teenagers are unpredictable creatures. You think you’re doing your best for them, but they may have other ideas…

Teenage boy, Teenager, Teenagers and blogging, Blogging, Blogging and teenagers you can't win

 

Author: Sarah Mummy

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6 Comments

  1. Oh it’s funny isn’t it, us parents will never get it right will we? I have taken the opposite approach to you because my girls were a lot younger when I started. That said, they are very aware of it now and LOVE being on my blog. If they change their minds as they get older I’ll be happy to remove their names and anonymise everything. For now though, they view it as a great opportunity to do exciting things that their friends don’t get to do and they’re happy with that.
    Nat.x

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    • It’s lovely that your girls enjoy being part of your blog and they get all the fantastic opportunities they do. I never even gave my kids a choice whether or not they wanted to be a part of it. My eldest was just going into year 6 when I started and I felt his friends (and people from school who weren’t friends) would be perfectly able to google stuff by then and I didn’t want to give them ammunition.

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  2. My kids used to complain about being in my blog, now get upset as adults if I don’t talk about them and share photo’s. As my blog is linked to my instagram and facebook page, I’ve lost a lot of freedom and privacy to blog openly as when the kids or my husband comment on the posts, all their friends can then see exactly where I am and what I’m doing. The sad thing is most don’t actually comment to me, they tell one another what I’m up to as if they’re trying to catch me out. My mum even started an instagram account for fear of missing out on anything, they also read just the intro to my blog posts then create a drama around the topic without reading the content. I wish I’d been able to keep mine separate.

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    • That does sound difficult! I stopped sharing blog stuff on my person FB once my eldest turned 13. I don’t specifically share blog stuff on my Instagram either (although the URL is on my bio) because my kids follow my Instagram, so I’m not going to be saying ‘check out my latest post’ on the Instagram.
      I did actually block a couple of my husband’s colleagues on Twitter back on the day, because I felt they were stalking me and then talking to my husband about me.

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  3. I have adopted the same approach Sarah to ensure my teens’ privacy is protected and I think that is true of most of us parenting through the older years. I use their experiences as writing material but don’t tend to share their personal stories.
    Your safe place to blog spot is a great resource for those who want to.

    Post a Reply
    • I think you do a better job of keeping your kids’ identities secret than I do. If someone was REALLY bothered, they could put a lot of work in and work out who my kids are, but I hope that nobody has that much time to fill!
      I love my safe space blogging, but it hasn’t taken off as well as I had hoped. After getting three posts submitted in a week, I thought it would do really well, but then it dried up! Hopefully people will know that it’s always here when they need it.

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