Children wind up using social media at early ages and create a digital footprint which can show up in Google searches by colleges and employers. A digital footprint is the trail of messages and images associated with their personal identity that once sent and posted can never be completely deleted. This new reality poses a challenge for youth with regard to identity management and adolescence. Adolescence is a time of exploring self identity, and sometimes kids wind up doing stupid or inappropriate things that do not accurately represent their personhood as adults in the work world.
Parents can help. Encourage your child to think about is this question: whatever you are posting and sharing, is this something you want to represent who you REALLY are? Now more than ever the concept of integrity must be explained in practical terms because what children share and say on-line can impact college admissions and future employment. Imagine if the most cruel or stupid thing you ever did as an adolescent was presented for your college admission review, or an interview for employment. This is what cyber-powered youth must consider as they engage and share via texting and social media platforms. Parents can help their children by monitoring cyber communications and encouraging conversations about how their on-line behavior aligns with their values.
Career planning expert, Mary Konow, M.S., G.C.D.F. is the owner of MK Career Designs in Roseville, California. She prepares people of all ages to successfully manage their own careers as a branding experience. “Communicating your brand value is a matter of integrity in that your on-line persona resembles the resume and the image of the person you expect to present when you apply for college and employment opportunities,” she said. “People don’t realize how the things that are posted and said on-line can cost a child a scholarship or a job opportunity in the future.” She offers the following tips for parents to help their children use social media so that it enhances their pursuit of college and career objectives.
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:21
Social media tips to set your child up for college and career success
1. Parents need to filter what they say on line with regard to their child. Be careful not to share your frustrations – those ugly parenting moments are so easily shared when venting emotion. College administrators and future employers do not need to know how your child has acted in ways that disappointed you. That is too much information. “We can become so comfortable using social media, we believe that what we share is only going to the people we actually intended,” Konow said.
2. Try “googling” yourself and your kids. Find out what type of online reputation already exists across the web. What we post about our kids and ourselves does not go away, it is not deleted, and it can be searched for years to come by potential employers, colleges and university admission staff. Make efforts to clean up any negative posts, photos and or comments.
3. Take steps to monitor your social media reputation using several free tools:
- Set up Google alerts so you know when your name, or your child’s name, is searched around the web.
- Check out Who’ Talkin for a megacrawler, searching over 60 social media portals.
- Topsy is a Twitter search and analytics tool that allows you to search for tweets all the way back to 2006. If you’re looking to track links, photos or videos, then check out Topsy.
“We are children’s biggest cheerleaders,” Konow said. “It is our God-given blessing to teach them, nurture them, love them, and prepare them for success. Just being aware of what you are putting online and filtering new information can go very far in insuring a bright future for both parents and kids.”
ABOUT: Banana Moments Foundation is a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. The BMF mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. To that end, ten percent of all BMF proceeds are donated to prison ministries. Your Donations are greatly appreciated.
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.
- Cyber safety for kids and families on TheFish103.9FM (videos)
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- Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner
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- Email: Jullien@surewest.net
Jodie Stevens, hostess of The Fish Family Morning Show on 103.9FM The Fish offers insights and lessons learned about faith and recovery from addiction. Check out her blog, Genuine Life with Jodie Stevens, weekday mornings on the Family Morning Show.