10 December, 2007

Another Mommy Blogger Airs Her Views

There’s been a lot going on in the blogosphere over the past few days. A lot of raving and ranting about mommy bloggers and how the mommies are violating their kids’ privacy by blogging about them and posting their pictures and what not. Someone even spoke of legislating against mommies writing publicly about their children and posting their own kids’ pictures on their own blogs.

Why ?

Because someone is apparently under the impression that parent bloggers are not aware of the dangers that exist or lurk – in the form of child offenders or perverts. Or better still, that such parents are aware of the dangers in the form of child offenders and yet, by their own will and volition, choose to expose their children to such dangers.

Here are my two cents .....

Everybody, just about everybody out there is aware – very much so – of the fact that the world is indeed full of perverts. And that these exist at almost every turn of life. Be it parks, be it supermarkets, be it public washrooms, be it public transportation – can one say with one hundred percent certainty that offenders or perverts don’t stalk these places ? And if the answer is in the negative, then what is a parent to do ? Stop sending children out to play in the park, stop taking children out for walks, categorically advise children not to use public washrooms, refuse to take children out to the beach in the summer, refuse to let them wear swimwear while on the beach ...... the list is endless.

My question is, where’s all this going to lead.

On the issue of kids’ privacy, where exactly does one draw the line ?

For example, when my children were babies, there have been many a times when I’ve used a diaper changing room at the airport or a diaper changing table in one of the public restrooms in a mall. Now when the need does arise – and we are talking of a baby or a toddler here – what does one do if you are not the only one in that diaper changing room or that public washroom ?

Do you go ahead and do what’s best for your baby – as in changing his/her diaper


Do you ask everyone else in the washroom to please leave because by them being around and by you changing your baby’s diaper there – you are violating your kid’s privacy


Better still – do you reason with your year old baby that he/she is going to have to stay in a poopy diaper till you get home or get to the confines of a place where you would be alone with your baby – so that the baby gets the privacy that he/she is entitled to when his/her diaper is being changed ?

Yet again, with regard to putting up the kids’ pictures on blogs – going by the above contention – a child’s picture should not, I categorically repeat, should not appear anyplace. Simply because it is dangerous. We should probably not let our kids’ pictures be taken even at social occasions because such pictures have a tendency to go into social circulation.

Looking at the other side of the same coin – how many parents would allow their - say 7 or 8 year old child and his/her friends to play for long lengths of time with the doors completely closed and for added measure, locked from the inside ?

When children are around 7 – 8 years, they are at an age when they are quite aware of themselves, of people around them. They are also capable of minor independent decisions.

Yet, how many parents would allow their 7-8 year old child and his/her friends to play behind closed doors ? If the answer to this question is in the negative, going by the above contention, does this not construe a “violation” of the very same privacy that the children are supposed to be “entitled” to ?

The seemingly obvious conclusion that can be arrived at is that parents do take decisions on “behalf” of their children. Parents often take decisions “for” their children, bearing in mind the best interests of the child.

For instance, even now, while travelling on escalators Abhay knows that he is expected to hold an adult’s hand. We do not allow him to just hop on or hop off or jump around on the escalator. Same policy applies while getting into the MTR or getting out of the MTR. Because there is a gap between the train and the platform which is dangerous where children are concerned.

Now just because we follow these simple rules and draw the line where we do with our kids, we do not expect the rest of the world to follow suit. There may be a lot many parents who are a lot stricter than we are and a lot many other parents who might label us “overprotective”. But fact remains that we follow these simple rules, because, as of today, they work for us. Likewise, other parents too, be they a lot more lenient or a lot more strict, follow their own will because it works for them and their kids.

And while stepping into the blogging world, or even after having stepped into the blogging world as a mommy blogger or a daddy blogger, I am quite certain that each and every parent blogger has given the issue of “what to and what not to”, due consideration. I’m sure they’ve worked out the factors for and against a particular issue in deciding their “comfort levels”.

Each and every parent who blogs about their child have different levels of comfort w.r.t the privacy issue. While some parents are comfortable with putting up pictures and using real names, some parents are not. Each one to one’s own – is what I would say. Everybody is aware of the changing nature of today’s world. Everyone knows that dangers do lurk at just about every corner. Yet, one lives by one’s decisions. “Live and Let Live” is something I’ve always said. So why should it not apply to the blog world ?

Through all this, there is one thing that strikes me the most. The erosion of that subtle element called “trust”. While it is a given fact that in the world of today, values such as morals and scruples are indeed taking a backseat to the more material values, the element of trust seems to be next on the list. Very sad, but also very true.

Another issue that has been raised is how boring mommy blogs are. Are parents forcing anyone out there to come read their blogs ? Are blogging parents going out there as a brigade saying “You’d better come read my blog, or else ....” Sounds remarkably immature to me.

So then, where does the question of complaining arise ? Why whine about how there are home remedies flying about and how one is sick to the core of reading up on such remedies and how one is sick of hearing about parents exclaiming and gushing about the cuteness of their children and so on and so forth ? End of the day, fact remains that nothing is being pushed down anyone’s throat here. So if one does not like what one is reading, stop doing so. There are choices to be made – so go ahead and make yours. And once you make your choice, go in peace. Don’t moan, bleat and gripe and try and make someone else a scapegoat.

When one goes out with one’s children and an acquaintance comes up and says “Awww – your kid looks so cute” – what does one do ? Brush them off brusquely and tell them to mind their own business ?? If the answer to this question is no – then my question is – why target mommy bloggers by saying that they blog because of their incessant need to hear how cute their kids are ?

Another point that has been making the rounds is about a dilution of identity – when it comes to be called “so and so’s mommy” and not by your own name. I’d say that as long as one is confident of one’s identity and of the niche that it has carved in one’s life and as long as one is sure of what one is doing – there is absolutely no question of a dilution of identity. Your identity is what it is, is what it has always been, is what it will be. You are “you” and nothing can take that away. So linking our children’s identity to our own is by no means saying that our identity has been “taken over”. Quite the contrary. If someone were to refer to me as “Appu’s mom or Abhay’s mom” (and this does happen, for the most part), I would tend to see this as an addition to my persona rather than a dilution of my identity.

And last but not the least – Tiny Tidbits is most definitely a mommy blog.

So why then have I chosen to put up this post here ?

When my children grow up and are capable of reading this and understanding the sentiments behind this post, I’ll leave it to them to decide whether I’ve been violating their privacy all along – by writing about them, by maintaining an online journal about them and their anecdotes and by posting their pictures on this online journal.

Something tells me that they wouldn’t care less !!!

And that is what I call - Trust.

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20 voice(s) said so:

Poppins said...

Very very beautiful and well said. Thank the Lord that our children atleast still trust us to do the best by them.

I am sick and tired of living in a world where fear rules. Where every action of ours is scrutinized and analyzed to death.

Thank you Gauri, for writing this beautiful post.

the mad momma said...

muah. big hug and kiss to the very articulate and sorted out Gauri.

dipali said...

Well said, Gauri.
Have been enjoying your recent posts, but been too lazy to comment. One of these days:)

Sujatha said...

Good post Gauri. Echoes many of the things I feel about these issues.

DotMom said...

My favorite line in this post -
If someone were to refer to me as “Appu’s mom or Abhay’s mom” (and this does happen, for the most part), I would tend to see this as an addition to my persona rather than a dilution of my identity

Very, very nice! I for one, refuse to write anything about/to the trolls. They live on publicity, of any sort.

Sue said...

Hey! You stole this right out of my head! Now I'm convinced you lurk around my place... *looks suspicious*

Well written, Gauri.

Kodi's Mom said...

I love the part abt where you said becoming a mommy does not dilute your identity, but adds a new layer, a new title. So for the blogging world, many of us identify ourselves as ABC's mommy - because, thats the part of our identity we are goign to be revealing, not the others...what a simple reasoning. duh! and why do we have to explain ourselves so much!

Anitha(nikki's mom) said...

Well said.

mnamma said...

Very well written Gauri!

karmickids said...

Well said Gauri. Something much needed and sensibly put down. If we are educated enough to be blogging, we are well aware of the risks we take by posting our kids pics or for that matter our own pics on the net. And at the end of the day, its nobody's business what we post on our blogs. About ourselves or our kids. Because no one is forced to come read.

Mystic Margarita said...

You've said exactly what I wanted to say in a more organized and articulate way! *Applauds*

Rohini said...

Very well said. I can still see why people might have some views on the privacy and identity issues and they are entitled to those views. But what gets my goat is when they go on about how boring mommyblogs are - and yet they keep coming back, only to reiterate the fact. It's just plain silly.

AP said...

very well done post. all this chaos was created by a bunch of immatures!

and by the way, i am touched that you actually put me in your blogroll :-) thank you!


Lavs said...

You have explained your stance very well. I completely agree with each and every point you have made. Cheers to all Mommy bloggers!!!

~nm said...

I agree with you completely and totally disagree with stretching things too much. Looking at such views I am always reminded of a saying my Dadaji used to say. "Ati har cheez ki buri hoti hai!" Rough English translation would be "Extreme of anything is bad!"

I've nothing more to say on this and I am here to stay.

chica said...

true, there are dangers lurking everywhere, but you've got to have a life! Is this why mad momma has blocked her blog?
Don't block your blog, I subscribe to it :)

Fuzzylogic said...

Very well said Gauri!couldn't agree more. *Hugs*

Sush said...

This is a lovely post, it is so true nobody forces anyone to read this blog or that blog or for that matter anything they dont want to.. why read and then crib and disturb our small world that we are trying to create for ourselves... phew!!!

I had been real lazy to post the comments for a while due to my trips, etc... a real biiiiiiiiiig sorry for that.. dont ever stop this wonderful blog or go private, I for one woud surely miss you guys like hell..

Belated wishes to Apu and loads of muuuuaahs to both the cuties.

Sunita said...

Gauri, beautifully said. I haven't read the context which everyone seems to be talking about or responding to, but I read the response at almost every mom's space.
Echoes my thoughts about this issue very well.

Just Like That said...

Very succintly put. I loved it and I so agree with every word. :-)