1. Put down your device.
Take a moment and consider your own online reputation. Is it one you’d hope your child would emulate? Perhaps you use social media differently than your child, and you focus more on career oriented sites like LinkedIn. If that’s the case, take the time to show your child the sites you use and how you use them. Learning how a different age bracket uses social media will begin to expand your child’s horizons to the longevity and utility of posting information on the world wide web.
Reflect on any anecdotes you may have about how friends or colleagues have utilized the internet to advance their reputation. Perhaps you have a neighbor who helped fundraise for a worthy cause and got the word out on Facebook. Or you have a relative whose artwork was displayed at a local museum, and they used Instagram to share their experience. Kids are often aware of the pitfalls an online presence presents, but they might not be as familiar with the ways the internet can amplify their positive experiences.
2. Ok, now pick it up again.
Consider getting an account for yourself on the social media platforms your child uses. This will allow you to follow or ‘friend’ your child so that you can be aware of what information they provide online. Additionally, by having an account, you will receive alerts from the social media company whenever they are making substantial changes to policies impacting members. And while your child might automatically delete these notifications, you will have the chance to read them and pass on any salient points.
And while you’re signing up for your social media accounts, be sure to follow Cornerstone Reputation. We routinely provide articles and insights on the world of Online Reputation Management for school-age children. You can find us on Twitter @CornerstoneR and on Facebook!
3. Listen and Ask
In order to gain a sense of which platforms your child frequents, ask them! Ask which social media your child uses and what they like/dislike about each site. You’ll learn a lot of about how they’re communicating with their peers. And you’ll also have a chance to learn what kind of information your child seeks out of each forum. Maybe Facebook is primarily used for official school communication, Twitter is used to plan social gatherings, and Instagram helps your child stay in the loop on sporting events or television programs. What matters is your gaining an awareness of how your child uses different platforms so you can help them ensure they’re cultivating a positive reputation.
Consider taking the time to sit with your child and review the information they post online. Walking through each social media platform will help familiarize you with how they work and with what message your children (and their peers) are sending to the world. You can also show your child how to search for themselves online, which will give them the opportunity to discover things they may not be aware of.
By Jennifer Schwartz