While Joan Jett may not have given a damn about her reputation, your kids probably should. With college admissions officers and employers routinely scouring online platforms for background (and red flags) about potential students and employees, young people and their parents should be savvy about how to use social media to give off green lights instead of red flags. According to the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau, here are six simple ways that parents can ensure their kids’ online reps are positive:
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, send a friend request to your child.
2. Ask Them One 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.
3. Make Sure Their Social Media is “Private”
While this cannot guarantee absolute privacy, it can help prevent strangers from easily taking your child’s image and placing it in an out-of-context situation. Be sure 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 portfolios of personal goals and accomplishments. Help your child by taking photos of them at volunteer events or with awards.
6. Have Regular Conversations about Social Media
A conversation about the pros and cons 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.
Source: Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (bbb.org/wisconsin)