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"Murphy was an optimist!"

I do blog the kids lives June 13, 2007 10:24 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Blog, Daily Life, Publishing
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Jon has decided against live blogging his children’s lives. I like how he phrased that-"live blogging" their lives. As I post our adventures, I had never thought of it that way before. I spent some time replying to his post and since it was so lengthly thought I should repost it here.

I watched my great Aunt, an English teacher from the College of William and Mary and a world traveler, lose her latter years of her life to Alzheimer’s*. There are stories of my childhood I have been told but have either grown fuzzy or gained exaggeration over the years and the keepers of those stories have either passed or are living far away. My mind falters from time to time even today (mostly due to stress). I never heard a single story of my grandfather’s experiences at Normandy or my other grandfather’s at the chemical weapons plant in Kentucky.

I record my family’s time together and the special events in the children’s lives for prosperity. A journal they can return to view later in life. Is it folly to think that a WordPress application will work 15 years from now? Yes, but something will import the data or maybe some antique computer will rest in grandpa’s garage for the purpose of story telling. Shoot, Oregon Trail is like 35 years old and is still going! I find it nice to be able to return to dates and times and see the events that influenced our moments.

Privacy? It slips further away everyday. Between AT&T becoming the evil empire, AOL dishing over search engine queries, the swipe of your credit card or request for id putting you at a place and a time, Google Street Maps, and the hundreds of cameras that film you daily (from street corners, convenient stores, satellites, gas pumps, ATMs, cashiers, camera phones and others), our lives are recorded whether we want them to be or not. The stories I tell online I would tell in person or even in print in the hometown newspaper. Maybe I’ve gone out of line a couple of times but nothing that is going to keep my children from job opportunities or earn them embarrassing nicknames.

The stories create bonds between other people with children. It’s nice to know that your child isn’t the only one that at 10 years old lost all common sense. In a sense though, a mommie blog or a daddy blog can start to look like one of those family vacation slide shows where you as the guest have to endure the kathunk kathunk of monotonous slide after slide while family laughs at memories and inside jokes with you staring at out of focus strangers. If anything, that could be a reason to not live blog the children’s lives.

I would not be so presumptuous as to try to influence your decision one way or another. That’s personal. It could be over safety or privacy (as you stated). This is just why I do it. And we have dared to be so bold as to let the 3 older children each have their own blog with their own domain name. Our reasoning for doing such outweigh the safety concerns of the dropped chin people we tell "sure, they each have their own blog."


*Several readers may be quick to note that I didn’t personally interact with Aunt Mary in her final days (or years even). Her passing was impactful none-the-less. There was one Christmas we drove her from Richmond, VA to Norfolk Beach with Dad behind the wheel, Aunt Mary riding shotgun, and me in the backseat (was Dean there? Yes, I think he was).

Aunt Mary looks back at me/us and asks Dad, "Who are they?"
Dad replies, "Those are my illegitimate children."
Aunt Mary exclaims, "The bastards!"

It was riotous and a sad sign of what was ahead with confusion like turning on the stove top to wash dishes.

I have an essay I want to write soon explaining why I am less concerned with online privacy, why online pictures of the children (geotagged even) are not dangerous, why having the children get involved in online publishing and social networks at an early age can be good for their futures and careers, and how the media scaring the public for revenues is hurting technological advancement.

Update: See the media puts unreal fear into us evoking "protect kids from online predators"

The next time someone starts telling you how important it is to “protect kids from online predators,” send them to this record of the DC Internet Caucus panel on kids and predation, wherein quantitative social scientists describe the real situation with predators and kids. Kids do get preyed upon, but not in the way that it’s depicted in the media, and none of the cell-phone-tracking, spyware-installing fear-based parenting does squat to protect them.

…first fact is that the predominant online sex crime victims are not young children…

It’s also interesting that deception does not seem to be a major factor. …The offenders lure teens after weeks of conversations with them, they play on teens’ desires for romance, adventure, sexual information, understanding, and they lure them to encounters that the teams know are sexual in nature with people who are considerably older than themselves….

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1. Cathy - June 13, 2007

Send me on a trip somewhere and I’ll post a zillion posts that aren’t about my children. When my entire world revolves around the children, their life IS my life.

2. Geotrotter - June 14, 2007

I added here the most amazing Street View.

3. jonathan hickman - June 14, 2007

Doug – I called it “live-blogging” to differentiate between kinds of blogging. I didn’t mean that I wasn’t going to mention kids again, I just meant that I have to work not to sit on the computer and keep a running journal of what’s going on.

And I also have to be very aware that H,J, & E are my step-kids, and they have a father who lives near you and is very active in their lives. Also, I’m still trying to find the right amount of blogging I can do in their lives – blogging about them vs my role as a step-dad to them.

And you can bet I’ll be blogging about baby Charlotte more than anyone will want to read. 🙂