YOUR CHILD’S FUTURE REPUTATION will be set by things that were done in their past.

Make sure that you protect them!

Its easy, as a parent, to tell your child things that will help them when they’re older – you may even hear your own parents’ voices coming from your mouth! What’s not easy is placing yourself in your child’s position, and remember that whatever your parents said went in one ear and out the other. Comments like “first impressions count” and “protect your reputation, you’ll need it when you’re older” aren’t important to children, who can’t see past tomorrow. The future, to them, is nothing much to worry about. Children are impulsive; they act now and regret later. All this makes it dangerous for a child to have a social media account (in some instances, it’s actually illegal).

Imagine how difficult it is, then, to tell a child that anything they post on social media can come back to bite them later on. The silly comment or ‘harmless’ teasing might become an issue next week or next year – and it is usually too late to take it back. Once something is posted online, it’s there forever. It can’t be 100% removed. And when a comment hurts another person, it’s very difficult to apologise when that person is embarrassed or humiliated on front of their friends. The average teen has 425 Facebook friends (some they have never met). If just one of those friends posts private information (in almost 25% of cases this occurs), or the teen themself posts personal information (in 55% of cases) that’s a lot of people who know something they shouldn’t.

If your child is online, they need to think now about how they are being perceived. If they are of an age where casual employment might be a factor, potential employees research applicants and if their Facebook page is full of cyberbullying or inappropriate posts, the employer may think twice. Your child’s online profile is an extension of their real life persona. Cultivate it from early on.

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