Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Something Silly, Something Serious

Subject line of an email I received today: "Yes, We are ALL from Japan!"

Yes, indeed, you are, and the distinct grammatical forms of the text as well as sheer kawaii (cuteness) of the photos certainly proved it. A while back, I purchased a set of phone charms in the shape of anthropomorphic Japanese snack foods, and I still receive occasional messages about the company's new products.

Public service announcement for anyone intolerant of cute: Go ahead and skip down to the second part of the post, which is about a harder-hitting topic – Privacy.

This morning's message featured the World's Largest Plush Japanese Sweet Bean Jam Bun. Introducing MomoChan.

Here's the accompanying text:
We really had had a hard time to release this momo-chan today. I (manager, Tomo) and Mr. Tamura, a well-known kawaii-pals' creator had talked over to make it have such a big but still-lovely shape. The biggest problem to send momo chan to overseas was the size, too much to ship out at reasonable price as everyone expectsed. He made a perfect prototype poured both all his imagination and his thorough cost-cut planning. Then, she was born under pretty fine and soft conditions!

These people are serious about cuteness! I really, really want to ask for this fuzzy pal for my Valentine's Day present, but I'm going to be restrained. We have way too many toys already, and I think she's so big that we'd have to get MomoChan her own bedroom. Here's a picture for scale:

Anyway, it's time to move to the serious topic.


Last summer, I responded to Miss Zoot's online Mommyblogging panel about what material bloggers choose to share, especially about their children. With my own paranoia and SwingDaddy's past work in technical security, it’s always been an interesting topic.

Karen Walrond of Chookoloonks discontinued her blog earlier this year when her daughter turned 3, to protect the growing Alex's privacy. Karen still has a lovely photo blog, although she's wondered whether the pictures of landscapes, household images, and occasionally her daughter are actually more revealing than the anecdotes of childhood were.

At what age we should stop putting up so many pictures of Q and logging his every step?

Dooce phrased it nicely at BlogHer last year – the first years are universal. Most children learn to sit up, eat solid foods, walk, talk. After that, they have unique stories and it's more important to protect privacy. She says she's started censoring, now that Leta is getting older.

Privacy is back on my mind today because Bubandpie's post today linked to a great blogger I've never read before, Andrea at a garden of nna mmoy. Andrea's main point is related to the disapproval mothers sometimes face for daring to receive acknowledgement for sharing their stories. She also discussed the generational divide about privacy.

The Millenials (sometimes called Generation Y) have never had privacy. A link to a New York Magazine article points out that their parents have never left them unsupervised for a moment, shepherding them from playdate to playdate, hovering over their schoolwork. If your email and purchasing records are stored forever, surveillance cameras cover the streets in your town, and phones are regularly tapped with or without warrants in the US, is there such a thing as privacy anymore?

So why not blog, post party pictures on MySpace, and spill your life online? Could it be that Q's generation will grow up accustomed to pulling up memories via computer searches? That they'll expect to find pictures of almost everything they've done as a matter of right?

As my and SwingDaddy's blogoversary nears, I'm re-evaluating how and what I want to post. I think that Q is still young enough to share many stories without invading his privacy, but as for how far into the next year that will hold true, who can tell? I will need to become more creative to continue the written and photo connections that I've enjoyed making with you, friends of the internet and real life.


Mamacita Tina said...

I've not really given this much thought, but am now. I'm thinking now, as an adult, it would be really cool to have a collection of my childhood happenings. The time of my life I can barely remember. I also wish I had some insight as to how my mother handled certain situations. Sometimes when talking with her about parenting strategies, she honestly answers she doesn't remember. I'm hoping by blogging, my kids will not only enjoy the cute anecdotes, but also benefit from my mistakes and successes. But does it need to be out there for the whole world to see? Hmmm...

I definitely will stop if it ever makes my kids self-conscious. Obviously, teenagers don't want their stories told to anyone other than their own personal diaries.

Mir said...

I'm fascinated by this topic, because I made a conscious choice from the beginning of my blogging (nearly three years ago, now) never to post identifying pictures of my kids. But what do I do, instead? Chronicle their every foible. Am I really protecting their privacy? I'm just now starting to pull back a bit on what I share, but it's a hard line to identify, much less stay on one side of.

Mayberry said...

So far, I'm using the excuse that my blog doesn't get much traffic! But I guess it has to be an ongoing discussion and deliberation.

ewe are here said...

It's a tough call, where to draw the line when talking about our kids. Before blogs, tho', that's just what everyone did: talked about their kids. Same stories, just a different way of sharing them. And a more limited audience... As my little one(soon to be ones) get older, I'm sure I'll start to withhold certain info and images out of respect for their need for privacy. But right now? It's hard to be too concerned over sharing 'typical' toddler stories.

Kimberly said...

It's an interesting question. Diva Girl is 8, and I write about her, but mostly when her stories are MY stories, if that makes sense?

I've gradually moved to posting more pictures, and more identifying pictures, actually. Partly because the blogger you referenced is right--I don't think the "what will the children say???" argument holds a lot of weight since just about everybody's mom has them on the internet at this point. Plus, Diva Girl *wants* her pic up right now. She gets tickled when it's up; in fact, I probably put more up of her than Zen Baby for that reason.

Lady M said...

I'm going to have to write about this again. It's interesting how some people feel that sharing pictures is more personal, while others feel that the stories are the private thing. Or both, or neither.