Avoiding a Troubled Cyber-Past
On the most recent episode of The Jamie Bordas Show, Jamie did a great job of explaining the dangers that exist when kids take to social media to disparage others through what we might call cyber-bullying. As Jamie pointed out the problems are real, very personal and serious, both for the victim and, potentially, for the bully.
What we as parents might be underestimating, however, are the dangers posed when our kids post something about themselves on social media. In addition to all of the other concerns, things that might look funny now might not look so good when our kids are applying for college or a job someday. It is simply true that many prospective employers will look closely at an applicant’s social media presence before making a hiring decision. Texts, pictures and videos that might have seemed funny to the applicant’s high school friends won’t look so cute anymore in the eyes of a potential boss. I was reminded of this recently when I saw some remarkable quotes
from Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt. Mr. Schmidt believes that the day will come when the law allows every young person to change their name just to get away from their embarrassing pasts on social media. As he stated, "I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time." What a shame it would be if it ever came to be true that a significant number of young people had to literally change their names to distance themselves from their own past just to get away from embarrassing or stupid Facebook posts. I am certainly going to encourage my kids to be careful what they post about themselves on social media. It’s also part of being a good friend not to preserve and publish things about somebody else that might end up being embarrassing down the road. All of this technology is great. We have to remain aware, though, of what could happen to our kids if every move they make and every embarrassing or dumb thing they do is preserved forever on the Internet.