Buck Naked Social Media Dads: How Much Is Too Much?

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12 responses

12 responses to “Buck Naked Social Media Dads: How Much Is Too Much?”

  1. Tim Brownson says:

    LMAO – I was really concerned for a moment when you said she’s “About 7” Glad you qualified it and you just weren’t sure!

    It’s hard for me because I don’t have kids, but I think it’s really a tough ethical question. I sometimes Tweet something and think “Whoops I have about 10 clients that follow me on Twitter and maybe I shouldn’t have said I think Sarah Palin is a moron” I guess that is exacerbated when it’s young kids and they’re you’re own kids too boot.

    My advice fwiw would just be to say keep it honest (which I’m sure you do btw) and trust that she’ll follow your lead. I really don’t think there is a right or wrong answer (well maybe some wrong ones!), but I do think there will be people that *think* there is.

  2. I was just thinking this last week when my son (same age as ur daughter) was sitting with me while I was tweeting.

    Tough call. We tend to think of what we do or do not want clients to see, not potentially what our children will now or eventually run across.

    My two cents is showing your children that you’re authentic and have genuine emotions is a good thing, but the other side of me says I’m not sure I would of wanted to see my dad pour emotions out online when I was a kid…

    So my answer is, I don’t know.

    You’re welcome 🙂

    (great question my man)

  3. sherry gray says:

    I struggle with the same thing, although not exactly for the same reason. My life is kid-centric and centers on the issues we had with my teenage son. He’s 19 now and has turned out better than I expected after a tumultuous few years. The drama and trauma of those years consumed the lives of our entire family and very nearly blew us apart. My blog is personal, but I avoid that subject like the plague, which really limits what I can write about. I can’t write of the struggles we’re having making ends meet without alluding to the cause, I can’t allude to the cause without exposing my son. His ego is fragile…and knowing what he cost us in terms of money and stress could destroy all the progress we’ve struggled to make. And so I have decided that until I can write something he would not consider a condemnation, or until there is enough distance and maturity for him to deal with it, it will remain unsaid and unwritten.

    It’s oddly cathartic to talk about the subject I won’t touch….but let’s face it, he’s not going to read a comment I leave on a random blog. I’ll apologize now for being cryptic, and say that this all had to do with legal issues stemming from a fight he didn’t start when he was 15.

    So my answer is, if it’s going to hurt or alarm your child, and there’s a possibility your child might read it…blog about something else.

  4. I think all of us want to get advice and share thoughts. You daughter also needs to learn what her limits are, and that not everything is for her understanding at her age. I think the world lets these children grow up to fast. I think also that its what limits you set for her, by setting examples. She needs to see a good example and you are ONE. Set limits with her, and hopefully she will learn also to respect your space too. I remember listening in on some of the conversations that my Parents had about me. Sometimes I wished I had missed them too.

  5. rjleaman says:

    It sounds to me as if your concern isn’t so much about posting material that might be “inappropriate” for an almost-8-year-old to read/hear, as it is about burdening your blog-reading child with too much insight into the kinds of concerns that come with adult life and responsibility? I hope so — and I think that we tend, too often, to get stuck inside the same box that holds items on a movie censor’s list — violence, sexually explicit content, swear words, and so on. Yes, all that’s a real concern — but even more important, I’d say, is how the individual child will process what he/she takes in. What anxieties and preoccupations may be created by those fertile little imaginations, by overexposure to a parent’s raw human vulnerability at a time when they still need Daddy to be a bit of a Superman? And that’s the kind of child-by-child assessment that only an aware and observant parent can make, isn’t it?

  6. Joe Jacobi says:

    As always, thanks for leading a thoughtful conversation that, judging from the comments already, hits home for a lot of us. Just the other day, my daughter (just turned 8) came out of her room and said, “Daddy, I didn’t know you went to the Great Wall!” I asked, “Who told you that?” She said, “I saw your video blog on JoeJacobi.com” (and very “matter of factly” too.) Yes, our content is more accessible than we imagined!

    Here’s my thought on this, Jonathan. If for some reason, all of sudden I was no longer here tomorrow, I’d be glad that my daughter (or any of my family) could see/find/discover my thoughts, ideas, perspectives on a variety of topics and issues. It’s a record/legacy of sorts.

    But while I am still here, Renegading goes into my style of fatherhood too. Sure, it may mean that sometimes I’m having a conversation with my daughter that might be happening a little sooner than I thought it might but it’s also a part of the opportunity that comes with our kids growing up in this generation.

    Finally, during our Renegade interview, I talked openly about my dad (with whom I have a great relationship) but maybe not the same way I would have talked about him had you been speaking with both of us on the call. Having said that, there will come a point in time where I will thank you for steering the conversation in that direction and appreciative to have such a reflection about my dad accessible to me and my family.

    Sorry for the long post.

  7. I am human with my kids, they know when I am out of line by our “family” terms. My 6 1/2 year old calls me on swearing, and I have to apologize and put money in the swear jar.

    I figure it this way, what would be harder for them to figure out; the Dad they think they know, or the Dad they have to discover online?? Im not really that smart, so I try to stick with one story. I deal with a lot of things I can’t talk to my kids about now, but I don’t put them out there for public record either.

    Tough question, I’m not a perfect parent, but I try my best to be the person they know…for real.

  8. John Jantsch says:

    Hey Jonathan,

    This hits home for me in a different way because I have kids getting out in the working world and participating in social media as part of their jobs, so in a way, they follow me as a professional resource, but I’m really, really boring when it comes to your primary point.

    Here’s my policy, I never (rarely) express personal, personal opinions because my business is an online business – this includes email – I get the occasional whacko email and I never respond in kind – first it’s not worth the energy and second, I don’t want to read it on whackosareus.com.

    My rule is never post anything online that you wouldn’t be proud to have your mom read. Kind of boring, but long term, works for me.

  9. It’s a great question and clearly one that individual parents each have to answer for themselves.
    The bottom line for me has to be that if I wouldn’t be happy to discuss the subject with my kids (10 and 13) then I wont be blogging about it. Simple.
    Though it might seem like an uncomfortable restriction right now, I’ve noticed how fast they tend to grow, so what won’t work this year may well be fine by next.
    And I kind of like acknowledging their presence this way too.

  10. Greg says:

    The first thought that went through my mind was how glad I was that my parents did not have access to the Internet and the social media that is available today. Growing up, I watched the parent network spread information from one home to another. Dinner time conversation was where kids overheard information and were at liberty to take that information out of context and use it as a weapon on the elementary school playground. Do they still have playgrounds and recess time? An innocent conversation about someone losing a job hit the playground rumor mill as “so and so’s dad got fired. They are going on welfare and losing their house” and much worse. Information travels further and faster than ever before. We communicate at an incredible rate. This means we need to become much, much better communicators and listeners. We have two sons in college and one is graduating in a few weeks. They love to rib me about the things I post on Facebook. It gives me a the opportunity to point out that some of the photos and content on their blogs, Facebook, and MySpace could be used against them when entering the job market, as many companies use the social sites to do inexpensive background checks on potential new highers. I guess what I’m trying to say is if you put something out there it stands a chance of being misunderstood. Our best efforts can still fall short. In sales we are taught to make product shortcomings a non-issue by explaining them upfront. I try to do the same thing with my family by communicating upfront and doing the checking. When the boys were small, I would ask them to explain what we just talked about in their own words. They taught me a lot. ;o)
    It helped that many times my wife was able to bring her “as mom sees it” perspective to the conversation. Our sons grew up knowing that mom and dad are always there for them. They know I am human and that being human is ok. They have watched me grow and work through things and come out stronger. I’m no Superman, and I don’t have to be. I just try to be a power of example, as best I can.

    I don’t know if any of my rambling makes any sense. I’m proud of the men our sons have become, inspight of my mistakes and shortcomings. If they ever read this, boy am I going to get a ribbing. Jonathan, you are doing a great thing here and with your marvelous book. Your post really shows you are trying to do the right thing and from the heart. Thank you.

  11. Amy says:

    I have three children who are 12, 9 and 6. The 12 yo loves to read my blog. The 9 yo will read it if I tell him a post is about him. The 6yo has no clue. There are family topics that don’t make it into the blog b/c I want to maintain some control over what little privacy exists in our lives. However, I maintain a separate blog that my family doesn’t no about on which I remain entirely anonymous where I can share some of those issues. Is it more work? Yes. Does it seem disingenuous to have a secret social media persona? A little. But it’s what works for me.

  12. Though I don’t have children I do have parents/grandparents/family members who read my blog.

    There are many things about my lifestyle that we don’t connect on, things that can really strike a chord. I have to let all of that go and just speak from the heart about the things that resonate with me. I mean, what else is my blog for?

    Sometimes I get a comment from my dad and it is clear to me that he read my last post and something made him uncomfortable or he has questions. I love that I have the opportunity to talk to him about it . We have grown more because of these talks and it is in direct relation to what I have to say to my online family and followers. There are ideas in fact that I have no trouble writing about but might be more cautious if I were having a F2F and discussing the same thing.

    I can imagine this will be true for you at some point. Keep writing what is relevant and be on the lookout for the opportunity to share with your daughter the “whys” and “hows” of your thoughts if/when she chooses to ask you about it. If something strikes her about what you write and then she takes the step to follow up by asking you about it then you have another perfect opportunity to parent her.

    Conversations become another way for you two to grow in your relationship.

    On the other hand she may just keep reading about what is going on in your head and never question it. At the end of the day you will just have to take comfort in the notion that living life out loud will teach her that she can make her own rules, dance to her own drum, and that she has a dad who proves these things with the stroke of a few keys.

    Carpe Diem!!