Together we have co-written a blog about mothering and writing since 2011 and we continue enjoying the twists and turns of thinking through sharing, disclosure and self-censoring in digital writing situations. As feminists, we are grappling with ways to invoke privacy values and boundary setting in a liberatory tradition that celebrates the female voice and the possibilities of self-expression.

As teachers / writers / scholars, we have a longstanding interest in the reflective, educative, and revelatory nature of personal writing. Does writing a parenting blog necessitate presenting news about close relations and relationships? What is frank and fair and what constitutes stepping over the line in talking about others? What are dangers of unsanctioned digital talk? Are there measures or flexible standards to guide how much to reveal about self and others, and how do these questions play out for bloggers with an online presence?
The end of individual privacy with public and private online postiings?
Friday, 8 December 2017

Watching Emma Watson and Tom Hanks in the Netflix movie The Circle where Watson's character, Mae, shares every single second of her work and personal life on line by wearing a "SeeChange" camera 24/7 in a commitment to be transparent and giving up her right to privacy. As she rises through the ranks, she is encouraged by the company's founder, Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks), to engage in a groundbreaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics and ultimately her personal freedom. Her participation in the experiment, and every decision she makes begin to affect the lives and future of her friends, family and that of humanity.

Is this the way y/our world is going? Will interpersonal interactions and relationships die when there is no space for personal privacy and interpersonal private relationships?

While Mae has entered into this 'voluntary' situation as an adult - how may this influence/violate children's privacy? Where does one's individual autonomy fit into a world where privacy is no longer respected or desired?

posted at: 00:07   0 Comments Links to this post
How Caitlyn Jenner is like an emotionally reckless mommy blogger
Monday, 1 May 2017

Careless people are dangerous and immature.  Check Gatsby. The villains in this American tragedy are reckless with other people's emotions. The same is being said of Caitlyn Jenner of the publication of her The Secrets of My Life.  One reviewer calls her "emotionally careless with the women in her life" in "How Caitlyn Jenner Betrays Her Family in Her New Memoir The Secrets of My Life".

There may be some lessons to be learned for mommy bloggers who want to talk about their families, especially when their children are moving into adulthood.

How does the nature of a family blog change by the very definition of aging and maturing children within the family?

Let's speculate a bit about possible areas related to family for bloggers to explore as their children mature. We could talk about job market and educational opportunities for young adult children, questions associated with their development from home out into the world as they take on more responsibility and independence.

Yet the question is, should the challenges our children face really be the main focus or burning interest of parent bloggers who, in their own lives, face personal challenges associated with this family transition time, as well as questions of aging and personal development and growth.

This is the question of balance. Is this a time to give kids more space and to leave them alone as topic areas in social media?  In real life, a mother's relationship  with her kids shifts as they grow up. Like it or not, she learns she is not privy to the all the details of a grown child's daily activities, and that it's not up to her to fix all problems and bring happiness. If she were to turn to her blog to write about the child, such ruminations take her in the opposite direction of practicing a mindful letting go and respecting  her child's independence.

If the child is successfully making the transition from teen to adulthood, a mother's writing about it can not be really interesting to others who are bound to hear self-satisfaction. Was it was Dostoevsky who pointed out that the most interesting families are unhappy ones?  He wrote fiction. In blogs, it's probably a worse gaff to write about how children struggle and suffer. Should they bump into these pages, they're bound to feel betrayed.

Should this time be one where adult children and their parents agree to share their family story, this may be the only time when a blogs are positioned to share family history.

posted at: 12:03   4 Comments Links to this post
Family Privacy Practices: Claire
Friday, 24 March 2017

My family was always very cautious about what information was put online and what the privacy policy for the family was. I imagine much of that fear and tension was cultivated by the countless chatroom horror stories that dominated the airtime on the 6pm national news. I was never allowed to go on sites that host chatrooms that match you to talk to complete strangers by chat, webcam, or both, like Omegle for example. Honestly, I never had a problem with that rule as a child… those websites freaked me out too, so I was more than happy to stay away from them. Additionally, we were never to post anything super personal online; like address, full name, what school we went to, and even, depending on the website, what city we live in. Again, I think much of this fear stemmed from the abduction stories that are constantly in the news, and frankly, I don’t blame my parents for establishing these (totally reasonable) rules… the internet is forever, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. 
In terms of how porous or impermeable these family-wide disclosure rules were; I believe as I got older, my parents became less and less involved with my online activities and let me fend for myself …. But always with the understanding that I would respect the boundaries in place or face the consequences. If anything would have ever gone wrong, however, and I found myself in a situation I couldn’t handle, my family would of course have helped me get out of it, but I always knew that whatever I did online could have a consequence. 
These family practices have definitely influenced my approach to/opinion on online privacy and what information should be shared where, if ever. Even on my personal Facebook I have very limited personal information posted; I purposely decided to omit my phone number and email as a privacy precaution. Also, I chose to disable automatic geo-tagging on all of my posts because I didn’t like the thought of anybody on my friend list to know my exact location at all times. Where my position on personal privacy differs from my parents is; I chose to restrict access to my internet persona because of a desire to keep my private life just that… private, not out of fear of the boogeyman.

posted at: 19:05   0 Comments Links to this post
moving to the question of privacy and online practices
Thursday, 23 March 2017

What's the right word to describe voluntarily surrendering personal and private information that could be used about or against one? The rather old fashioned word wiretapping continues to be used against 3rd party interventions -- when 3rd parties tap into phone or internet conversations to gain privileged information.

Donald Trump has raised the specter of wiretapping as something done to him although his allegations are often unfounded,  floundering and meeting with denial.

Would a word like "open line" best describe the willingness of ordinary citizens to expose their private conversations and information to the online world listening in.  Online users who are interested have learned that privacy settings offer limited protection of one's privacy. I might find my picture advertising a product that I have not endorsed or given permission to be used in this manner. Yet, it's happening online daily.

Posting personal pictures is common place on Instagram and Facebook. If I go on Pinterest and reveal objects and products I like, I've also contributed to consumer profiling. In a world where images and information circulates is there any way to slow down or stop this movement that builds from and encourages invasion of privacy?

We're not government officials or folks with high security clearance due to our state level knowledge, so why are we focusing on this and why does it matter? We need to begin to think about protecting personal private information as critical activism. It's difficult to stop the wave that's washing over us and that carries along with it many personal details we would have thought we own.

How not to be maneuvered and how not to participate is the area of strategising that is difficult and most needed.

Telling people not to use technologies that they have come to rely upon is bound to be unpopular or unattractive. Many of us use our cellphones like breathing. To turn them off or leave them at home is like a personal failure. There's a challenge here which is to spread enthusiasm for asking questions about how much we rely on personal information and communication devices. Do I have to have my phone with me all the time? Should I check my messages every few minutes? We are not talking about concentration levels and mental health in a balanced life, we are talking about staying safe in a world where our moves are under surveillance and possibly measured.

We don't want to be a walking demographic - how do we bust out of this positioning?

posted at: 15:24   1 Comments Links to this post
Beth on the Virani article....

Beth on the Virani article that cautions about Facebook and privacy loss:

Concerns with Facebook’s privacy regulations have been ongoing but I remember distinctly when the big scare that Salim Virani addresses swept social media. I was always suspicious of Facebook's privacy settings and how effective they might be, but assumed that because I don't use my real name, my profile is linked to an old Hotmail account rather than my current email, and I don't have the Facebook app on my phone, that my information was safe. This clearly isn’t the case, and it  now seems naïve and blindly optimistic to assume that our personal information won’t be mined for corporate gain, which happens constantly online from the use of cookies to participation on various social media platforms.  
When Facebook first got called out for sneakily altering their privacy settings a series of copy and paste disclaimers proclaiming the users autonomy and right to privacy went viral. The irony of people making a statement against a social media platform using that very platform didn’t go unnoticed, but more importantly proved how little control we have when operating within systems such as Facebook. The brilliance of the social media companies is that they instil the sense that their “tools” exist to benefit the user, and that they are simply a benevolent provider. This type of branding can be seen across the internet and it is probably time we accepted the fact that anything offered for “free” online is making bank by taking our information, which is worth far more than a few measly dollars.
A friend of mine recently noticed a photo of hers being used for a Vice article. Vice didn’t ask permission, or even notify her, which they should have done to maintain any sense of integrity as a publication. But as we all (should) know any images uploaded to Facebook are public domain and can be used as such. In the end she harangued the journalist who used her photo and they credited her, but she didn’t receive a usage fee, and felt pretty strange about not being asked permission. 

I have been on the fence about getting rid of Facebook for quite some time, and like Clare after reading this article am closer than ever. 

posted at: 14:37   0 Comments Links to this post


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Fiona Green
... is a feminist mother, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Winnipeg, and loves to cycle.
Jaqueline McLeod Rogers
... is a mom of two young adult daughters. I received a Ph. D. for studying fiction by women, and have always worked full time as a professor with an interest in writing and women’s experiences.
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