In Digijaks daily course of business with reputation management we come across a lot of people (adults) who have seen their life get turned upside down because of something appearing in search results that negatively affect them. This happens so much, and so often it has created a whole industry to deal with it. Search results leading to problems to people happen for many reasons. I recently wrote about this problem on the Huffington Post as it relates to adults.
But this same correlation exists for kids, for families and the same problems may arise, but with lifelong implications. Imagine being an 11 year old who innocently posts a picture or a quote or a poem or a location, thinking nothing of it. Fast forward 6 years to college applications. You can be very sure college admissions officers are carefully looking at social media, at search engine results and other digital mediums to find reasons to say no. The same is true for private high schools; and employers, the military and many others.
We all need to work with our kids to help them understand the direct linkage between social media use and search results that can and will last a lifetime. This affects a lifetime of Reputation Management and Reputation Control efforts that need to start at a young age.
- Have a family discussion, and make it more than one time; about the critical relationship between posts on social media, search results and your children’s future.
- Be constantly on the lookout for pictures, quotes, links to offensive material and other social media faux paus that might be innocent in nature but can lead to lifelong difficulties.
- Set up Google Alerts in your family’s name, your name, and your kids name. This will alert you when posts from social media land in search results, and also when other websites pick up that material.
- Set up a family social media plan that includes rules and guidelines for what your family feels is appropriate, ethical or morally ok to be posted onto the internet.
- Remember that nothing that gets posted on the Internet is only in one place. Once posted, it will be replicated on multiple servers, and therefore can keep coming back in search results even if the original post is taken down.