Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring Break: Encourage Your Teen to Take a Break From Social Media Too

Spring break is here and many teens love to boast about their fun online.  However parents need to step up to the plate and talk to their kids about what they post today can literally harm their future and affect their college of choice or a potential employment.

Let’s make spring break a time for a digital break too.  Do those questionable photos and comments really need to be posted?

Many kids and teens continue to believe that they are invincible – not only off online, but online too.
We are becoming a broken record as we try to explain to our kids what they post online can potentially affect their future.

For teens looking forward to a higher education and especially those in need of scholarships to help them finance college, they need to think before they post on their social networking sites such as Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram.

According to a PEW Study (November 2012) 69% of parents of online teens are concerned about how their child’s online activity might affect their future academic or employment opportunities, with some 44% being “very” concerned about that.

Should these numbers be higher?  I think, we are getting better since years ago many parents weren’t concerned at all and were not convinced that social media was even an issue.

According to a 2011 Kaplan study, 80% of college admissions are using search engines and a students’ social media presence to screen their applicants which can mean their college application has now extended into their online presence.  This is where the parent concern comes in – what has your teen been doing online that you don’t know about?

Facebook is obviously the largest social networking site that many use.  Isn’t it time to encourage your teen to sit down and clean it up?  Especially with the latest Facebook Timeline, it is simply a click away to see pictures or comments that simply just don’t need to be there.  Remember, unfortunately all your posts and comments on your friends pages are still lingering in cyberspace too. 

So now is the time to seriously stop and think before you post that silly comment.  Is it really worth a scholarship?

You may think because your child’s Facebook is set on private you are safe.  Don’t be fooled.  If it’s online, it’s usually public information – remember your child is friends with friends that may not have their privacy settings set as high.

Don’t risk losing a scholarship or a college of your choice for a dumb remark online or a compromising photo!

3 Tips to maintain your teen’s digital resume:
  • Google your teen’s name regularly and set up your Google, MSN, Bing, Yahoo, Twilert alerts (always know when there is something online about you so you can address it immediately). It only takes a few minutes, it is free and can save you a lot of reputation repair later on.
  • Buy your own URL in your teen’s name.  This can be less than $10.00 through GoDaddy and you can own your own online real estate.  Building a site can be easy and if you can do it with your personal interests, it sets the tone  for your future. is a free service to build your website.
  • Create a Blog about you and your interests.  This is free.  Use your name as the URL.  WordPress is free and easy to use.
If you need to know what happens when you don’t maintain and take pre-cautions with our online profile, read Google Bomb!  This is a cautionary tale of how a flourishing and successful career of over a decade can literally be brought to its’ knees due to a few keystrokes and a click of a mouse.
Watch a quick video of what can happened to teens that lost their scholarships due to plain stupid posts. Click here.

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