In today’s digitized society, building a good reputation online is important.

The things that we do or say online contributes to our digital selves. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook play key roles in building a person’s online reputation. They allow us, especially our children, publicize their lives on the Internet. However, sharing photos, personal information, and posting comments on Facebook could damage a person’s reputation.

Since digital citizenship teaches us to maintain a good reputation online, we need to remind our kids that our online behavior affects our real lives. They need to be conscientious with their actions in the digital space and practice the basic principles of good citizenship. Here is a simple guide on how parents can help their kids build a good reputation online.

The Internet is a public place

Whatever your child posts or shares on the Internet is considered as public information. Teach your kids to think twice before posting pictures, status updates, or sending a private message to a friend. Some people can share these and post them online. Remind them that the Internet is a public place and would they want their classmates, teachers, university admission reviewers, or relatives see their posts? If in doubt, tell them not to post or share it.

Keep personal information private

Aside from cyber bullying, identity theft is a major digital parenting concern. Your child’s birthdate, home address, and contact numbers can be stolen and used to hijack their social media accounts. Cyber bullies can use these accounts to damage your child’s online reputation. Avoid these scenarios by teaching your child to keep his or her information private. Remind them to check their privacy settings to hide these details. You can also work with your child by creating strong passwords for all their online accounts. Online safety experts suggest that a combination of lower case, upper case, alpha-numerical, and symbols help create a strong and unique password.

Online mistakes could damage their digital and real-life persona

A harsh comment on an online status or sharing embarrassing photos online could affect your child’s digital and real-life persona. Their online mistakes could cost them their future admission to a good school or a promising career. Today, college and corporate recruiters check their candidates’ online reputation before considering them for an interview. According to a feature published on Forbes: 70 percent of recruiters chose not to hire candidates based on their online reputation. Remind your children to be wise and avoid making online mistakes.

Their positive digital footprints will help build their online reputation

Your kid’s digital footprints can leave a positive or negative impact on his or her reputation. These are the online activities he or she curates or the one your child left unintentionally. Melissa Davis, GoEnnounce’s CEO, said that “Parents and teachers need to be cognizant and start teaching students about the effects and how to manage their own digital footprints”. Teaching our kids to leave positive digital footprints to start with treating others with respect. How they treat people in real life should be practiced online. Tell them to avoid sharing or posting suggestive materials. These could lead to social risks and future legal complications. All their digital footprints are traceable and they might come back to haunt them. Better leave positive footprints than negative ones.

A child’s first teacher would always be his or her parents. Help them manage their digital identities to build their positive reputation online. For more tips on cyber parenting, please visit the MomSecure blog page.