Social Media, in its earliest form, was created to share photos and to connect with friends. Today, social media has evolved, and our online reputation is synonymous with who we are both online and off. If damaged, though online, a negative online reputation can have real-life impacts.
The fact is, being on social media is now seen as a societal norm. What kind of persona do you display on your social media? You don’t have a social media? What are you trying to hide? While these questions may seem arbitrary, to your child’s college admissions officers and potential employers, these questions are standard.
According to a Survey conducted in 2013, 33% of admissions officers report looking at applicants’ social media. They claimed that “what is posted on the internet is considered public knowledge.” Even more alarming, 70% of employers regularly use social media to screen their potential candidates.
Because social media has the potential to have such a large impact on your child’s future, it’s crucial for them to be taught how to manage their online reputation. Here are seven simple ways to ensure your child is scrolling for success.
1) Make Your own Social Media Account
Parents who are more familiar with their child’s social media platforms are better able to teach what to do and what not to do. Once you make your own account, you can then send a friend request to your child. Because you are then connected to their social media, it will discourage them from posting what they are doing at their “after school hangout,” especially if they know their parents or other family members will be able to clearly see it.
2) Ask Them This Important Question
A question that should be asked to anyone with a social media account is: “If your future employer were to do an online search of you right now, how concerned would you be with what they could find?” If the answer is “Not very,” great! If they pause and think, it may be time to start reviewing the content they share. The best way to find a solution is to find the problem.
3) Make Sure Their Social Media is “Private”
While this cannot guarantee absolute privacy, it can help to prevent strangers from easily taking your child’s image and placing it in an out of context situation. Any public photos or videos posted online can be easily duplicated and put into any article, news report, poster, etc. Be sure all of your child’s accounts are set to private, they do not accept any friend requests from strangers, and they do not click on any links sent to them by a stranger.
4) Encourage Teens and Young Adults to Create a LinkedIn Profile
Social Media is not the enemy. In fact, 37% of employers say they have actually hired a candidate because their social media reflected the personality of the company. Platforms such as LinkedIn allow employers to see your child’s past job experiences and current employment goals.
5) Be Sure They are Posting Their Accomplishments
Social Media is about more than just posting selfies. Online profiles should be viewed as online portfolios of personal goals and accomplishments. Help your child by taking photos of them at volunteer events, with an honors award, or even a candid of them falling asleep at the table doing homework. Posting photos like these will show a well-rounded young adult who is passionate about their goals (and may need a bit more sleep at night).
6) Have Regular Conversations about Social Media
A conversation about the dangers of social media is important. Making your child aware of the potential impact a post can have on their future, might make them think twice about what they are posting.
7) Reach out to the Better Business Bureau for Resources
If you have questions about ways you can protect yourself online, reach out to your local BBB.