Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Why I've decided to open up and share my children's names online.

I've been writing Us Two Plus You for over four years now. Back when I first started writing I made the decision to not share any child's name on the blog. Having been through some child protection training it was something I felt very strongly about.

Recently I have found myself wondering if maybe I was wrong. For years now I have called my son D on here and I have been sharing S's life for the last year too. I've spent a lot of time editing, blurring and removing parts of photographs to avoid showing Simon's neck tattoo which contains D's name. I've edited and re-edited posts that just don't sound right with a hole lot of letters dotted here and there. However I have not been so strict on social media, considering my Instagram and Twitter accounts are used both personally and for our blog. It means that I am sharing their names quite a bit. I didn't set out with that intention but it has just some how happened. 

Over the past four years our online lives have changed, as have we and I am very aware that many bloggers choose to not share their child's name online and I am of the firm belief that this is choice each person has to make alone. I have searched online for posts from bloggers who made a this decision and decided to change it. I found very little and so I have put it off and put it off. It's been there in the back of my mind, a little niggle that keeps me wondering.

As I write this I still wonder which is really right. However once this decision is made and this post goes live it will really show us to the world. D is five and he knows that I write about him here on Us Two Plus You, he knows we use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and he knows that he is online in some form. He asks a fair bit now to write his name. His own name which he knows how to spell and recognise and I've fobbed him off. I haven't missed his disappointment in the little second straight after. He's proud. He knows what his name is, he understands that it is his and that is what we want the world to know him as. That was why we agonised over his name in the months before he was born. It's why we did the same with S and it seems absurd that now we hide it away from that very world.

What you might notice if you look back however is that we have shared his name, here and there. We shared it at Christmas inside a special personalised book, we've shared it countless times online and it's been just hidden enough for people to not realise. You see it's hard to feel so proud of a name but to be so worried of what we hear in the news. You've seen the stories and worried for the children and parents of terrible deeds. It's true that we as parents in 2018 need to be very aware of the online world and we need to protect our children as best we can. Keeping things private and being aware of what we share and where we share it is so important that there are courses on how to do it well and safely. We see it every day, notices to not share names, addresses, numbers and anything else that can identify us. 

We're careful, we don't share too much about where we live, of course we share our local area but we live in a big city with a whole lot of space and a whole lot of houses. We share photos of us all as a family and some alone. We're careful not to include any information on the school D attends nor share any child who's parents may not want to be here for the world to see. I do this even on all my personal accounts. It's important that some things stay offline.

 I'm sure as both children get older and join the real online world that they will make their own decisions on what to share and we will guide them as best we can but for now that decision is ours. Simon and I have talked for hours on how this could change things, on how we should protect them but also about what is out there. What we do share and how we share it. As it stands there is only one place that we don't actually share their names and that is here.  

It's taken us months to come to this decision and for me to get my own confidence up enough to write this post and decide that we are ready to share both our children's names with you. 


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