Should you show your children on your blog?


As a parent blogger, one of the first – and most important – decisions you need to make is whether you will show your children’s faces on your blog. It’s important to decide upfront because removing your kids’ faces from the Internet when you’ve been blogging for several months or years can be a difficult and time-consuming process.

Anonymity can take several forms. Some bloggers use photographs of their children, but don’t reveal their names, using pseudonyms or initials instead. Other bloggers don’t use photos of their children at all, and don’t reveal their own true names and identities online. Here, one such blogger, Sandy from Baby Baby, explains why she doesn’t identify herself or her children on her blog: 

sandy calico

Sandy writes:

When you start blogging you have to decide what you are going to reveal and what you are going to keep private.

I decided early on to use pseudonyms for myself, my husband and our children. I’m sorry to disappoint anyone who still doesn’t know, but my boys aren’t really called Presley and Cash.

I love to illustrate a blog post with a photograph, but you won’t see my children’s faces online anywhere. There are plenty of photographs of the backs of their heads, in fact we take too many of their hair just in case I need a snap for my blog.

I’d love to show the world how gorgeous they are, but something stops me. It’s not necessarily a fear of perverts looking at them or of someone downloading and stealing the images for an advert on the side of a bus in Eastern Europe. These things do happen, but rarely.

My most popular blog post is ‘My Old Man’. This isn’t because it’s the best piece I’ve written – although it is –  but because the photograph of my father regularly comes up on Google image searches. I’m flattered that an Italian photographic site is using the picture as an example of how to take portraits. My late father can’t complain either.

Ultimately, what stops me publishing photographs of my boys is me being possessive. I don’t want to share them with strangers. Yes, I take them out of the house, other people do see them, but I have control of the situation. Once something is online, it’s there forever and it’s out of your control. For now I’ll keep my children to myself.

What do you think? Do you share your children’s names and images on your blog? How about your own? And how did you decide what was the right approach for your blog, and your family?

Sally Whittle is founder of the Tots100, Foodies100, Trips100 and the Flea Retreat. When she's not working, she can be found blogging at Who's the Mummy, or having fun with her 13 year old daughter, Flea.

Discussion21 Comments

  1. Super Amazing Mum

    All of us have pseudonyms – I am not really called S.A.M with a husband called H.A.W and 3 kids called Beansey, BoBo and Pixie…..

    I am very aware of the internet being a scary place – when I was in a national competition my childrens names were slagged off on a forum by horrible, horrible people saying that with names like that, they should be dead.

    We adore our kids real names but I would never want to jeopodise their future – eg I blogged about pigeon porn and that would be ample fodder for a future bully to rip it out of my kids…….also a reason why I don’t blog about personal things such as relationships etc etc

    I do use their real names in blogger.ed and introudce them at blogger events by their real names. Maybe I shouldn’t…..

    I do however use our photographs. I hadn’t really thought about that…hmmm something to think about now….

  2. I’m totally transparent in every way 🙂 I use all our real names, publish tons of photos, link to my personal Facebook and have freely used the name of my village, nearest town, the OH’s school, my full details are on Whois, you name it. It makes it so much easier for the hot air balloons who threaten me with lawyer’s letters to find me – tho funnily enough none of them ever have… 😉

    I pretty much blog the way I preach to my children. Don’t put anything online you’re not willing to stand by and have people read long after you’ve changed your mind.

  3. I generally don t use my children’s names on my blog, but there isn’t any particular reason for it. My hubby has asked not to be named so I don’t. But I don’t have any problems with using their pictures – they love to see themselves online and I don’t see any harm in the type of photos that I use.

    I want to show my children that the Internet is not something to be feared, but to be used responsibly. I am happy to show my face and I am happy to show their faces.

  4. I don’t use any of our real names on my blog but I have now and then put up photos where you can see the faces of my children. Most are from their point of view where you see over their shoulder or just see their backs. Some are full on face photos because of the expression they pull need to be shared. I don’t believe that you should put up a photo of someone else’s child without their express permission (even if it is in a public place – a common defence from most photographers.) I’m happy sharing what I share and feel that I have a definite gap between the real world and the web world. I guess it’s up to you and how comfortable you are in sharing your family with an unknown audience.

  5. Mummy’s pretty wary of the internet, but it’s Daddy that really doesn’t trust it at all. They too take photos of the back of my head for the blog, but will allow my eyes at the moment, thinking I probably won’t look like that in a few weeks time.
    A beautiful post about your father, Sandy.
    And I’m so disappointed that your boys aren’t called Presly and Cash! Ha ha!

  6. SAM, I’m shocked that people on a forum could be so nasty! I’m not going to ask about the pigeon porn!! I censor what I write about, but have never had to stop myself writing about that 🙂

    Nikki, “Don’t put anything online you’re not willing to stand by and have people read long after you’ve changed your mind.” Yes, I totally agree.

    Chatty Baby, thank you for the kind words. A lot of people are disappointed that we weren’t brave enough to call the boys Presley and Cash!

  7. I am one of these VERY disappointed people who can’t believe your boys aren’t called Presley & Cash 😉 I call my daughter Chick online be that on FB, the blog or Twitter. I do have a few blogging FB friends but ones that I’ve met at events and presume won’t stalk me!!! I do use pictures of her but I’m very careful to not mention our home town, her school or my workplace. One good thing about having a popular name is that it’s hard for people to find anything relating to me on Google!!! xx

  8. I am with you on this one, althought there are a couple of photos with a full face shot. I tend to only add a photo if i think it warrants it. Perhaps when they are older and if i am still blogging it will be different as i can ask them what they think\what…

  9. It’s a really good talking point. I put pictures of Amy on my blog but I do stay aware of the dangers. I don’t have any pictures of her on Facebook (I don’t think) but I guess I’ve always preferred to keep my blog open. I think a lot of people know now that my real name isn’t Crystal Jigsaw even though I do still get addressed as Crystal. I prefer to talk openly about Amy because of her autism and I feel it’s very important to raise awareness of it.

    I’ve just recently seen a tweet about someone who’s posted photos of her children on her FB account. The children were naked. One is 7 years old. I most definitely draw the line at that and would never dream of posting a picture of Amy unless she was fully clothed.

    CJ xx

  10. I think I mentioned my daughters and wifes names a few times on my blog but then decided to refer to them by monikers (the munchkin and the wife).

    The wife and I did, however, decide from day one that we would not put pictures of the munchkin online in the public domain.

  11. I don’t think it’s being possessive – it’s because they can’t give their consent to their picture being in the public domain. I don’t think we, even as parents, have the right to decide this for them. In the same way I do not reveal my son’s name and photo on twitter – although our westie Bella loves the limelight!

  12. I post pictures of my two but I don’t use their real names.

    I’ve gradually got more relaxed about anonymity – when I first started blogging i didn’t show pictures of the kids and I didn’t even share my own name (I used to be called Magic Mummy. To be honest though, that was more because no one I know in real life knows that I blog so I was concious that I didn’t want anything out there that could identify us to them.

    I think it’s a very personal decision and to me, there’s no right or wrong answer.

  13. Debbie, I wish I didn’t see the internet as something to be feared! Perhaps I need to work on that.

    Blending Time, I totally agree about other people’s children. I would go mad if that happened to me!

    Emma, I know you were disappointed about the names! I think you have to find what is right for you and your family x

  14. Frankie, yes, until they can decide I am erring on the side of caution.

    CJ, goodness, naked photos are on another level. I think you’ve done a brilliant job raising autism awareness on your blog x

    Trampy Joe, great name! Another one in the do not publish camp.

  15. Alison, I remember that post and I love the term ‘online footprint’. I guess the world is changing and our children will live their lives online – whether we like it or not. My friends and family know not to publish pictures of the boys online, they respect our decision.

    Jacqui, I agree that they haven’t consented to having their photos online and we, as the parents, make that decision for them early on. Dogs on the other hand… 🙂

    Cass, absolutely right, there is no right or wrong. You have to do what feels right for you x

  16. My sons nicknames are Spud and Spike and when I first started the blog the title was just because it sounded more catchy. Their real names were on there as was my husband, his job, the town we lived in etc etc. Before I “went public” I suddenly had a thought that it is so open that any bugger could land on my blog and have shed loads of info and photos of us. I took out all the personal info, only refer to them as Spud and SPike (I do slip up in videos on occasion) and only refer to my husband as The Hubby. I put tons of photos on there but I am very careful that they aren’t innappropriate to certain people. I do occasionally write about the town we live in and have hinted about the hubbys job but somebody would really have to search all my posts to gather enough information to do anything with.

  17. Lauren, good point, someone would have to do an awful lot of digging to piece together everything about you and why would anyone bother?! 🙂

  18. Maybe it’s naivete but we feel ok about putting our daughter’s name and photos on both our blogs, my husband and I. Cash would be an awesome name for a boy. Might nick it for baby number two.

  19. AdeleJK, I don’t think you’re naive. There’s no right or wrong in this, you just have to do what you feels right for you. Glad you like the name 🙂

  20. I blog about my son who has Aspergers and autism. Because of the nature of the blog and the fact that he wouldnt understand the implications of using his photo, I cannot ask his permission at this stage. He knows that I blog about him and I hope that when he is older we can write the blog together, as I would love his input, but at the moment he is only 7, so I keep his identity anonymous.

    If, when he is older, I feel he understands the implications of lifting that anonymity, I will seek his permission to do so. At that point, I may decide to add some kiddie photos of his to brighten up the earlier posts, as he is super cute!

    Anonymity is a personal decision and parents know their own kids best to know how they would react. It could be a possibility though, that a child could grow up and want their parent to remove all photos of them from their blog. As moms we are all proud of our babies, but need to consider their feelings too. It is a personal decision and each case must be taken on its own merits.

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