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The Social Media Guidance Our Kids Aren’t Getting – A Parent’s Perspective

The Social Media Guidance Our Kids Aren’t Getting – A Parent’s Perspective

By Guest Blogger Rebecca Goodrich

It is safe to say in our current digital culture that devices and internet “life” are not going anywhere anytime soon. As such, I believe it is our duty as parents, and educators, to instruct our children on best practice protocols when dealing with the internet. As much as we must teach them about cyber bully and cyber safety, we also have a duty to the younger generation to provide them with a solid foundation regarding how to be proactive in building a positive online presence. Now prospective universities and employers seek information about them online more than ever before.

To ensure our kids create digital footprints that reflect their education, values and talent, I believe we should be focusing on education for school aged children around these 3 things:

  1. Privacy Settings: It is essential that all teens understand how to operate various social media privacy settings. Younger users’ accounts and personal social media pages need to be kept private and children should understand why this is important for their safety. Make sure you explain to them that just because you have your privacy settings pretty well secured, it does not mean that you are invisible online. Posts can still be shared and made public by others.
  1. Self Censorship: To follow on the privacy settings, children must understand that what they post may follow them forever. A distasteful joke, an insensitive comment, a religious statement or a political rant can all come back to haunt them regardless of privacy settings. We need to make sure they learn to pause before posting, and encourage them to think  “is this something I would want my teacher, parent, future university admissions representative, or even future employer to see?”
  1. Personal Branding: The internet has blown the lid off of opportunities that young people can create for themselves. As much as there is a risk of teens posting content they would not want everyone to see, so too can they shape their personal brand to reflect the image they do want to project. We should be instructing students on how to use the internet to craft an online presence that will help them access opportunities for their future success.

Social media is something that should be understood in full by those who are using it. By educating our young ones on how to tap into its positive potential, as well as the risks and dangers, we can ensure that they will be able to paint a favorable picture of themselves for future decision makers to see.

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