Knowing how to use technology and knowing how to use it wisely to benefit you are two very different things. Tech-savvy kids need guidance on content and appropriate sharing. These are boundaries that promote personal security and build resilience. Your aim as the parent is to instill personal discipline, based upon your beliefs and values, that make it possible for your child to have a reasonably trouble-free on-line experience, and create an on-line profile that is an asset. Below are some conversation tips to help your child be wise in creating on-line profiles.
Top three tips for creating authentic and cyber-safe on-line profiles
On-line profiles are serious business. Whether you are creating an on-line profile for a video game, Instagram or another social media platform or activity, establishing an on-line profile is a serious responsibility. Your digital profile will be used by decision makers regarding your future education and work opportunities, often without your permission and knowledge. Your profile includes not only the photo and basic information about you on various social media platforms and forums; it also pertains to the things that you post, share and your comments on other profiles.
Putting forth your best, authentic self. Your best self is that part of you that is the trustworthy nature of your character. Someone who is trustworthy is considered safe, honest, helpful and reliable. Does your on-line portrait and comments reflect who you are? Or who you think you need to be in order to feel accepted? A copy of What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles can help you and your child answer this question. I suggest you read Appendix A with your child, and then have your teen do some of the exercises in the book to get a good handle on their passion and calling, for any industry or marketplace. Consider also that businesses and colleges are relying upon Facebook, and LinkedIn to evaluate candidates, their talents, interests and accomplishments. Your teen will be well served to establish a good presence in these venues.
Your content is your character. Before you post anything, a comment about someone else’s post, or typing a text, ask yourself – what is my objective? Does what I am sharing reflect my values? Am I contributing to or disturbing the peace for the people involved in this post? Would this make my mom or dad proud? Is this something I would want my future spouse, children or employer to see?
In this regard, less is more.
Because the on-line profile is public and you cannot erase or control what is shared and published after you hit send or post, the most strategic and intelligent approach is to refrain from offering and sharing too much. This means that you are mindful about not engaging in gossip, harassment and inappropriate photos, as well as limiting the amount of personal information that could be used by predators (deep personal feelings and struggles, location of home and school, etc.).
For more information about making good use of on-line profiles, go to: Social Media Monthly
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Joanna Jullien is an educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber-powered world. Trained in behavioral science at U.C. Berkeley, she is a mother of two grown sons, an author of books on parenting, growing up and family life in the network culture, and produces the Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com.
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