There is a saying… “What happens on Google stays on Google”. If you post something then quickly regret or think twice about it, that post will still be there and you can guarantee that someone has seen it, taken a screen shot or shared it already. It brings us back to the THINK Rule. Before you hit “post” stop, re-read what you want to share, take another look at that picture and think… “How would I feel if Grandma/Grandpa saw that?” If you wouldn’t want them to see it, don’t post it! This is a good rule of thumb to talk to your children about.
As adults we tend to Google ourselves to see what is posted online about us, but have you ever Googled your child’s name? We can guarantee you that they will be searched on Google for their next babysitting opportunity, job they want, or by the college/university they are applying to. The thought of this may seem far away, but you now have the opportunity to help them create a positive online digital footprint by knowing what is out there about them. You may be thinking… “My child has no digital footprint they aren’t on any social platforms”, but you created one for them by sharing pictures of them online and using their name. Have their friends created one for them tagging them in posts and images? You want to know what is out and public for all to see about your child.
If you find negative information, you will want to help them to push that out with the positive. Sit down with them encourage them to start creating a positive digital footprint and online reputation. Encourage them to:
- Know what others are saying and have said about them online.
- Search their own name on Google and other search engines.
- Be positive! If they can’t say anything nice don’t respond, engage, or post mean, hurtful comments.
- Surround themselves online with positive role models and influences.
- If they have a negative online reputation… Clean it up and push out the bad with good quality content. Know that it is there and be prepared to respond to what has been posted.
- Watch what pictures they share of themselves, others will see them and judge them on the content of the pictures.
- Set their privacy settings so that only friends can see what they are posting.
- Keep in mind that anonymous sites are not always anonymous and that what they post, even if you delete it will still remain online.
We not only encourage you to search on Google, but try putting their name in on other search engines, try adding quotations around their name. You will get a different result then just typing in the name. (ie.“Socially Safe”) Ultimately, you want to know what is online about your child and help them create a positive digital footprint moving forward. Start the conversation by asking them if they know what is online about them or how to find out. Do it together and be remember to be #SociallySafe.
Stacy Maynard & Kerry Hills are moms with successful social media businesses. We have a passion for helping children understand how to use social media safely. We have joined together to implement into classrooms and the community our Socially Safe, Socially Fun, Social Media programs.
We are Moms of kids between the ages of 8 to 15, so we understand the need to help our kids stay safe and create a positive digital footprint. Social Media is not going away and we are passionate about teaching our kids how to use it, have fun and stay Socially Safe.