Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why I Use Pseudonyms a.k.a. The Closed Door Policy

This has become a hot topic in my lil' world of late, so I thought I'd open it up to my big world - that is...all of yooooou.

I choose to use Pseudonyms.
You may not.
You don't have to.
I'm not attempting to convert you.
If you don't want to, that's fine with me.
But I choose to.

This post is about answering the question that has frequently been posed to me; "So why do you do that?"

Some question-askers have added a second question; "Because you know that if they really want to find out your daughter's name, they will, right?"

First of all, let's clarify "they." When I type "they" read "all of the baddies".

In answer to that second question, I offer a resounding, "YUP!" Because I do know. I get that if someone really wants to find out my family's last name and my daughter's first name...he/she will.

But I still take the simple pseudonym precaution for four reasons:
  1. I figure the proportion of baddies that are both a) inappropriately interested in my child AND b) have proven themselves highly accomplished hackers /searchers are a smaller number than just group (a) on its own.
  2. I like to compare blogging safety to household security - if someone really wants to break into your house, they will - they'll break a window, pick a lock, or dig a tunnel and jump through red laser beams. But as per my previous point's logic, most criminals are opportunists - the number of window-breaking/lock-picking/ray-jumpers is a heck-of-a-lot smaller than the number that will come in and grab your goods when they find your front door left open (or say, find your door unlocked, and so come in and take your TV, for example). I feel like putting a picture of my child on the interwebs along with her full name is the same as permanently leaving the door to my home ajar.
  3. She's my baby. What wouldn't I do?
  4. I'm not just "keeping out baddies," per se...I'm doing my best not to leave online footprints so large that when my children apply for jobs some day, their potential employer will be able to Google the colour of their poop as a child. I haven't received Esky's permission to post all the details I the least I can offer her is a little more privacy.
So, my choice to use pseudonyms is what I like to refer to as my "closed door policy".

I've heard some say, "There's a whole lot of mommy-bloggers - what makes you think that of the motherload of bloggers online the baddies are going to hone in on you and your little existence?" This is said as though I'm flattering myself - as though I think I am so very special. My answer is this: "Do you allow me to keep a close eye on my child in the park /grocery store without suggesting I'm an overprotective parent? I mean, in those places I don't turn my back and just let loose, but you've never accused me of being arrogant there. Why? Because taking precautions isn't the same as saying I believe my child is the centre of the universe. It is saying she's the centre of my universe - and that I'm gonna make certain I'm not the parent that ends up saying, 'If only I'd been a little more careful'."

Plus, a kiwi park has the potential to host, what, a hundred people on the average day? Compare the internet's average human capacity, would you?

Now many people would chime in with yet another question; "So why don't you just go private?" Yup, I could. I don't want to. I chose this channel because it allows me to share with a greater community. If we return to the home security analogy for a moment - going private is like hangin' out with Jodie Foster in a panic room, to me.

My "closed door policy" is my middle road. Mine. Thanks for honouring my right to parent how I want to parent. Feel free to choose your own highway - put your kid's name in neon if it greases your gears; or put a helmet on your kid whenever they go down a slide - it's your perogative.
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