Parents, Google Yourself Before Your Kids Do
People share far too much information online. They post revealing or suggestive photos of themselves on Facebook or Twitter, they run inappropriate blogs and use their full name, they comment on posts with anger, poor spelling and grammar, and potentially offensive comments. And they willingly share this information, forgetting that there are consequences.
When you have a child, you need to remember that your kids can now find this information. There’s no such thing as true privacy, because once something is online it’s there forever, even if it’s “deleted” or it’s posted on an account you believe you be private.
To be a great parent, you need to make sure that your web presence is as safe as possible, so that when your kid is old enough to Google you, you can be proud of the results that they find.
How to Prepare Your Web Presence
- Stop Posting Private Things
I spoke with a young woman awhile back. She was posting rants with numerous expletives about the people she meets, and several photos of her in attractive poses in her bikini. I asked her why she posted these things in public and her answer was “my friends want updates on my life.”
This is the most likely reason that people post private information online, and it’s a misguided one. No one needs to hear the private things that have happened to you in your life, nor do they need to see you in suggestive photos. Maybe they enjoy watching you share this information, but they don’t “need it.”
So stop. Stop posting things that you don’t want your children to read. If you really need to vent, call a close friend or two or vent on the phone. If you want someone to see you looking attractive, invite them over for a romantic night together.
Don’t post pictures of you drinking, smoking, and doing drugs unless you’re okay with your child doing it too. None of these are things that anyone else needs to see or hear in digital form. There are ample more private places to share this information.
- Create a Better Web Presence
There are often things you can’t control. If you broke the law, for example, you can’t clear your record and erase your past from the Internet.
But what you can do is create a professional web presence your child can be proud of. You can do this by keeping everything you do online as clean and professional as possible – this includes your Facebook and Twitter pages.
You can create a professional website or two dedicated to your accomplishments, guest post on relevant websites related to your field of study or your career, or you can register for the types of social media sites that indicate adult behavior, like LinkedIn.
You cannot necessarily prevent your child from finding out information on you, but at least you can improve the general information they see when they search for your name.
- Google Yourself, Delete What You Can
Finally, search for yourself early and often, and see what you can get deleted. Everything you post online stays online. Everything. Even if you delete it, it doesn’t go away.
But if you delete it, you can make it much, much harder for your child to find the information, and that’s still in your benefit. Never assume your child can’t still find it, but at the very least they’ll need to be trying long and hard to get access to any of that cached information.
Maintaining a Healthy Web Presence
There’s a lot that goes into raising your child. Don’t let what you’ve decided to share on the Internet get in the way of all the hard work you put in every day.
Maintain a better web presence so that your child finds encouraging information whenever they Google you.
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