Teaching Kids About Their Online Reputation

One great thing about technology is that information is easily accessible. In this picture, we have the world which represents all the information we now have access to through the internet.   When we have a question, we Google  it to get the answer. All this information comes to our computers, laptops, cell phones and digital devices.

When you reverse it, all the information we put out onto the internet through emails, blogs, social network sites, comments, posts, pictures, videos, etc. is available to the world. Maybe you have put privacy settings on your information, but it could still be exposed and available for all to read or see.

Your online reputation is what is revealed when we look at your online presence. Your online  reputation  is revealed when we google  your name, look at your social network profiles, posts and comments. Do you know what your online reputation says about you?  If you don't, you should.

Don't be fooled into thinking that anything is private, even email is at risk of being publicized.   Recently, those that had a Gmail account had their private Gmail contacts exposed on Google Buzz.   Most Gmail account holders didn't even realize this.   In addition, Facebook had a glitch and revealed private chat conversations.   Those have been fixed, but it has taught us that we are at risk of having everything exposed.  If you don't want it out there for the whole world to see, don't write it and send it.

Technology has two sides “ the good and the bad.   Do you want to create opportunities or do you want them to be taken away?

In Texas, we can use the true story of 2 teens and how technology and their online reputation (what the internet says about you) changed their future.  Both of these stories can be found on the Texas Attorney General's website.

Alex's Story

Alex was on his high school baseball team and received a college scholarship.   Things were great! Until one night at a party (where he had been drinking “ underage) someone took a picture of him and posted it on their Facebook page.   Shortly after, the school principal called him in to his office and told him he was kicked off the baseball team. In addition, he lost his scholarship!

Can you imagine all those lessons and practices it took to get on the high school team and a scholarship to college?   He and his parents had sacrificed a lot through his childhood and were rewarded with the scholarship.   Can you imagine how he felt when he had to tell his parents he was kicked off the team AND lost his scholarship?   That is a BIG deal!

How do you think his friend that posted the picture felt? I would hate to be the one that played a role in getting my friend kicked off the team and losing a scholarship.

You have to think about all the consequences of what you expose to the world.   Do you really want to expose this comment, thought, picture, video to the world?

Now let's look at an example of a good online reputation that creates opportunities.

Kevin's Story

Kevin started a personal blog and shared what he was learning and projects he was working on. He didn't want to write just to write, his goal was to have a purpose in every post.   He noticed people were following his blog.   When he was a freshman in college, a major software company found him through his blog.  They  were impressed and he will probably work for them  when  he graduates.

Can you imagine being a freshman in college and a major company already wants you to work for them? Think of the opportunities he will have to choose from by the time he graduates.   Kevin has built a solid online reputation!

Technology can be used for good or bad.  We want to teach our kids how to be a cyber citizen that uses technology the right way by building a solid online reputation that creates great opportunities.

Will you use technology to create opportunities or have them taken away?

Parents, you can help your kids just by talking to them, don't know how to cover all this on your own?

Try the Internet Safety Program for Families, it will teach you the Top 10 Online Safety Concerns. When you are done, it also includes an online safety training program for your kids.  This covers over 25 topics that kids need to know about in order to manage their online reputation.

This is the program I used over a year ago and my kids are using it today to stay safe online.

Great program for kids to learn internet safety over the summer!

2 Comments

  1. Great article Cammie! As a blogger who puts her life out on the internet, I will want to teach my daughter about the importance of your online reputation and integrity. Thank goodness that won’t be an issue for a few years as she is only 9 months old. 🙂

  2. Joanna,
    Thanks! I am finding out this isn’t just for kids any more. We all have to be careful of our online reputation.

    I have run across many of my friends that are on Facebook and posting inappropriate material. I already have my daughters friends “friending” me… luckily, I treat FB as social networking but on more of a business level.

    If my daughter friended some of her moms friends, I would be horrified at what she might see on some of the pictures that are shared when they go out.

    They probably haven’t even thought of their kids seeing some of their photos, etc. We all need to be reminded that nothing is private anymore.

    Thanks and don’t forget to stop by http://www.CyberSafeFamily.com and subscribe to stay updated on keeping families safe.

    Cammie

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