In the mommy blogger world, it’s not totally unusual to see way too much oversharing about the private lives of children. But that doesn’t make it OK — especially when the kids are old enough to figure out what’s going on.
Christie Tate has been a blogger for over 10 years, and she’s been writing about the lives of her son and daughter since they were babies. She shares intimate details of her kids’ experiences in her blog posts, including the types of details that very few preteens would ever want all over the internet.
So when Christie gifted her 9-year-old daughter with her very first laptop, the girl was horrified at what she found.
“First stop: an Internet-wide search on my name,” Christie wrote in an essay for the Washington Post. “Second stop: a furious march to my room, where she thrust the shiny new device in my face.”
Christie’s daughter felt deeply upset and uncomfortable that her photos and private experiences were all over the internet. Even worse, the young girl had had no idea about them.
She asked her mom to take the posts down and stop writing about her online, but her mom refused. Now, the writer is facing intense backlash on social media.
Christie is a veteran mommy blogger. She has written at length about both of her children on her blog, Outlaw Mama.
According to BuzzFeed, Christie’s blog posts include embarrassing potty stories and tales of schoolyard drama. She’s always used her children’s real names and photos.
Until recently, neither child had any idea that their private experiences had been plastered all over the internet.
But when Christie’s 9-year-old daughter got a laptop of her own for Christmas, one of the first things she did was Google her mother’s name. She found everything.
Christie detailed the confrontation in an essay for the Washington Post.
“‘What’s all this?’ she said,” Christie recalled.
“The screen was covered with thumbnail sketches of her as a baby, a toddler and preschooler — each paired with an essay or blog post I’d written on the subject of parenting. ‘Why are all of these pictures of me on the Internet?'”
The stories in the blog posts were especially upsetting. One, in particular, was disturbing for Christie’s daughter to read; it was about the time she’d been pushed away by a close friend in second grade. In Christie’s essay about the incident, she essentially said she understood why the friend might have found her daughter to be overbearing.
Christie’s daughter asked her mom to please stop writing about her on the internet. She also asked that her photos and some of the posts be taken down.
But Christie refused to promise that outright.
“Promising not to write about her anymore would mean shutting down a vital part of myself, which isn’t necessarily good for me or her,” the blogger explained.
Instead of complying with her daughter’s demands, Christie came up with several compromises.
“For now, we have agreed that I will not submit a picture for a publication without her permission and that she has absolute veto rights on any image of herself,” she wrote.
Christie also agreed to let her daughter know when she’s writing about her and to “keep the facts involving her to a minimum.” She’ll also use a pseudonym for her daughter instead of her real name.
Still, judging by the fact that Christie literally linked to the exact blog post that her daughter found humiliating in her Washington Post essay, it seems like she maybe still doesn’t get the problem.
People are having strong reactions to this essay on social media. Most of the responses are the same: This is a really questionable parenting call.
Most of the uproar boils down to the fact that a 9-year-old is definitely old enough to give consent — or take it away.
In fact, this is one of the few times that virtually everyone on the internet actually agrees about something.
Many Twitter users are in downright disbelief that Christie actually thinks this is OK.
Surely not all mommy bloggers are awful, but treating your daughter’s life experiences as your own free-use writing material is definitely… questionable. To put it mildly.
Some people pointed out how damaging this revelation will likely be for Christie’s relationship with her daughter, who will no longer be able to trust her with private information. After all, Christie only said she’d give her daughter a preview of her writing — not that she would ask for permission to publish it.
And Christie isn’t the only mommy blogger out there who fails to prioritize her kid’s privacy.
How hard is it to use a pseudonym and avoid identifying details from the very beginning?! And more importantly, how are these children going to be affected by this when they grow up and access these essays on the internet?
Christie hasn’t yet responded to the backlash. But if nothing else, her daughter may have now discovered something helpful on her new laptop: The ENTIRE internet is siding with her on this issue.