The Importance of Establishing a Positive Online Reputation

These days our digital footprint acts as an online “portfolio” which outlines and mirrors our interests, personality and character. Just as first impressions are everything, the choices we make when establishing our online footprint and subsequently our reputation will be long lasting. The earlier we work to establish a positive online reputation the better.

The Internet should be thought of as a massive showcase in which to allow your greatest and most triumphant attributes to shine. While on the other hand, it can also showcase your lowest and most distasteful characteristics. The truth is, it can only showcase what you choose to share, the choice is up to you and the reputation or response given will be a direct reflection of your initial choice. When thinking about this from a parenting point of view it is easy to see why this topic should be discussed.

Our children have the luxury of having digital “clean-slates” with no blemishes with the potential to shape their futures. The following headings will outline three of the most important reasons to establish a positive online reputation as early as possible and will offer parents tips as to how to aid their children in this process.

School

Does your child have big dreams of their future career? Well, imagine those dreams being stifled by one inappropriate socially offensive comment or photo. Usually children upload carelessly before giving thought to how they will be perceived. When it comes to an online reputation, perception is everything.

Remind your children to only post, like or share things that are true to their nature and that can not be perceived as contrary to who they really are. The last thing they want are schools to assume they are someone they are not.

Admissions offices, scholarship panels and faculty deans also realize that a potential student’s social media platform can usually give a more honest portrayal of who they “really” are rather than their long-winded essay or school application. Many teachers have even been fired for simply posting pictures of themselves while consuming alcohol or portraying other inappropriate themes. The importance of online modesty and truthfulness can be crucial to any scholar’s academic career.

Work

Does your teen plan on landing an impressive internship or heading right into their desired career track after university or college? Employers often check social media and run more online searches of each applicant they are considering. Social media sites are quick checks when any employer wants to get to know more about an applicant.

There was a story on the radio a few years back in which a girl admitted to being fired because she took a “sick day” but went to the beach instead. To make matters worse, she made a comment on her Facebook wall about how she dislikes her job and just needed a day off. Needless to say she was fired that same day. This kind of thing happens pretty often with youngsters who act rebellious to sound cool but lose their job for things they post online. Complaining about your job online is a sure way to convince the employer to relieve you of that stress.

Your children work hard to do well in school and to land their dream job. It would be devastating to have their dreams sidetracked for something as simple as a thoughtless comment or a video that was published in a lapse of judgement. Luckily these issues can be avoided by thinking before posting. Remind your children to engage in meaningful online discussions and to use their time with a smartphone or the Internet in positive and productive ways instead of being distracted by the madness. Future employers will find these choices impressive and will weigh positively on their chances of being hired.

Social Reputation

Children and teens these days basically live out most of their social life over the Internet. Therefore the internet becomes a sort of “playground” setting equipped with modern day “playground” bullies and cliques. It is easy to get sucked into the trend of online trashing/bullying because anyone can write things that affect others without the need to face them in person. Hiding behind the words on a screen, bullies spew some hurtful things or others might share too much information without realizing how public their thoughts really are.

Remind your children to be kind while online and to establish positive online relationships. The way they learn to treat people online will likely carry into how they treat others in person and how others treat them. It is important to practice intentional kindness so that kindness becomes a habit. The type of personality they practice online will carry into their academic and workplace personality.

It is not only important to treat others with respect, but it is just as important to treat oneself with online respect as well. The types of photos that are posted and the various pages that are liked on Facebook can directly affect the way peers perceive your children.

Promiscuous photos and comments will give your children a promiscuous reputation. After a while the type of online stigma they are given sticks with them and that will weigh heavily on the type of subsequent attention they receive. Remind your children to post, like and comment on things and photos that will bring them positive and respectful responses.

To Sum It Up

As a parent I would suggest that you frequently conduct an Internet search of your own and your children’s names to keep a watchful eye on the online reputation they are building.
Remind your children that these social media outlets should not be confused as being their own personal diary. Remind them to keep things personal and to think of their various online social venues as an opportunity to promote the very best version of themselves.

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