The growth of the Internet has made it very easy to find information about a person online. The more information you post, the more likely you are to show up in search results. Your teenager is no different.
Teenage online reputation is largely determined by what they post online, as well as what their peers post. It is essential they learn how to manage their profiles responsibly. Help them to understand their digital footprint – the trail they leave behind every time they use the Internet. Explain the consequences of reacting too quickly online and making ill-advised posts.
Set clear guidelines and spell out the ‘dos and don’ts’ of communicating online. The golden rule of making posts, comments and chatting online is that you should only say something that you would be willing to say to someone in person. Topics which are not acceptable to chat or post about, such as drugs and alcohol, should be avoided. Deleting posts, images and comments after the event may be too late if others have already circulated the content. Online content has the potential to go viral at the speed of light, and once this happens your teenager has lost control.
So how can you help?
- Encourage them to create an online profile that reflects who they are, their interests, hobbies and experiences.
- Inspire them to set up a social media presence across platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.
- Assist them in purchasing their own domain name e.g. YourName.com, and in creating their own personal blog or website.
- Explain that the images of themselves they use online, in any scenario, should be ones they would want a potential recruiter or admissions officer to see.
- Advise them to remove unwanted tags on unsuitable posts or images.
Download a copy of the full e-book A Guide to Managing Your Teenager’s Personal Information Online here.