Between the ages of about 12 and 20, children are vigilantes, monitoring every little thing you do or say to detect even the slightest potential for embarrassment. Quick to disassociate from or ridicule you for your behavior, dress or speech, kids are on high alert to maintain their “cool” in public, and as their parents, you’re a liability.
As a parent of a college student, you’ve probably already experienced such scenarios. What you may not know is that the roles are now being reversed, as what your kids say or do on the internet may end up causing you embarrassment in the workplace or your social life.
Innocent Posts Do Damage
Blogs and social networking sites are usually personal by nature, but one seemingly innocent post by your child about their weekend activities or a disgruntled rant about family frustrations may be more revealing and detrimental than your child realizes, and could possibly cost you your job.
It’s now apparent that neither kids nor their parents are immune to the repercussions of kids’ online activities. Children are still not taking enough precautions when it comes to their online activity despite persistent warnings, which is proving potentially harmful to their families. Reports of parents getting fired, demoted or reprimanded for something their child posted on their Instagram, Snapchat or blog account is becoming increasingly common.
Some of these real-life instances include: a parent’s mortgage broker reading a child’s post about the family being in financial trouble and an online diary about a parent buying alcohol for an underage child which was later read by the police.
Not Downsized, But “Dooced”
Being fired for content you posted on the internet now even has its own term, “dooce,” which was created by Heather Armstrong whose blog was popularized after being fired for a post she wrote about her job on her personal blog. “Dooce” is not yet found on dictionary.com but does have an entry on Wikipedia.
It’s been reiterated time and time again that the internet and especially social networking sites have the potential to be damaging to an individual’s image, reputation and future. You may have warned your kids about safeguarding their profiles against online predators and the risk of posting intimate personal details online. But you may not have expressed concern over the potential of your children’s online activity to encroach on your own personal realm of notoriety. The fallout from a detrimental post could be devastating to your family and your career.
Tips for you and your child to help protect both your reputations online
- Demonstrate how simple it is to find your child’s personal information online.
- Discuss how easily a nonchalant diary-like rant can reveal damaging information.
- Encourage your children to secure their social networking profiles with privacy settings.
- Reiterate that anyone can get online to read what they’ve posted from grandma to school admissions officers, to the police.
- Get your child thinking about their future and how a silly post today might paint them in a poor light tomorrow.
- Remind your child that the internet is forever; a post today may never go away.
- Search social networking sites for people claiming to be your child and damaging your reputation.
If you want to make sure there’s nothing on the internet that can damage your name, you can pay an online service to scour the net for you. Visit reputationdefender.com for more information.