Teen Online Reputation Building: Making the World-Wide-Web Your Friend

Our kids, especially in high school, need to think about teen online reputation building as part of the identity they will carry with them into adulthood.

Building a positive online reputation (digital footprint) should be a requirement of owning a computer. Our kids, especially in high  school need to think about teen online reputation building as part of their identity.

Every keystroke counts. It is as simple as that. There will come a time when just about everything we do in life is recorded and we won’t have to go any further than our screen (whether it is a tablet, phone or computer) to find something we need. Actually, I think we can do that now.

When it comes to your digital resume—which can also be known as your profile, image, or reputation in the virtual world—it stands to reason you want it to reflect your attributes and things you are proud of in your life.

Teens learning discretion at an earlier age

Since teens don’t have a long history behind them in cyberspace, they have the great opportunity to start their online legacy from scratch.

If only many would recognize this before they start posting some of those spring break pictures.

Some good news, the latest PEW Internet Study, found that 57% of teens in this study say they have decided not to post something online because they were concerned it would reflect badly on them in the future.

What exactly is a ‘digital footprint’?

One of the best definitions I have found that everyone can understand is:

“A digital footprint, much like your fingerprint, is the unique activity trail you leave online. Everyone has one. Your digital footprint includes “hard” information that the Internet gathers about you through your email, your online registrations, your video and photo uploads and your combined activity on social networks. A digital footprint also includes “soft” information such as the impression you leave through your overall words, photos, and interactions with others.”
– Toni Birdsong of McAfee

This digital footprint is what creates your online profile and is most likely what employers and college recruiters will be viewing as they type your name into search engines.

Blogs are a great way to build a positive reputation

Blogs are free, they are fun, and they easy to maintain. You will have many choices of templates, fonts, colors and layouts as well as upload pictures and videos to make it your own. Best of all, you control them and what you want them to say about you.

WordPress and Blogspot are the two most popular free blog sites and are very user friendly and search engine friendly. In setting up your blog select a URL that incorporate your name (or your child’s name). For example my full name is in my free WordPress Blog www.suescheff.wordpress.com.

Teen online reputation building

We should all treat the Internet as if there were no such thing as privacy. Any email, tweet, picture, social media post, or text has the distinct possibility of being made public.

Let’s be sure the World-Wide-Web is your friend.

Since your keystrokes determine your digital footprint, where has cyberspace taken you recently? Share with us some of your favorite social media sites and how they work for you!

Published on: September 17, 2013
About the Author
Photo of Sue Scheff

In her book, Wit's End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen, Sue Scheff journals her own difficulties with her teen, as well as offers prescriptive advice for parents at their wit's end. Visit Sue at helpyourteens.com and suescheff.com for more great information.

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