Last month, I featured a guest blogger, who discussed ways parents can keep their children safe from online predators. Today's guest blogger, Amanda Stock from http://amandastock.com/, will discuss ways parents can keep their tween/teen safe from themselves. Curious? Keep reading...
Picture this: You are 35 years old and married with a successful career. One day, like any other, you get an alert from a social networking website. Someone has tagged a photo of you. You click the link to see what photo it is. To your horror and embarrassment, it is you at age 16 standing in front of a mirror, camera in hand, wearing nothing but your underwear, and making the sexiest face a 16-year-old can muster up. You have no way to delete this photo since someone else has uploaded it, and it is quickly making its way to everyone in your social circle – family and business contacts included.
This story is not far fetched. In fact, within the next five to ten years, this scenario could become a reality for many of today’s teenagers. With the increased popularity of online social networking and sharing comes the need for education on the importance of protecting your tween/teen's reputation.
Search engine results and social networking websites are now used widely by employers to screen candidates for job positions. Colleges and other institutions are not far behind. And it doesn’t just affect your professional life. Soon to be in-laws, first dates, and many others are using these same tactics to find more information about you.
HOW TO HELP YOUR TEEN PROTECT THEIR REPUTATION ONLINE:
- Any image, video or other media you upload online can be saved by anyone. Be selective about the media you upload and monitor what your friends and family upload as well. If you find someone has posted something that may be compromising, ask them nicely to remove it. Be sure to look at the details as well, such as a skirt that has a mind of its own or a shirt that is hanging low.
- Choose your words wisely. Facebook statuses and Twitter updates are stored in databases, along with any other content you share - your profile information, blog posts, blog comments, forums, and all social networking websites. If you are having personal or emotional issues, avoid posting every detail online, especially in places everyone and anyone can see, like Twitter.
- Google yourself once in awhile. Type you name into Google, Yahoo, and MSN every few months and see what information is showing up. Searching the first three pages is usually sufficient. There are also tools available that will do this for you and alert you when new information shows up.
- Create positive content about yourself and post it online. This way, search results for your name will show information that you want people to know about you.
- Most importantly be (or become) a person who doesn't get caught in compromising situations, which can be recorded and posted on the Internet.
- Discuss this growing problem with your tweens/teens. Ensure they understand and maintain boundaries when using social networking and user generated websites (forums, blog comments, videos, and web cams, etc.). Don't be afraid to create social networking accounts and follow them so that you can keep a watchful eye on their activities.
These are great tips every parent should take time to discuss with their tween/teen. We've all seen the horror stories, especially of girls sexting, and at the push of a button, their life can be destroyed.
Bio: Amanda Stock has over 9 years of online marketing experience and has help several businesses and individuals overcome online reputation crisis. She currently helps entrepreneurs build successful, result driven online businesses. Visit the links below to connect with her.