Just before I started my freshman year of high school, my family moved from the suburban sprawl to a small town. It was the kind of place where everyone knew each other and newcomers were few and far between. I remember those first few weeks feebly attempting to remain aloof until I had my feet underneath me. Little did I know, I was being observed the whole time. Without so much as saying a word, I had built a reputation for myself. And in a town like that one, your reputation stays with you.
Much like my small-town experience, the Internet is a place where we build lasting reputations. Online, our actions determine how others perceive us. Remember, every comment, photo, video that we post is made available to a global audience, the majority of which we will never personally meet. To these nameless observers, the persona that we create online is the only barometer they have for what kind of people we are. It’s important to be conscientious of what we allow to go online because the content we choose to put up is searchable, replicable, and contributes to our permanent digital reputation. We can avoid many pitfalls that may come from sharing or posting online by first considering beforehand the consequences of what we are choosing to put on the Internet. Thinking ahead is the most effective tool in managing our online reputations.
The good news is that this permanency can benefit us. We build good digital reputations for ourselves by choosing to post positive material online. To do so, consider creating a blog or using other forms of social media as an outlet to share academic and professional achievements, display a creative project you’ve been working on, or even support a local cause that you feel passionate about. The truth is the Internet is an excellent tool when it comes to promoting positivity and building a good digital reputation.
If you’re a parent, you share the responsibility in helping your child build a suitable online reputation. Much of your child’s success will come from sitting down and discussing with him/her the importance of managing their digital footprint.
When it comes to your child’s digital reputation, remember the 3 C’s:
Maintaining a positive reputation is fundamental to your success as a digital citizen. To empower you to help your children build a strong digital reputation, iKeepSafe developed the BEaPRO™ Parent online safety app. Based on the BEaPRO™ pillars (Balance, Ethics, Privacy, Relationships, Reputation, and Online Security) that is launching today, the app:
Cover image courtesy of Flickr.