OMG! – It’s the reaction many parents have after discovering their child’s social media profiles for the first time. No matter if they’re honors students or academically challenged, many teens are tempted to engage in risky or inappropriate online communication that may be harmful to their virtual and real-life reputation.
Parents should be aware of their children’s social interactions and take action when necessary.
“We advise parents to be proactive about their children’s activities on and offline,” said Rasheda Kamaria, chief empowering officer and founder of Empowered Flower Girl LLC. “Be a role model and set the example instead of being your child’s BFF when it comes to navigating the social world.”
Because many children and adults alike are unknowingly putting themselves at risk as targets of online predators. Others may be hindering their chances for jobs, internships and even college admissions.
According to a 2013 nationwide survey conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder, more than 43 percent of hiring managers who research candidates via social media said they found information that caused them not to hire a candidate. The same is true for several U.S. colleges and universities.
A Kaplan-commissioned survey last year found that 31 percent of college admissions officers had visited an applicant’s personal social media page to learn more about them. Significantly, for those trying to get into college, 30 percent of admissions officers revealed they discovered information online that negatively affected an applicant’s prospects.
Here are a few tips for parents to help their children (and even themselves) avoid social sharing pitfalls:
• Have a conversation with your child about his/her social media interactions. You’d be surprised what they may share.
• Model appropriate online etiquette. Be careful what you post and share online as many children mimic their parent’s behavior.
• Set boundaries and inform your child of potential dangers online. The FBI offers valuable tips relating to cyber safety on its website.
• Unplug. Schedule dedicated family time minus media of any kind.
This summer, Empowered Flower Girl will launch a series of proactive parenting workshops. “Social Secrets: What Parents Should Know. What Teens Don’t Want Them To” is the first of the interactive workshops that will be offered. For more information, call 248-629-0334 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.