We talk a lot about what your kids or teens are doing online with the idea of future-proofing those young reputations against what is to come. More frequently, school officials (cyberbullying!), college admissions officers (scholarships!) and future employers (jobs!) are turning to the internet and social media to check what someone’s digital footprint says about that person. You obviously want the best opportunities for your child.
Young minds are impressionable, and if your child hasn’t yet reached the age where you become an idiot, they could take the “online you” to heart. You could have some explaining to do if:
You’ve been writing about them – If you talk about your kids on Facebook, Twitter or on a personal blog, your kids will reach an age at some point when they’re going to look at it with some scrutiny. If you’ve written about them in a way that could embarrass them, it might be time to clean it up.
You’ve posted pictures – Whether you’ve posted too many pictures of your kids, or one unflattering one, you may be facing a demand that the evidence be taken down.
You use foul language – How you talk in the company of your friends could be very different from how you talk to you your kids (and hope they talk). If you set a bad example online and they find it, you may be sending a message that the foul language is OK, or even cool.
Your party pics are online – I’m sure you don’t spend all your time with a drink in your hand, but if it seems like every picture of you online has you holding a cocktail, junior might think that’s the thing to do.
You’ve posted something racist/sexist/homophobic/tasteless – Even if it was a joke, you don’t want your kids seeing many of the things that adults post online, especially if it was posted by you. Keep it clean and tasteful.
At some point, if it’s not true already, your kids are going to be better at finding stuff on the internet than you are. It’s never too early to give some thought to what they might find.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.