Teaching Your Kids to Think Before They Click

Guest Blog: From the Editors at CloudParenting

If you have kids who are using the Internet, they need to be aware of the digital footprint they are leaving behind for other Internet users—from predators to potential employers—to see. Blogs, social media sites, and online forums, where kids can post information about themselves and others are often not as private as they think. Read more >

Our friends at CloudParenting explain this in greater detail in their article, Facebook and other online data can be legally stored for 7 years: think before you click.

Think before you click is a standard mantra for teens using social networking. There is even more reason for this now since the US Federal Trade Commission has said that a private company, Social Intelligence Corporation, can legally archive online data for 7 years. Social Intelligence Corporation has been approved to gather and distribute personal info and images of job applicants that have been trawled from online sources including social networks. Job applicants must acknowledge and approve of a social network search, just like they need to approve criminal and credit history checks. However, if you refuse permission will you [still be considered for] the job?

We know that companies, universities and other organizations sometimes search the web of applicants’ details before offering a place, but this crystallizes the idea for our kids. Imagine what your 15 year old will be doing when they are 22… will they really want someone to search their back-catalog of posts, images and tweets to find any potential skeletons? The after-party that went a little too far, the trick they played on another student, the cyberbullying incident, the unfortunate image that their friend posted and tagged?

Seven years is a long time on the Internet, making it increasingly difficult to leave behind the kind of teenage mistakes that an older generation can simply forget about. However, if a search returns negative information this must be reported to the applicant; the data can then be amended for accuracy. However, it becomes ever more important to work with your children to protect their online reputation. [Teach them] the standard rules of ‘think before you click’:

  • Be paranoid about your security settings and consider every shred of personal data before allowing it out on the web.
  • Keep talking with your kids – discover what they know and think about managing their reputation online; they can regularly surprise with both their wisdom and their naivety.
  • Encourage them to keep everything private, to consider whether a form they are completing really needs their compliance, whether the app they are downloading really needs their geo-location data; encourage them to be militant about their personal information: it is theirs and the have a right to privacy.

What your children post today will affect their options later on. Protecting their privacy goes a long way towards protecting their future academic and working life.”

So, what can you do? We’ve rounded up websites that tackle this issue and provide great tips for keeping your kids online reputations from getting out of control:

5 Ways to Cultivate Your Kids’ Online Reputation from PediatricSafety.net.

11 Ways to Protect Your Child’s Online Reputation from Virginia is 4 Kids.

Protecting Your Online Identity and Reputation from Kids Health.

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Sources:

1. CloudParenting: CloudParenting is a response to questions asked by many parents, grandparents and caregivers who need a little help to support their kids in the digital cloud. Our children will be the first generation who will have their entire lives documented online. The cloud (our digital and wireless world) is a huge adventure with great opportunities and fun to be had. In this brave new world, children can be creators, not just consumers, and being savvy can keep them safe.
2. Image via rocksee on Flick’r.

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I agree that educating children about the internet is one of the most important things that you can do to keep children safe online. So many kids nowadays just fill out information without thinking about it. Thankfully a lot of parents are teaching their children because of Facebook. These social network sites can be a good way for parents to teach their children responsibility online, and that what they post is available to everyone.

Buying your children or grandchild their own Domain Name for a few dollars is a proven way to protect and monitor kids online. Although domain names are hard to come by,you can be creative and allow them to claim their own part of cyberspace for life. Here’s how…

Childs name: James Smith
Year of Birth : 2011
Suggested Domain Name: james2011smith

Making a child fully responsible for their site or blog content makes them think before they click. Especially when grandpa can see at the click of a mouse if they have been naughty online.

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