Online Reputation and Teens

It’s the holidays and that can mean more time online.

We are becoming a broken record as we try to explain to our kids what they post online can potentially affect their future.

The Internet is a wonderful educational tool but can also work against us if not properly used.  I like to use the phrase, “the Internet is like a gun, you have to learn to use it responsibly.”

The dangers of technology, especially for kids and teens, has been in the media for the past several years.  Whether it is cyberbullying or Internet predators, our country is not a stranger to these horrific events.

For teens looking forward to a higher education and especially those in need of scholarships to help them finance college, they need to think before they post on their social networking sites such as Facebook.

According to a 2011 Kaplan study, 80% of college admissions are using search engines and a students’ social media presence to screen their applicants which means your college application aren’t the only papers being reviewed about your child.  Do you know what your digital footprint is saying about you?

Now let’s talk money.  Especially in today’s economy many families and students are applying for as many scholarships are they can.  Recent reports, like college admissions, are also using students’ social media presence to determine whether they deserve the scholarship.

Facebook is obviously the largest social networking site that many use.  Isn’t it time to encourage your teen to sit down and clean it up?  Especially with the latest Facebook Timeline, it is simply a click away to see pictures or comments that simply just don’t need to be there.  Remember, unfortunately all your posts and comments on your friends pages are still lingering in cyberspace too.  So now is the time to seriously stop and think before you post that silly comment.  Is it really worth a scholarship?

You may think because your child’s Facebook is set on private you are safe.  Don’t be fooled.  If it’s online, it’s usually public information – remember your child is friends with friends that may not have their privacy settings set as high.

Don’t risk losing a scholarship or a college of your choice for a dumb remark online or a compromising photo!

3 Tips to maintain your teen’s digital resume:

  • Set up your Google, MSN, Bing, Yahoo, Twilert alerts (always know when there is something online about you so you can address it immediately). It only takes a few minutes, it is free and can save you a lot of reputation repair later on.
  • Buy your own URL in your teen’s name.  This can be less than $10.00 through GoDaddy and you can own your own online real estate.  Building a site can be easy and if you can do it with your personal interests, it sets the tone  for your future.  Weebly.com is a free service to build your website.
  • Create a Blog about you and your interests.  This is free.  Use your name as the URL.  You can use Blogger.com (Blogspot) or WordPress.com.  Both are user friendly and again, create it about you and your interests.  Keep your grammar and spelling in check.

Check these examples out!

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