The Internet has an extraordinarily long memory, and maintaining reputation is essential for individuals, businesses or anyone in the public eye. However, families must also consider that the Internet isn't just a place to share holiday photos and pictures from a recent vacation. The Internet can damage the reputation of a family just as fast as it can enhance it, so it's necessary to manage reputation at all times.
Impact on Professional Life
Innocent holiday antics and goofy photographs might entertain friends on social media websites, but online activity can have a negative impact on job searches for adults and teenagers alike. The majority of job applications for classic teenage jobs at fast food restaurants, department stores, and other local businesses are usually hosted online. Internet-based applications make things easy for teenage job applicants, but it may also present some complications.
It's incredibly likely that those potential employers regularly perform simple Google searches to find out as much as possible about a job candidate before calling the teenager in for an interview. A poor reputation online could mean that a teenager might never get a call from the local clothing store or family restaurant for a job.
An adult might even have problems finding a job if his or her digital persona is not crafted with attention to reputation and character. A child or adult might not care how others view him; however, some concern regarding the opinions of others is necessary in order to cultivate a reputation online that won't lead to missed work opportunities.
Speaking with Kids about Digital Trails
Many parents restrict the amount of time a child may spend on the Internet, but offering children an education in the best ways to protect their reputation online is also beneficial. Kids should be taught that the Internet is a repository of information that's much like a permanent "digital footprint" that grows over time. One of the best ways to explain the Internet's long memory is to compare it to a photograph and the permanence of a picture.
Privacy Considerations and Online Protection
Efforts to manage reputation must be consistent. The holidays aren’t the only time to focus on issues like privacy and sharing. It may be tempting to show everyone all the small details of a family celebration, but families must resist this urge. Posting too many details on the internet can lead to issues of identity theft, stalking, and real-life danger, as well as damage to the family's reputation.
Simple Steps to Protect Your Reputation Online
When in doubt, it's best to resist the urge to share information on the Internet. A few general details and the occasional photo are quite enough sharing for the average family. In addition, there are some simple rules that all family members should follow when interacting with others on the Internet or when posting information.
- Never post or confirm personal data through social sharing
- Set privacy settings on "high" to restrict information sharing
- Search Google regularly for family names and details that might have been leaked
- Keep virus software and computer programs updated
- Increase vigilance during the holidays when scammers and thieves ramp up activity
Surfing the Internet and sharing with family friends through social websites should be a fun experience, and maintaining safe behavior during time spent online is essential for maintaining the reputation and safety of a family. Remember that it's much harder to build status than to destroy it, so take precautions early to safeguard family reputation during the holidays.