My blog started life as a bit of a pastime. Those early days saw me average around 3 loyal readers each week – 2 of my lovely friends, Amy and Jude, and the occasional American searching the Internet for popcorn recipes.
I had no idea what I was doing or where it was all going.
Two things were certain though.
The first was my all-consuming desire to write.
And the second….the second was that my blog would not involve my children.
I would speak of them of course.
I would speak of how much I adore them and also of how they often drive me to drink in the afternoon.
But I wouldn’t share photos of them, or publish their names.
At this juncture I want to stress that I am not criticising bloggers who make photos of their children public. Many of my lovely blogger buddies share wonderful photos of their beautiful children. That decision is theirs to take and absolutely none of my business.
For me it was the unknown. The possibility of my children’s photos ending up in far-flung corners of the Internet. Corners I would never see. Corners that were dark and unthinkable.
The idea of putting an image of my children out into the public domain and, at that very instant, losing all control of where it goes, who sees it, who uses it, is a frightening one to me.
Refusing to let my mind wander further into that trend of thought, I’ve held firm to my decision to keep the kids out of this as much as I can.
Over and above my (quite possibly irrational and unfounded) fears was a more important consideration. Whether or not to post pictures of their little faces….well that isn’t really up to me.
My children are very young (7, 4 and 1). They do not have the capacity to appreciate the sheer scope of the Internet and its monstrous potential (for good and harm).
Even if my eldest child said she was fine with me posting photos of her online, at 7 years old does she really understand what she’s consenting to? Of course not. A child cannot possibly understand the digital world enough to make an informed choice on the matter.
And so, I won’t make that choice for them.
You will see the backs of their heads, the occasional side profile or blurry shot. You will not see their little faces or their beautiful smiles. You will not be certain of their names.
I’ve had to turn down opportunities to work with companies on the grounds that they needed me to involve my children in their campaigns.
I can live with that. My ambitions for this blog lie elsewhere.
And so, for now, this is a parenting blog without the kids.
I want to shelter them for a while longer. I want to keep them out of this digital world for as long as I can.
It’s not always a nice place to be.