I have been thinking about Internet safety a lot lately. I have a Facebook account and wonder if putting information on the web could put my family at risk. I don’t publish posts like I am at the lake, or I am in Omaha! I will instead post location information when I return like, I just got back from Omaha! I continue to respond to friends posts and comment on photos when I am away and make general status updates, but wait until I return to post pictures or post a comment where I was or what I did there. Posting from my phone could mean I am standing in my driveway, or that my son is using my computer right now, not a definite sign that I am not home. Not posting my location information immediately is way easier said than done. We spent 10 days on vacation this spring, I wanted so badly to post a picture of the awesome places we were visiting, and show everyone the view I woke up to each morning, but I controlled myself and waited until I returned.

Now there is the phenomenon of Facebook Places and Foursquare, you are telling the world that you are not home, you are also telling people exactly where you are at that moment if they want to find you in public. What if you are somewhere alone with your children like at a park or walking out to a dark car and someone has it out for you. You are telling them that you have your home unoccupied and go ahead and break into my home when I am at the Twins Game for the next three hours.

I am also vigilant about not posting my children’s real names on Facebook and especially vigilant about posting my children’s names and close up photos of my children on my momlifestyle.com site because that is public. I would never want someone who does not speak with me personally to know my children’s names. I only post nicknames because I don’t want a stranger to be able to call my children over to their car by their real names when I am not around.

I also try to protect my children’s privacy rights by letting them introduce themselves to the cyber world when they are ready and old enough, not because it is convenient for me. I wonder about the safety of blog sites that show photographs and full names of their children. It does not seem very ethical to me to sell your children’s images and experiences for others to read, there are plenty of mom related sites that do make a profit from posting their children online. It would be incredibly easy for me to write daily articles if I told everyone stories of my children in addition to showing cute kid pics of my kids. If you notice most of my articles are about parenting topics that reference my experiences with my children but not specifically focused on my children and their information.

I may be going over the top with millions of blogs and public information out there about peoples children but I would rather play it on the safe side. I am not going to stop blogging because I love being able to express my opinions on my web page and get feedback from others. But I will continue to keep my childrens names private and not tell people where we are on a moment by moment basis. I will continue to protect my children anyway possible including protecting their privacy on the Internet.