Blogging With Consent

Sometimes, if Connor can keep himself on task at bedtime, I’ll let him play a game of Two Dots on my phone before we read a bedtime story. Last night was one of those nights.

As the app was launching up, he read aloud the random message that popped up about connecting your game to Facebook to sync your progress. He didn’t quite get the word “sync” right, but he got the idea, especially since he understands that people share pictures and videos and stories with one another on Facebook. When I explained to him that I didn’t really want to connect everything to Facebook, he asked why not.

“Well,” I explained, “I don’t need Facebook to know everything about me. I mean, I already have my own website, where I share things about my flowers and about you–”

He lit up, and immediately wanted to see.

So, I fired up mobile Safari and showed him my blog. I showed him my domain name at the top of the page, blog.dianaschnuth.com, and he read through the titles of my main categories with relish. I explained to him that “photography” (which, again, he didn’t pronounce right the first time, but he knew it was about pictures) was lots of different photos, not just pictures of him, but that “parenthood” is all about him.

The most recent entry in my parenthood category was my Dear Connor post from last month, so I told him about how I write him a letter on my blog for his birthday and half-birthday, for him to read later. He, of course, wanted to read it, so I let him. I’ve been intentionally writing them with language that’s appropriate for him, if a bit above his reading level.

He plowed through my 700-word entry, reading aloud and smiling at all the right moments. He fudged past about a dozen words that didn’t really affect his understanding of the text, I corrected a couple that did make a difference, and he asked for help with a few, like “quotable” and “tween” (see below).

Edit: At one point he asked, “Why did you just put the letter W instead of [my BFF’s name]?” I explained that I don’t like to put people’s names on my blog without their permission, or their parents’ permission. (What I didn’t tell him is that I cringe at how much personal information about others I shared on my blog before the four corners of the internet were so well-indexed, and my blog just seemed like a lonely island that very few people visited.)

Once we got to the end, he read this passage:

Even though I’m still really writing these blog posts for myself, and for Future Adult Connor, I might start letting you read them yourself sooner rather than later. It’s only fair that I let you know what I’m telling other people about you, I suppose… That way, once you get to be a moody tween, it won’t come as a complete and unjust shock to learn that I blogged about when Toddler Connor smeared poop all over the bedroom walls — not once, but twice.

He looked at me in obvious indignation.

“Moooom! You wrote about that on your blog?! That’s disgusting!”

“Hey,” I retorted, “At least I didn’t post the pictures your Dad took.”

Anyway, now my son wants his own blog.

I suggested a compromise: maybe he can write things and I can post them on my blog for now. When I mentioned to him that I’d need to screen anything he writes, for safety, he remembered an internet safety video he’d seen on YouTube Kids (featuring Garfield, which was why he watched it in the first place), and volunteered that you can’t share your “Yappy,” like your address, or your phone number, or your real name (oops), or your picture (yeah, oops). I added that I also never mention where he goes to school, because that’s really no one’s business.

So, maybe someday we’ll be seeing a new Connor category pop up on the blog. Who knows what might end up there? Metroid fan-fic? Pokemon art? Stories? Tales of field trips? We’ll see…

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