Thursday, September 29, 2011
Why I Don't Post Family Pictures on my Blog
Blogs, especially mom and family blogs, chronicle alot of personal stuff. They post on the day to day activities of their families, precious moments of their children captured on film and even post excitedly about upcoming, much anticipated events. I want to share these things as well. I love looking at beautiful pictures of other people's families and family outings, even glimpses of their homes, but as a military family, we must practice what is known as opsec. Other military wives are nodding knowingly right now. The rest of you are likely scratching your heads.
Opsec, or operational security, means that we practice safety regarding our deployed military spouses and our families left behind. We don't splash photos of our soldier spouse all over our blogs so that their faces are clearly recognizable by strangers who might mean them harm or target them to further their own agenda. We don't talk about specific dates or details of expected departures, arrivals, or leave. We don't talk or post about the specifics of their mission or whereabouts and this includes other social media outlets such as facebook and twitter.
We, as families, are briefed on this practice in pre-deployment meetings and it is reinforced in family meetings and newsletters. We are constantly reminded that, like it or not, sometimes families are targeted back home by terrorists or even scammers who prey on the worries of the spouses at home for their soldiers abroad. A recent scam concerns people calling spouses of deployed military, telling them their soldier has been injured or taken hostage and requesting money from the frantic spouse. Yes, people do this. We are schooled from the beginning on how we will be notified if any such incident occurs, so hopefully most of us don't fall for this.
Maybe it puts my blog at a bit of a disadvantage, not to be able to share my family so openly. I know it certainly has been difficult. I have found some ways around it. If you see pictures of my family, they will be walking away from the camera or standing enough in the distance to be obscured or their faces will be naturally obscured in other ways (eg. hair blowing across their faces or sunglasses). I have occasionaly had to post headless pictures of my daughter when she served as a helper for me in a DIY post. I have only broken this rule once regarding my daughter, in one single post and I worried about it. But it would've been difficult to convey my daughter's emotions in that post otherwise. I told myself it would be promptly removed had it been followed by anything weird or suspicious.
As families of deployed spouses, we must all do our part in the security of the mission and the safety of our soldiers. Maybe some day in the future I will be able to share more openly, but for now, being discreet is a small price to pay.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/saritainchina/1161176969/