Parents often worry what their kids are doing on the internet unsupervised, and wonder how to protect them in such an open environment. But have we wondered what parents are putting out there about their kids? Are we leaving them a grand legacy of 5000 baby photos on Facebook? Tama Leaver discussed the implications of having a digital presence online from day 1.
Social media has a strange mix of both ephemeral and permanent content, it changes everyday, but there are always backup copies. With the amount of content streaking by us, its easy to forget that what you put on the Internet is very hard to remove. With Facebook’s Timeline, haunting and embarrassing moments of yesteryear are easier than ever to track down. Imagine if your Timeline extended back to when you were born, you bawling your eyes out at age 2, taking a bath for everyone to see, falling off your bicycle. What’s cute when you’re a child may not be suitable for you as an adult before the entire world. Especially since 1 in 5 employeers now googles their employees on the net. What does it say about you if the top result is you in a nappy?
Leaver suggests the following to make sure you are aware of your children’s online presence:
- Be aware of privacy settings on social platforms, and only share your child’s pictures and stories with close friends
- Decide what you’re comfortable with other people sharing about your child, and don’t be afraid to tell them
- Discuss and model appropriate social media use with your child
- Don’t fall into the trap of thinking kids are more Internet savvy than their parents, it’s simply not true. You can both learn together
- Be open to negotiation when your child decides they don’t want their younger selves online, be prepared to take down content
- Real names have real value, use pseudonyms to protect your child’s real name from being ‘tarnished’
And remember, set an example for your children with social media use, one day they might google YOUR teenage years!
Follow Tama Leaver on Twitter @tamaleaver
Follow Sara on Twitter @sculz_here