Parenting

Do the children of writers have a right to privacy?

This morning on Twitter, the writer Jenny Colgan linked to this story in the Daily Mail.

Supposedly an article on how even young girls suffer from self-doubt and trying to live up to an unreachable beauty ideal, the author tells of finding her six year old daughter’s diary and reading it. She finds to her horror that the diary is full of self-critical observations.

She admits that it is wrong to read her daughter’s diary, completely missing the much larger betrayal of writing about her daughter’s intimate feelings and fears, then publishing it in a nationwide newspaper.

Great way to boost your daughter’s self-esteem – write it up for all her friends to read and laugh at. It is an astonishing betrayal of trust.

It got me thinking about how much writers and bloggers share – and we do often overshare – and how much privacy our families have the right to.

When I include pictures of my children in my blog, I use ones in which they are not instantly recognisable. I have been thinking that some of my earlier blog posts should be deleted – when I started blogging it was only for family and friends so this was not a concern.

Some bloggers use names for their children and husbands. I did when I started blogging but – and don’t take offence at this, it is just my personal feeling – I found it unbearably twee to write about MademoiselleLindt or PetitMonsieur. So I use the impersonal “my son, my daughter, my husband”.

Obviously it depends on the theme of your blog. A typical “mummyblogger” will include more photos of her children and stories of her family life than someone who has a techie blog. I try to put a photo in each post as it makes the blog more attractive, so it can be a challenge finding the right picture to illustrate what I am talking about. If all else fails, there is always google images.

I do wonder though, what becomes of the mummybloggers when their children grow up. Right now they have no objection to the amusing anecdotes that I share on my blog, but I can see that as my daughter moves towards puberty that this will change.

There are very few mothers of teenagers blogging – or have I just not noticed them? Or perhaps when the children are older, the mothers are simply less involved in the details of the childrens’ daily lives, so move on to blogging about other interests.

What do you think? How much sharing is good, where is the border to overshare?