Could your child’s social media behaviour affect their future in any way?
Most people use social media to connect with others and to share how they feel on a daily basis. Especially for young adults and teenagers; they share almost all feelings online. However, it is important that as we raise digital citizens; we are all aware of the reality that, what is shared online can affect you positively or negatively. You can decide.
It would be horrible for your child to apply to a top school or try to get a visa to travel and some of their inappropriate comments on social media is used against them. These are not hypothetical stories, these are actually happening. In a world of free speech online how much is too much? It is important that children and every online user understands that the internet does not forget.
What is your Child doing online
Many children spend a lot of time online on a daily basis. Their time online is spent on playing games, surfing the internet, doing schoolwork and chatting with their friends.
Many children share that their parents do not know what they really do online; while parents feel that they know what their kids are doing online. With 1 in 10 children admitting to visiting sites that they know are inappropriate; when their parents are not there; we know that there is a gap. There is a clear difference between parents perception of their child’s online behaviour and their child’s social media usage. Additionally, many children report that they stop what they are doing online when their parents show up or are around.
When it comes to monitoring your child’s social media behaviour, there is only so much you can do. In a world where the average parent does not know the common chatroom acronyms; monitoring is not easy. Having open communications is much better than being seen as an untrusting parent always snooping around to see what your child or teen is doing online. Get up to date with some of the teen slang.
Social media is great and, while there is a lot of positive there is also a negative side to it we must all acknowledge. [Read: Characteristics of 21st Century Teens]
Oversharing means sharing much more than you should. This involves sharing a lot of personal information. With over 1 billion online users, anything you share is indeed shared with the world. In the case of oversharing, some of the negative impacts on your child’s future could be a situation where a picture of a child in his diaper pops up when he is running for office. Both parents and children are equally likely to be guilty of oversharing. Be careful about what you are sharing and with who. I recommend that before you share, pause and think. Ask yourself why are you sharing this and how would it make (you) or the other person feel now and in the future.
What does wrong association mean? This can have dire effects for someone who is associated with someone or a group that is flagged for sharing inappropriate messages. This could be as serious as in the case of criminal investigations; where you could be implicated by association. There are several other ways that there could be negative fallouts of the wrong associations online.
Recently, a student who was traveling to start University was stopped at Immigration; he was questioned for hours and deported. Why? He was connected on a social media platform to someone who had been flagged for allegedly sharing politically charged and anti-American sentiments.
Ismail Ajjawi, a 17-year-old refugee, was denied entry on August 23 and sent back to his home in Lebanon after spending hours in the Boston Logan International Airport. The teenager said he was told his visa had been cancelled by immigration officers after being questioned about politically-oriented social media posts by his friends. Source:Aljazeera
You need to be careful who you interact with on social media. Be mindful of who you follow, what posts you like and reshare.
Digital Footprints and The Future
An increasing number of recruiters would google and social media to carry out a background check when it comes to hiring. A simple google would bring up so much about any person. People lost great positions because their social media profile and behaviour did not match the company’s image. There is a real price to pay for the type of digital footprint you have. A digital footprint is a trail you leave about yourself online; from your activities to your preferences and thoughts. It can have a great effect on your child’s future if used positively, however, on the other side, there could be a huge price to pay.
In all of this, the one thing you can do is to ensure that you have real conversations with your child. Before a child would be allowed to drive, he or she would need lessons and a lot of supervision. In the same way, I recommend that social media usage should be taken with the same level of seriousness.