Jane & Alexander: Disguising Your Children Online

First off, I’d like to welcome all the SITS girls. If you don’t know what SITS is, you should, go read about them over there. They’re cute and they’re saucy and they understand the import of women joining together.

I digress.

When I run into girlfriends about town then say to me, “I read your blog, who is Alexander?” “My son.” I say. They stare at me blankly, puzzled.

Despite the fact that this blog is just a few months old, I am not new to the realm of Mommy Blogging. There are many reasons to disguise your children, and they vary with age.

Infancy: New mothers are paranoid. My baby will be broken/stolen/misplaced/mishandled. New mothers don’t blog much anyhow because new mothers are exhausted. New¬† mothers who blog (including Binary Blonde) are totally intimidating to me, I think they might be Stepford Wives and I’m terribly jealous.

Toddlerhood: I’m at the park. A lot. I’m thinking that an adult conversation wouldn’t kill me, but I forget to use my big girl voice. There’s a fenced in area, but the standard creepy guy is nearby. Stranger danger doesn’t mean a thing to a 3 year old, so not posting the kids’ names near the pictures just makes sense. It’s not paranoid if the voices in your head speak Latin too.

School Aged: My eldest is 10 and in a few short years she’ll be looking for a job. I’m hopeful that whomever would hire her would do a quick google search and see if she’s on Facebook, Myspace or has any accolades or problems online. I also know that anyone doing a job search would find my blog and her name. Is it fair for me to make my children’s first impressions for them?

My reason for being to to raise kind, smart and independent children. I can’t do that by telling the world their life story before they have a chance to do it themselves. Moving forward to the teenage years I recommend disguising your children at least a little, because they’re going to hate you, and giving them a reason to would be a pity.

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Comments 51

  1. Great post! I use “BusyBoy” and “GigglyGirl” for my 5 year old twins online names. I am contemplating using real fake names starting in the new year instead of obvious fake names. I just cannot decide what to name them online.

  2. I too have really struggled with just how much real info I want to let go on my blog. It can be too difficult to constantly keep everything a secret, but you have made many good points about how others can instantly find loads of info on a 4 year old…

  3. Jessica, I remember when you mentioned before that you do not use your children’s real names, which prompted me to try and come up with something to call my children on my blog. I have to agree how important it is to not put your children’s names due to the safety of their physical body and their social life. You actually have inspired a new post, as I have been waivering on what to call the kiddos, and finally took up the discussion with my hubby.

  4. Pingback: What is in a name? « Chemistry of Joy

  5. it’s a personal choice for sure. no right or wrong, more what works for your family.

    the news on my teens is that we have lines that are not crossed. i post nothing without their consent.

    their world is online. they reveal way more than i do about themselves but much less than many of their friends. you would be surprised how they embrace my blog and enjoy being on it. of course my daughter has deemed her life more interesting.

    as far as the job search? the whole generation will cause HR to shift what is acceptable for there is no way to put the information genie back in the bottle.

  6. I keep my last name, but husband and son’s first names off the blog. As you know, I have also kept by profession off as well… that I am still debating about.

    Love the blog!!!

  7. I haven’t really thought much about it. Up to this point, it’s been mostly my family and close friends (who know that information anyway) reading my blog. Guess I should think about it now, tho’.

  8. I enjoy the way you write!

    I will have to disagree with keeping things ‘secret’ online…

    If one wants, one can google and find birth records, driving records, criminal records…

    we can find phone numbers, lost friends, and pizza.

    I feel posting the ‘real’ name of my kids, hubby (who’s business is also completely internet-based) is safe.

    But I ALWAYS appreciate a cautious Momma…it is our job to protect these treasures….

  9. That was good information. I have been blogging since summer and came up with blog names for my kids. I really didn’t know why I did, but something about it just made me feel better. I am glad you posted this, because it enlightened me as to why I made the decision I made!!

    New to SITS. Glad I came over.

  10. congrats on your saucyness :)

    i totally agree with the disguised kiddies. everyone on my site has a “fake” name, except, i’ve been blogging for over 2 years now and the blog names are starting to stick! oh well!!

  11. Um, I have an infant and I blog, even though I’m exhausted. I have an addiction, clearly.

    Anyway, that last point is an excellent one. I’m going to remember that one when my kids are teenagers, if I haven’t gotten sick of the internet by then.

  12. Thanks for the nod my way! Of course I agree with your assessment. I’ve always felt that no one should be “outed” on a blog with their proper name unless they give you their permission. Anyone with half a brain can Google-stalk nowadays, so it’s better safe than sorry.

  13. Yep–that’s why I am “The Mom,” they are “my son” and “my daughter”, and no faces are ever shown. They still say I am “stalking” them by writing about the details of their lives, though! As long as it is all anonymous, they seem to be ok with it–or at least they roll their eyes and know at least no one will know it is them!

  14. I don’t have any children and no means of requiring them (I’m single and celibate), but I already have ideas on what my children’s blog names will be when I have them. It’s not like it’s as serious of a decision of what their ACTUAL names will be. Is that weird? Probably. Feel free to ignore this comment.

    Congrats on being saucy this week!

  15. Well… I blog about my baby ON AND ON (I’m not a Stepford mom, more someone who needs this outlet to rant at times)… Haha! But I do hear you, and I think it is a legitimate concern. :)

  16. I am so enamored of your blog right now. This particular topic is one I would love to pick your brain about because you bring up some germane points at the crux of a couple of “exploitation” issues being bantered about out here.

    I’m of two minds about the whole thing and am working on a piece about it, and speaking to psychologists and therapists. The problem I am coming up against though is the fact that using public online media to chronicle our various journeys through motherhood is so new that there really is no data or accurate history by which to say conclusively; “Yes, you’re messing up your kids by sharing their youths with the world…”

    I do believe in privacy and guarding against those who, for lack of better terminology, get off on looking at innocent photographs of little kids.. but unfortunately have learned in my previous life as radio and voice talent that if someone wants to find you badly enough, they will, and that most certainly extends to the blogosphere too.

    This issue really is double-edged. The more I talk about it, the more I want to talk about it. Make sense?

  17. Congrats to being so saucy. Very interesting post. I have disguised my little guys name in one blog, but not the other. Still undecided as to whether or not I want to change it there too.

  18. Congratulations on being a “Saucy” blog this week. I love SITS–I am meeting so many great bloggers. I hear you about the names and kids….so scary these days. You just can’t be too careful. Sigh.

  19. I just joined SITS today–you are my first saucy blog! I love telling stories about my kids–they are such a huge part of my life of course–but I have code names for them and my hubby.

  20. Protecting your kids online by masking their names is actually very thoughtful. Most people of all ages don’t realize what they’re disclosing when the post something online, and I’d say that’s particularly true of teens who are so active on the net.

  21. I don’t do pics or real names on my blog, but somehow those who know me personally and leave comments, find a way to throw them in there! Delete!

    Can your Jane and Alexander, and my Munchkin and Daughter (gotta come up w/ something clever for her) have a playdate – we’ll meet in the park w/ sunglasses and wigs.

    P.S. – I already knew you were saucy, Jess. ;-)

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