When I started blogging nearly nine years ago, I did so entirely anonymously. I wanted a place to share what I was writing, but I was also a bit wary of this big thing called the Internet. So I used blog nicknames for myself and others who appeared on my blog.
My husband (then my fiance) once asked me when I was going to call him by name on my blog. I asked him if I’d called anyone else by name on the blog, and he said no. I replied that this was a deliberate choice I was making, to respect the privacy of those around me—including him.
When my oldest daughter was born, we picked a nickname for her. As each of our other daughters came along, I picked blog nicknames for them as well. It seemed easier than calling them “baby” or something else; I wanted names that would grow up with them.
Since then, I’ve added my own name to the blog, recognizing that as a blogger, I am my own brand. In many ways, I want “Bonnie Way” to be interchangeable as “The Koala Mom” so I am recognizable as either. I continue to use blog nicknames for my daughters. Even though my job as a writer and a blogger means that I am putting my life before strangers, I want to protect my children online.
I also try to respect the privacy of anyone else I mention on my blog. I do not use my husband’s name, my brother’s names, my in-law’s names, or even my friend’s names on the blog, unless they are fellow bloggers who would want to be mentioned or have given me permission to mention them by name on the blog (e.g., for my recent homeschool interviews.) Some have chosen their own blog nicknames or pseudonyms; others I simply refer to by a title.
I find it interesting, as I read other blogs, to note what other bloggers do in writing about their children. Some use blog nicknames, some use initials, and others use real names. So I asked in several of my blog groups what other parent bloggers do about this issue. Here are their responses.
The Pros and Cons of Blog Nicknames: What Other Bloggers Do
“I call mine Cub because my blogging name is Maman Loup, which is French for Mama Wolf!” ~ Lindsay of Maman Loup’s Den
“I call my kids Turtle and Bean on my site. I also call my husband The Hubs, instead of using his name. I have one post on the site where I use their real names, about their births, because it felt like such a personal post. Turtle and Bean are nicknames I’ve used in real life for both of the kids. I felt better about keeping their names private because I don’t want their names to have google search-ability before they are even old enough to know what that means.” ~ Crystal Allen of Hello Creative Family
“I tend to use oldest or oldest girl (daughter), youngest or youngest girl (daughter) and our son or autistic son. Outside of just blogging I get involved in politics as well and we tend to try to insulate our kids from what I do and any publicity it entails.” ~ Carl Bainbridge of A Parent’s Perspective
“We use their real names, as they’re often a big part of our story. It is something we’ve never really talked about, we just introduced them, they’re prominent and that was that.” ~ Lori Godin of Frugal Edmonton Mama
“I call mine Princess Peach and Little Dude. I figured I would give them a little anonymity and protect their names as I was sharing much about their lives in public forums.” ~ Renee Levy of My So-Called Mommy Life
“I use their real names, but mostly because they do not share my last name so they would never be google search-able even if readers know my last name.” ~ Elizabeth Lampman of Frugal Mom Eh!
“I call my kids Little Man and Baby Girl. I call my husband a hubby or hubster. I call them those as nicknames in normal day to day life. But I also don’t want them to be known for their names for safety reasons online. Once they start using social media etc. I don’t want them to be searchable by people who read my blog.” ~ Jen Grenier
“I don’t use my kids’ names, my husband’s name or our last name and I try really hard to keep our location under wraps though I do know that if someone was eager enough they could figure it out. I think in a world where we put so much of our lives online, it is important for us to strive for some kind of privacy and while we can never assume our children are ever ‘safe’ it doesn’t hurt to implement the smallest amount of internet safety. We teach the boys ways to be safe online and hopefully we are setting a good example.” ~ Jennifer of Mom vs. the Boys
“My son is known on my blog primarily as ‘the lad,’ sometimes as ‘the boy’ and often as ‘my son.’ I never use his name online and I ask others not to as well. Why? Privacy for him. Protection. I tend to not give out my exact address to anyone either. Just overall makes me feel better than being completely open about it all. Could people find it out??? Sure. But why make it easy?” ~ Annette at A Net in Time
“I guess I figured my kids deserve some privacy, especially now that my oldest is getting to the stage where he’ll be a teen in a couple of years.” ~ Lisa Marie Fletcher of The Canadian Homeschooler
“I use initials and age. That way relatives and friends know who I’m talking about, but a little more privacy from the rest of the world. I’m also careful about pictures (no faces from the front) and stories (nothing they might be embarrassed about later). I also will probably share less about them as they grow older. I just think they should be the ones to decide how much of themselves to share online later on.” ~ Nelleke of Education is a Life
“I just use the first letter of their name. I’m not super secretive and I’m sure people could find out their names if they really wanted to but I don’t make it obvious. It’s mostly for privacy for them.” ~ Kalista of When We’re At Home
“I use the nickname BG (baby girl) as my daughter has a very unique name. I know someone could find my address if they really tried to (although I am vague with my location) and I do not want them to know all of her information. I mostly just refer to her as my daughter.” ~ Katrina Thom of Thinking Outside the Sandbox
What do you think about bloggers using nicknames for their kids ? Do you notice when bloggers you read use nicknames or initials for their kids? Do you use a nickname or real name on your own blog?
An excellent post, thank you!
Thanks for this. Children’s privacy has been on my mind a lot lately, to the point that I’m thinking of starting a new, more anonymous blog to protect my children better. This post was a helpful read.