How Parents Can Help Their Children Protect Themselves Online

November 30, 2022

While social media is a popular method of communication and entertainment for people of all ages, it also has the power now to affect your child and their future. Their digital footprint has become a growing cause for concern, as information and posts found online are viewed by college admissions boards and employers. Schools will look for anything negative, inappropriate, or inflammatory in an account, which can risk an application or scholarship. As such, your child may unknowingly affect their future with what they put on the Internet. Here are some ways you can help protect them:

Avoid giving out too much information

Social media can be a fun, exciting place to update friends and family, but there’s no telling who else might get a hold of sensitive and personal information. Through pictures or status updates, your child might unknowingly expose where they live, the school they go to, or things like birthdays and interests that can be used to access account passwords. They also often post using their real names and use their actual face for profile pictures, linking them to this data. This can subject them to hacking, where cybercriminals can potentially post incriminating information that can hamper their reputation or put them at risk.

Let your kids know they should be careful about what they post online, as social media can reveal a lot about themselves that others can easily use. Not only can future schools or companies link them to certain places or people, but this data can also be used for more nefarious purposes. Tell them only to divulge personal information to trusted people or avoid doing so online.

Don’t overestimate anonymity

Your child could be using an anonymous identity online, but that doesn’t spare them from having their posts or comments linked back to them. A sense of security may sway them by hiding their identity, and they can think that discriminatory or offensive posts cannot be traced back to them. However, IP addresses and account information can associate a person with their online identity. Other people who know about these accounts can also come forward and expose the person behind them. This can also harm your child’s chances of admission to their dream school or job.

While you can let your child have a more anonymous identity online, try to ensure they aren’t using that anonymity to harm others. Warn them that their online activity can still be traced back to them, and they can experience the repercussions in real life.

Support your child’s online brand

What is posted on the Internet can last forever, even when deleted. Someone might still have screenshots of something your child put up on social media even if they themselves no longer have those posts or pictures, and those things can be used as blackmail or invite harassment for years. When it comes to building a professional online brand, it’s critical to teach your children to be mindful of what they post online. Colleges and companies can easily view their accounts; in fact, roughly 70% of employers use social media to research candidates and check existing employees’ posts. Some people have been reprimanded or fired for what they put up online.

Advise your kids to refrain from posting offensive speech and targeted bullying. Otherwise, these can leave a negative impression among college admissions offices or future employers. Encourage them to post things like their creative works or informative resources, to communicate well with others, and to never share posts that put down others. Help them exhibit a positive image that aligns with their values, interests, and personality. You can use LifeBrand to help your child find and build their personal brand and elevate their online presence for the benefit of their future. We help them flag and take down posts that can threaten their future, so they can be more mindful and proactive of when they post.

Article written by Regina Jamie

Submitted to LifeBrand