BBB offers tips for managing your student’s online reputation

Better Business Bureau of  Minnesota and North Dakota

Talking about the privacy concerns with social media use can seem like beating a dead horse, but with 33% of college admissions officers admitting to viewing applicants’ social media profiles, students and their parents need to know what they’re getting into when they post online. 

According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers regularly use social media to screen job candidates, and 34% of employers reprimanded or fired an employee based on content they found online. 

Because social media has the potential to have such a large impact on a student’s future, it’s crucial for them to be taught how to manage their online reputation. Here are six simple ways to ensure your student is scrolling for success:

• Make your own social media accounts. Parents who are more familiar with their child’s social media platforms are better able to teach what to do and what not to do. Once you make your own account, you can then send a friend request to your child. Because you are then connected to their social media, it will discourage them from posting what they are doing at their “after school hangout,” especially if they know their parents or other family members will be able to clearly see it. 

• Have them consider “what ifs.” A question that should be asked to anyone with a social media account is: “If your future employer were to do an online search of you right now, how concerned would you be with what they could find?” If the answer is “Not very,” great! If they pause and think, it may be time to start reviewing the content they share. 

• Make sure their social media accounts are private. While this cannot guarantee absolute privacy, it can help to prevent strangers from accessing your child’s photos and other information. Any public photos or videos posted online can be easily duplicated and put into any article, news report, poster, etc. 

• Encourage young adults to use LinkedIn. Social media is not the enemy. In fact, 37% of employers say they have hired a candidate because their social media reflected the personality of the company. Platforms such as LinkedIn allow employers to see your child’s past job experiences and current employment goals.

• Have regular conversations about social media. Making your child aware of the potential impact a post can have on their future might make them think twice about what they are posting. 

• Reach out to the Better Business Bureau for resources. If you have questions about ways you can protect yourself online, reach out to BBB.

— BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota is a not-for-profit organization with more than 7,200 regionally Accredited Businesses. The mission of BBB is to promote, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill public confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, protect and assist the public. Contact the BBB at wwwbbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222. 

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