Too Much Information. A Mums Show Live Discussion.

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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  1. May 12, 2013 / 2:28 am

    Well that’s got me thinking…
    I decided not to use the names of my sons when I started my blog. They are 18 & 12 now and have their own accounts on social media but we are always careful not to link their accounts with mine so although I talk about them in my blog and show pictures there isn’t a direct link back to their real lives. I agree that it’s important to make them aware of ‘stranger danger’ from a young age and when they are online to keep certain information private. I chose to keep my every day life and my online identity separate except for a handful of family and close friends. Good luck with the event, I hope it goes well 🙂
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  2. May 10, 2013 / 9:05 pm

    Well done you for speaking on the panel, you will be fantastic, I’m sure. This is such an interesting subject and one that I have to admit I have skirted around in the past. It is hard to know how much information is too much and whether we are over-sharing our private lives with the big wide world. If I didn’t have photos of my children on my blog I would feel like I was cheating somehow – it’s all about them essentially so how could I not? I definitely agree you shouldn’t shout your full name, address, phone number from the roof tops but that’s just common sense really. I feel like society is moving more and more towards this ‘virtual sharing’ of people’s private lives. There will always be weirdos out there and sadly they are not just surfing online, they can find you anywhere (scary thought, I know). So I think, either lock yourself and your family away from the outside world forever or just get on with life being cautious and sensible with your family’s best interests at heart. xx
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  3. May 10, 2013 / 8:28 pm

    How exciting, sounds like a great event. I use my daughter’s initials on the blog – she’s only been mentioned in a post by name once. The blog is only four months old though ans she’s only two and a half so things may change 🙂
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  4. May 10, 2013 / 2:25 pm

    Hi V, well done you on getting to be a speaker on the panel! That’s brilliant. I’m one of those mums who are v careful about the anonymity of their children on my blog and don’t give names and always post photos (with one exception) that doesn’t show their faces. Its a big of a shame as it means you guys never get to see their faces and personalities (it does mean i have to be v creative with photography which is another passion of mine), but I’m thinking ahead here, in case they don’t want to be identified by their mates or in case some wierdo finds them on the internet plus their name. (I used ot work for a child rights organisation and we never gave the real names of children in publicity next to their photo).

    That said, I’m ALWAYS so careful about what I write about them, and others for that matter, with a golden rule that whatever I say is ultimately respectful or encouraging. I stress ultimately, as I may need to whinge about their behaviour sometimes, but I will always ensure I respect who they are and their precious selves (same with others I write about). That is my bottom line.
    I think we always have to remember that at the end of the day, EVERYTHING we write/post is there for the whole world to see forever. That is a bit scary, isn’t it, but we shouldn’t be guided by fear, so I feel its just imp. to be mindful of this for the sake of our children’s futures.
    Good luck, and let us know how you get on!
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  5. May 10, 2013 / 11:50 am

    fab post on a really good subject to discuss. I’ve been showing my kids off on the internet for years but it’s always been to a small number of people, now I’m a little more careful and I use nicknames, mainly because I wanted to include my older children and they don’t use their own names online so I figured I shouldn’t either. It is a personal choice though and I’m pretty sure if anyone wanted to find out my kids real names they wouldn’t have too much trouble.
    I do get a bit confused though, 5 kids, 5 names which I often get mixed up anyway, then 5 nicknames, jeez my old brain just can’t take it some days 😉
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  6. May 10, 2013 / 10:29 am

    How fab that you are on the speaking panel! I think this is a really pertinent topic given the current news topics, kidnappings etc. my hubby was and is quite adamant about no pics of the kids and being cautious on the blog about identifying where we are. At times of course it’s a hindrance and frustrating, but I’ve decided that it is my decision to blog, not theirs, so therefore I respect those wishes. It strikes me how lucky we all are to have managed to get to this ripe old age without weirdos in most of our lives, but crap happens to someone. I agree with you, I think that our culture of over-sharing will just become what we do, and perhaps it’s just a case of being mindful of other people’s privacy and of the things that may be potentially embarrassing beyond a light tease later on. Also, yes, weirdos will find you if they want to, but some just cruise, and ideally we don’t want to make it easier for them. I’ve also been scared off mentioning because of horror stories from my friend who is a therapist for abused children. It’s sad to be this scared. Sorry for the long comment!! #PoCoLo atcha!
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  7. May 10, 2013 / 8:27 am

    Times like this I wish I lived closer to London – have a brilliant time! I was an anonymous blogger for about 12 months and was so paranoid about the “weirdos out there” I didn’t even use pics. I’m a bit more relaxed now but still have my moments!
    Notmyyearoff recently posted..The WeekendMy Profile

  8. May 10, 2013 / 8:17 am

    Sounds like a great event and your chat sounds really interesting and something we should all think about. #pocolo
    Mummy of Two recently posted..Review – Plum Baby FoodMy Profile

  9. Laura Huggins
    May 10, 2013 / 7:30 am

    Fab Post. Does really make you think.

    Shame Cam isn’t school age otherwise I would have loved to come along

    Laura x x x

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  10. Dom
    May 8, 2013 / 2:28 pm

    excellent post V, thank you… SO looking forward to seeing you there… just over one week to go! Woo Hoo!

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