The Digital Footprint

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Never has there been a better time to get involved with your child and social media then now. Our children are growing up fast and in this digital age, it’s important to make sure they are following rules and being careful what they put out there online. We are all building our “digital footprint” which is explained best by the website, cyber(smart:)

 “One of the great things about being online is the ability to share videos and photos with your friends and seeing their response. Everything you post online combines to make your digital footprint. Remember that what you share with your friends may also be viewed by people you don’t know. And once it’s online, it could be there forever. So think before you post.”

What can you do as a parent? Get involved. Find out who they are talking to, what they are posting. Talk to your child about their online presence. The internet is to be used, not abused. There are consequences for posting something inappropriate on the internet – from not getting in to college, not getting a job you wanted or even to being arrested.

Here are some “Rules of the Road for Kids” shared by Common Sense Media.

1. Guard your privacy. What people know about you is up to you.

2. Protect your reputation. Self-reflect before you self-reveal. What’s funny or edgy today could cost you tomorrow.

3. Nothing is private online. Anything you say or do can be copied, pasted, and sent to gazillions of people without your permission.

4. Assume everyone is watching. There’s a huge, vast audience out there. If someone is your friend’s friend, they can see everything.

5. Apply the Golden Rule. If you don’t want it done to you, don’t do it to someone else.

6. Choose wisely. Not all content is appropriate. You know what we mean.

7. Don’t hide. Using anonymity to cloak your actions doesn’t turn you into a trustworthy, responsible human being.

8. Think about what you see. Just because it’s online doesn’t make it true.

9. Be smart, be safe. Not everyone is who they say they are. But you know that.

It’s never too late to talk to your child, big or small, about the internet. It’s a tool that is out there and will only grow no matter how much you resist or ban your kids from using it. Get informed and then talk to your children about it. You’ll probably be surprised what they already are doing online and what they know.  On another day, I’ll share what I found out about my son’s online presence when I Googled his name. Two blogs! Just last week? I had to make him take down a picture and comment snarking on one of his teachers.

Other useful articles to read:

 

Image: “Internet Footprint” by ContentConnect