It’s hard for kids to think that the things they do now will matter later. But the reality is, those things will, especially if they have put them anywhere on the Internet. Sure, having a Facebook page is cool and fun, but kids and teens need to know that what goes on Facebook, stays on Facebook. Once something has been put online or sent out as a text, it’s out there, and unfortunately, there’s no getting it back.
Read on to find out more information about online reputations—and how you can protect your own and your child’s.
What You as a Parent Can Do
As parents, it’s your job to get this in your child’s head. Kids and
teens need to know there are viable repercussions for posts, pictures,
and texts they might publish. Parents need to let them know this.
Explain to your kids it’s not as easy as deleting a post—or even an
account—to get rid of something. Explain how fast things can travel
through social networking and how easy they are to dig up.
Parents should monitor cell phones and computers and see what their
kids are texting, emailing, tweeting, and posting. Let your kids know
you’ll be doing this and make some surprise attacks as well. Reality is
that as technology gets better, more of it becomes accessible to kids.
When cell phones first became the norm for kids to have, you could still
find one without texting or cameras; now you’d be hard pressed to get
one of those. But set boundaries and make your child aware of what can
happen—where that one picture could end up, or who may come across that
How Will This Affect Kids Later?
But really, what’s the big deal, your kid may ask.
Who’s going to see it? Well, the answer is as simple as it is
broad—anyone! Most employers now do a quick Google search on any
potential employee, and they also take a look at Facebook pages. If your
child has a bad online reputation, whether from pictures he or she has
posted, or from posts that even mention his or her name, it can surface.
And it can be ugly.
Imagine a potential employer looking at a few applicants. Does the
one with the partying life on Facebook, the ugly comments directed at
others, and vivid accounts of late nights and hangovers win over the one
with the more professional online presence? Probably not.
It’s not just potential bosses that will look at online reputations,
but so will the people who decide on college applications. What your
child has put online over the years can have a huge impact on getting
into a college of choice or not.
Though some future concepts are hard for kids to
understand, it is vital that they keep clean online reputations. If a
parent can simply impose the standard of “If you don’t want your
potential boss to see it, don’t do it,” maybe there would be a lot less
regrets of posts and pics on the Internet by kids and teens.
Special contributor: Heather Legg is an author who writes on parenting tips, technology, and healthy lifestyles.