With the rise of social media, many colleges and future employers have turned to it to find out more about their applicants. Here are some tips to use with your children to protect their online reputation.
- Allow it
- Monitor it
- Watch who they connect with
- Clean it up
- Build a positive digital footprint (to create a clean online reputation)
Encourage students to come to you with any questions and to ask your opinion on things they are posting
By allowing your child to engage in social media at an earlier age, you are giving them an increased potential at understanding its appropriate use. Start the account together and decide what information should be posted. Go over some ground rules on what they are and are not allowed to post and what is deemed appropriate. Gradually allow your student to use social media more independently as they gain more responsibility. Encourage your student to come to you with any questions and to ask your opinion on things they are posting.
Check what your student is posting. If your student is posting about something that makes you question whether or not it’s appropriate, it most likely isn’t and imagine what others, i.e. a college admissions officer or potential employer, would think if they saw it.
Watch the types of comments your child leaves on others’ posts
Watch the types of comments your child leaves on others’ posts. Are they being respectful of themselves and others? Also, monitor the original content of the posts your child is liking or commenting on. Are their “likes” indicative of what they enjoy? Commenting or liking inappropriate content should be avoided. If what you’re student likes or comments on is something that would get the original poster in trouble, your student’s association with the post, via a like or comment, will look just as bad to anyone who comes across it.
Most importantly, have consequences and follow through on them if your child is not following the social media behavioral rules you’ve established.
Who your kids are friends with online can affect the way others view them
Anything or anyone connected to your student can be found. Monitor the photos and posts your child is tagged in. Who they are friends with online can affect the way others view your child. Also, check who and what they are following. Their interests can significantly influence their image.
Like a closet, after a while a person’s social media page can become cluttered and have some questionable choices
Like a closet, after a while a person’s social media page can become cluttered and have some questionable choices. Just because something was posted two years ago, doesn’t mean someone won’t look at. Sift through older content on social media on occasion and clean up anything unnecessary. While everything posted on the internet is technically permanent, it can be beneficial to delete anything that raises question.
The quickest way to check a student’s digital footprint is through Google or other search engines
The quickest way to check a student’s digital footprint is through Google or other search engines. What amount of information can be found? Is there nothing? Is there too much? It’s getting to the point when nothing found on a student online can be hurtful, i.e. do they exist? But so can having too much.
Students typically think of social media as a way to socialize with friends. However, teach your student how to effectively use social media to showcase his/her talents and potential. This provides a more credible digital representation of your student to admissions officers and potential employers who may be googling them. A positive digital footprint will enhance college and scholarship applications, or supplement a resume when your child is applying for a job.
Learn more about our guest expert:Melissa Davis, CEO & Co-Founder of GoEnnounce.com
Melissa is the CEO and co-founder of GoEnnounce.com, a social education and crowdfunding platform for students. GoEnnounce connects students with their networks to help them achieve more academically. Students ‘ennounce’ and track achievements, projects, and goals to get the encouragement and financial help they need to succeed.
Melissa created GoEnnounce, to give students a place to tell their educational stories with the family, friends and mentors who can help them reach their goals, in a safe, social environment where students can begin to build their digital legacy. She believes that what students do in school, as well as in their extracurricular activities, are both equally important in defining who they are and shaping their futures.
What student tips do you have for building a clean online reputation for colleges? Let us know in the comment box below.