Next week sees the first Exhibition for Mums Show Live which I believe will become an annual event. It promises to be packed full of exhibitors all geared towards families with school age children, namely the 4 to 12 year olds. There’s a great schedule of activities for everyone, a free goody bag for every adult and the chance for the children to meet Dora the Explorer and Peppa Pig to name two.
At this event I shall be on the panel of speakers in the Conversation Theatre on Friday 17th May. My topic conversation is Too Much Information – Are You At Risk?, which takes place from 4 to 4.45pm. A topic which I thought long and hard about before starting my blog. In fact, it was something that I took into consideration when starting my Facebook account after Grace’s father and I split up.
I am mindful that there are some really dodgy people out there who, given the chance, will find a way to try and corrupt someone. However, how protective do we need to be? Will my daughter get to the age of 13 and start bugging me for her own Facebook and Twitter account – or whatever other Social Media tool comes along – in order to
show off to communicate with her friends? Most likely, yes!
I have never hidden Grace’s name behind an pseudonym because I haven’t chosen or wanted to. To me – and everyone else – she is Grace, my 6 year old daughter. I am one of those people who thinks that, as long as I teach her to be worldly-wise and that not everyone out there is decent, she’ll be savvy enough to look out for her own well-being. This said, I am fully supportive of the people who do want to protect the identity of their children. I still make sure that Grace is in front of me when we are walking along a pavement and, if she is playing outside anywhere other than our garden, I will always make sure I am out there with her.
I wonder how Grace would have taken it had she been a teenager when I started this blog? With the fact that many of her peers may have access to it, she may have become either a celebrity or a laughing stock at school. This is something that I will take into account as she gets older, however, by that point I believe that my blog would have become a part of ‘what happens’. She already regularly asks me ‘Is this going on your blog?’ or ‘Is this because of your blog?’ so I believe when she gets into her teens – and as long as I am careful to respect her privacy – it will be a case of ‘it’s just Mum writing again!’
The world is a very different place now from when I was young (my goodness that makes me sound old!!) but there was no internet so less chance of people knowing all about you. But I love Facebook and what it has to offer. Of course, it has it’s downfalls – for me, one of the things I can’t stand is people whinging about things! – but on the whole it means that you stay connected to the people in your lives who really matter. We are looking at relocating in the near future and I am so pleased that my family will be able to keep up with us on Facebook. I love Twitter for the fact that it is so fast moving and something you said in a moment can either be picked up and spread around or forgotten in an instant.
Some mothers I know have chosen to start a Facebook account for their children (I am not going to get started on the accounts for pets!!). At first I felt it was a little silly but as times have changed I love how it has basically become the modern day baby book. It can document photos, first words, first haircuts and is an imprint on the internet there forever. Recently I wrote a poem about old photographs and how these have become forgotten memories where family members pale into insignificance and no one knows who they are anymore. With the wonder of modern technology this is now a thing of the past.
Recently there was a discussion on the Newbie forum over at BritMums where one of the blogger’s relatives was concerned about her revealing the identities of her child because of ‘the weirdos out there’. She explained that didn’t give their real names and was very mindful of the photos she put up. She asked for other peoples opinions on this. We all agreed that it was down to personal preference. One of the ladies came out with a pertinent point stating that if a weirdo really wanted to track you down then they would. Another blogger added that it will more likely be that our children will breach their own privacy on the internet, rather than us doing it for them but we – as internet-savvy users – would be able to guide them. Suzanne over at 3 Children and It has already written a post about her children’s indentities.
So what do you think of social media involving our children? I would love your opinion in my comments below. It will help me with my panellists role next week!
The Mums Show Live takes place from 16th – 19th May at Alexandra Palace in London. You can book discounted tickets using the code BLOGOFF at the ticket booking page.
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