Jan 21, 2008

This Is A Public Service Announcement...

I've been thinking a lot about Blog Security lately. When I first created my blog, I followed my SIL's lead and kept my last name private. (Hence, Emily Dub instead of Emilina Destina Willberforce which is my real name). I've also never mentioned the specific city in which we live, (Springfield) my husbands exact place of employment, (Hasbro) and definitely not the name of my boy's school's. (Martin Luther King Prep.)

Hopefully these measures make it difficult for someone to flip open the white pages and find our address and or show up at my kid's schools and steal them. (Oh, and we're not listed in the white pages.)

BUT, according to some bloggers I'm not doing enough! They say I shouldn't use my kids names, show their pictures, or ever mention their birthdays or any details about their lives. And in some ways, it makes sense. What better way to stalk little kids then from the privacy of your own home on your own computer. (Sorry to be creepy.)

So am I really not doing enough? Am I putting my kids in jeopardy? After all, I can't control whether or not anyone else spills my last name. And I don't know everything there is to know about the Internet and whether or not it's possible to find me via my IP address.

I DO know that Jack Bauer could pinpoint my exact location in under a minute with the help of Chloe and a few clicks of the mouse. So what about a crazy computer geek with ill intentions? (You know who you are!)

I have Google Analytics installed and with it I can tell how many hits my blog gets, and the general location the hit is coming from. (Maybe I could tell more if I new anything about computers.) This tells me most people reading this are in Rhode Island, Utah, and Southern California. Which is totally acceptable since I know lots of people in all these places. What I don't know is who is reading this in Russia, Australia, Brazil, and France. Or why they're reading it?!? (I'm assuming it's because I'm so darn deep and insightful.)

Are you a crazy stalker planning to steal my kids? (If so, please tell me all about it including your address and phone number.)

I, for one, have one more line of defense. I'm leaving the country and taking my adorable children with me. We'll be in South Africa for the next few years if you need to find us!

Anyway, just wondering what all of you think about this topic? What steps have you taken to insure your Internet safety? Please share!

I promise not to stalk you!


Linz said...

Well, if you aren't doing enough, then I am failing completely! We have been toying with the idea to make ours invite only, but I can't bring myself to do it. I only hope that my little bubble is just uninteresting enough for weirdos to stay away.

Jenn said...

why do a blog then?

acte gratuit said...

Exactly. 'Cause if I can't tell embarrassing stories about my kids, I've got nothing left!

@lliE from FreshlyCompleted said...

Hey Emily,
This is your younger Cousin. I check up on your blog, everyonce and a while. I find you Most Amusing! I do a Blog, but I try to keep all incriminating evidence about my family and me out of my blog posts. I do, worry about that stuff too.

You can check me out.

Lisa said...

I think people get way too worked up about things like this. There are much easier ways to stalk people than through blogs. I have a tracker too and usually know who is looking at my blog and how much they are reading it, but I've never had strangers reading it excessively.

Psycho's who use the internet to snatch kids generally use it to make things easier (i.e. get the kids to open the door and invite them in). It's the networking sites and chatrooms that are really the big issue.

In my opinion, its more dangerous to take your kids to the park or the beach. I guess we should all just lock ourselves in the house...

One more thing: I never blog about when my hubby is going to be out of town, it freaks me out to put that information out there.

Polliwog said...

I've thought a lot about it too; it seems like everybody is posting about it these days. But I agree that there are a lot more prevalent dangers in our own neighborhoods and schools. I try to be careful about too many personal details (I keep my kids' names out of it). I guess until I hear an actual person who's had trouble I probably won't quit blogging. But maybe that's just asking for trouble? It's tough, but going private just takes so much of the fun out of it. I think I'd stop it altogether if I had to go private.

Anonymous said...

I hate it when people go private. Obviously I am never on their list! Just let me know if you go private so I can take you off my favorites tab.


Jessi said...

I had a friend that was really anxious about hanging a picture of her daughter on her dining room window because it was visible from their driveway. I didn't get her concern because the chances of someone seeing her actual daughter were far greater than someone peeking through the window to see her picture. I figure blogs are kind of like that. The only way to keep our kids completely safe is to never take them out in public. (Which I have considered at times, but for sake of avoiding public embarassment and not so much for avoiding stalkers).

The Valentine Fam said...

I just figure if I make the stories bad enough, no one would want us. And if they did...they'd bring them back soon after. Who would want to take any children that need their bum changed multiple times a day?!

lacey said...

Hey I am a semi-randon person to you, but I promise to take your kids if you promise to take mine? Just for a weekend jaunt with my husband. And you the same.
If you see the hits from Louisville, it's mostly me. And I promise I'm safe.

acte gratuit said...

It's a deal Lacey. Anyone willing to make the deal is someone I instantly trust. :)

FOX said...

After your "Max peeing on Sammy story" nobody wants to steal you kids. At least until the potty issues are over.

kelly said...

okay, i'm a total random. i clicked to you from somewhere else & just had to comment. not because i have anything insightful to add, but just because this has been a big topic with our family (and i mean extended) as of late. my entire family blogs (cousins, moms, aunts... the whole gamut). but we definitely have a few hold-outs, who just don't get it. and at family get togethers (of which there were several over the holidays) it usually turns into a big debate... mostly because of the big security issue. i blog. i blog about me, my life, my kids everything. i post pictures, their real names (although i try to keep our last name out of it.) people know im in souther california, and if they read close enough they can figure out to a fairly close proximity of where i live. but if i didn't blog about all this stuff, what would i write about? if i used fake names, i'd totally forget, and screw it all up, or someone else would in a comment. if i didn't post pictures, it would be terribly boring. so then i might as well not blog. the other option is the whole private blog. which personally, i don't like. i get it and can totally understand, but it's just not for me. i'd rather not blog. for me a huge part of blogging is the community. the people you met, the friends you re-acquaint with, the relationships that blossom. with a private blog that just doesn't happen.

i guess, i'm just hoping that there aren't that many internet wack jobs out there. and at the least, hopefully they aren't reading my blog.

oh wow! i wrote a ton. hopefully, you won't think i'm totally crazy. because i'm not, i promise!

Matt said...

As someone who works in the tech sector and knows quite a bit about the internet I wouldn't freak out about this too much. The best way to ensure your children's safety is to teach them what to do if someone tries to kidnap them and institute a password system.

I will tell you that the security measures you have already taken are good and should be perpetuated. Just don't divulge too much personal information (for example: Instead of saying, "today was my son's birthday" you could instead post, "this week we celebrated my son's birthday. This way it does nail down the date,)

What I am more concerned about is the fact that your real name is Emilina Destina Willberforce! I liked your maiden name better, I mean how can you top Farquhare?

kristenita said...

hey... I am a semi-blog stalker & pop in on you from time to time... I'm friends with mrs dub & barefoot in the kitchen, so I see your comments on their blogs & then peep in on you too. (I'm safe!)

our RS president went OFF about blogs one time and it made me really mad... but also freaked me out a little. she said the same stuff: no names, pictures of your kids {gasp}, etc. it wasn't until I started getting anonymous anti-LDS comments that I "went PRIVATE." part of me likes it because I don't have to be careful what I say anymore at all. but most of me hates it because I loose the random hits/friends that I could have had from having an open blog still... anyway - this is a big debate & I can relate a lot to "i'm kelly" because there are some people in the FAMILY who still haven't logged into our blog now that it is privado... and that is a big bummer.

I think you're safe though.