Good Digital Parenting
Blog | Oct. 30, 2013

Maintaining Your Digital Reputation

Blogger, Internet Keep Safe Coalition

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:

  • Current: Youth create a great deal of content on the Internet through social media. Stay current with your child’s content creation by signing up for social sites and interacting with your children.
  • Communicate: Encourage your children to post constructive things about themselves. Help them to understand the consequences of what they post online.
  • Check: Regularly supervise your child’s online actions and give them feedback. Be sure to emphasize the importance of posting positive material and avoiding any content that may damage their reputation.

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:

  • Assesses users’ households, highlighting where gaps in technology behaviors and attitudes exist.
  • Offers expert online safety advice and resources that are tailored to address each parent’s personal situation.
  • Explains how parents can pass this education down to their children to improve overall technology health and safety for the family.
Visit http://www.ikeepsafe.org/beaproparent today to learn more about the iKeepSafe BEaPRO™ Parent App and how you—and your children—can build a more positive online reputation.

Cover image courtesy of Flickr.