If you’ve spent any amount of time following us–whether here on The Touring Camper blog or over on our social media channels–you probably couldn’t help but notice the lack of pictures of our three kids. The few pictures of them that we do put up are usually of their backs or they have their face obscured in some way. You probably have also noticed that we don’t use their real names on the website. And I’m sure by now you’ve figured out that this is all intentional. 🙂
This post has been a long time coming. For the last four years I’ve avoided writing it because it’s a touchy topic about an extremely personal decision that every family has to make for themselves–whether they have a blog or not. And it’s a decision that will look different for each family.
It’s not that we don’t want to share our three incredibly adorable and delightful children with you. Because there have been so, so many times we wanted to. But when Jarrett and I launched this website four years ago, we intentionally made the decision not to make our kids a recognizable part of The Touring Camper. At the time that was partly because we were approved foster parents attempting to adopt an older child, and we couldn’t share pictures of her online–thus not sharing any of the kids faces or names just made things simpler. (That situation is a long story that sadly ended when the court decided to return her to her biological family.)
We were also reluctant to share photos of our children in such a public way due to concerns we had about complete strangers knowing their names, faces, and other personal information that could put our children in a compromising position. But ultimately, the reason we have limited what we post of our children is that we wanted to guard their privacy until they were old enough to decide for themselves how much of “them” they want to share with the online world.
For our family, this has been the right decision. But that doesn’t mean we think parents who post pictures of their children are making the wrong decision for their family. In fact, we love following the adventures of so many families who share pictures of their beautiful children as well as anecdotes about family life. Less Junk More Journey, The Mayes Team, Crystal Paine at Money Saving Mom, and Ann Voskamp are just a few of the names that come to mind.
Ultimately, each family must decide for themselves what route to take. If you are grappling with how much of your children to share online, you might want to listen to a podcast Young House Love released last year dedicated to this topic. John and Sherry used to share pictures of their children on their incredibly successful blog, but then an encounter with a well-meaning fan gave them pause. Nowadays they are taking a much more conservative approach to what pictures they share online of their two children. They interviewed several bloggers who all approached this topic in different ways, and they had a lot of great food-for-thought for both sides of the fence.
Additionally, here are some other resources related to the subject:
- This article from Today talks about “digital kidnapping” and how to protect your family.
- A Guardian piece addresses the “sharent” trap.
- An Atlantic piece discusses how to protect kids in the age of sharenting.
- A blogger talks about why she doesn’t share photos of her kids.
- An NPR piece looks at children’s online privacy.
- A study cautions parents about the potential harm from oversharing children on social media.