Friday, September 26, 2008

Hiding in Plain sight.

I read through so many blogs; blogs of people who have visited us; blogs of people a lot like us and some not like us. What I've found in too many of them is people hiding in plain sight. Some go so far as to not say their names or even use initials. They leave out where they live, where they're from, what they do or anything remotely able to identify themselves. Our own daughter doesn't want to be specifically identified on our blog. If we do it is to be only by her first initial (the same goes for those of our grandchildren). When she and her husband posted pictures of their son's t-ball practice they blurred out the names on their little t-shirts. So I went back and scrubbed their names out. What's next, blur out all of the faces like they do on Cops (not that I watch Cops, mind you!)

Sad. I'm sad that we live in that kind of world. I'm also perplexed as to what I feel I should do. Should I go back through all my posts and "scrub" them of all of our names? How do I share the wonderfulness of where I live without telling people where I live. How do I share about the wonderful people in my lives? Or should I rely on God, who says He is my protector and will always be with me? If I "scrub" up, I feel like I'm telling God that He can't protect me. If I just go on as usual, I feel like I'm thumbing my nose at the whoevers out there that are plaguing our world so much that we all run and hide from them. I feel like I'm challenging them to a duel. They have such a strangle hold on this world that we have to tell our stories and change the names to protect the innocent.

There's right and there's wrong. We all have rights, etc. But, as I once heard, "The right of right of way doesn't mean a thing until after you get out of the hospital."

What do you think?


Kimberly said...

Ah, this is a conundrum. I have purposefully only printed a rather out of focus picture of a young friend of mine because, in truth, he is not my child and I'm not sure if I should post his photo at all. I also only refer to people by their first initials. Most of these people have absolutely no idea that I am doing a blog/online journal and I would not want them to feel as though they had been "outed" or "endangered" in any way - they are pretty freaked out by the internet to start with..

Unfortunately, in the case of children, it becomes an even squishier issue because there are some sick puppies out in the "internet world", even more so than out in the real world because they feel safe to be sicker than sick in anonymity. Because the children and young adults that I am referencing on my blog are not actually my children, I do feel that I need to err on the side of caution. It's not my call, they aren't my kids.

As for the where I live and identification issues and so forth. I'm careful not to give too many specific details, but then again the specific details of where I live haven't had anything to do with my entries either. I don't think I would be comfortable posting my full name, address, a photo of my house, mapquest directions or the like... because I have been stalked in the past, I am very sensitive to issues of identification and privacy.. however, I also harbor no false belief that if someone was determined enough to "find me", they couldn't manage to do it. If someone wants something bad enough, they will get there.

I trust God to protect me, and He's done a fine darn good job of it always - even when I was certain that my own demise was imminent. I also feel like I have to try my best to respect the privacy and feelings about identification of all the other people involved in my life too who end up in posts on my blog - they didn't choose to do an online chronicle, I did... It's a fine line.

Lela said...

It's a bit of a dilema, but in the end for us, it was just a matter of being ourselves. When it comes to family, we ask permission before using pictures and use only first names, but when it comes to us, we're not quite so careful anymore. In our family's blog, at least.

When it comes to other sites (like Myspace and forums, etc), we prefer to be a little more careful - especially where our son is concerned.

Beyond that, we trust in God to take care of us and go with our instincts.

Hope this helps.

Irma said...

FIrst, I have to tell you how your blog made me laugh at myself tonight. I have been checking in daily to see if there was a new post, but that video is always at the top, so I would leave the site, thinking there was nothing new. Tonight (for whatever reason) I scrolled down slightly, and found four whole new posts to enjoy! That will teach me to not judge things so quickly, ha ha.

I, too, struggle with how much to reveal on the internet, especially as it relates to my child. On a
previous blog I kept, I used my real name and posted photos of my family, including my son, on a regular basis. But one day I just got a weird feeling about the whole thing.... I shut down that blog and started over, which is why the two most important people in my life are now referred to as "Husbandly One" and "Son."

If you are really considering the security issue, my advice to you would be to simply change everyone's names on the blog (look at me, assuming that the names you use really ARE your names, ha ha). The people from your church family who read the blog will still know exactly who you're referring to, but strangers will be just one more degree removed from your real life.

I love your blog because it is honest. But of you renamed yourself and all the kids? I would still feel your honesty, without being able to walk up to your children and perhaps lure them in to conversation, simply because I know their real names.

I'm not trying to scare you, I'm just telling you why I made the decision I did.

Irma said...

Oh, and one last thing: questioning your security on the internet is NOT the same thing as not trusting God to protect you. He always protects us, but I think He also expects us to do our share of the planning / thinking!