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?
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.

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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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