Your Child’s Online Reputation is In Your Facebook Hands Starting Now!

photodune 2181018 group of happy finger smileys with speech bubbles 2 xs Your Childs Online Reputation is In Your Facebook Hands Starting Now!

We have all seen them…the videos, photos and social network status updates by frustrated parents.

The story goes something like this:

1. The kid does something wrong.

2.Parent implements a consequence such as grounding, taking away car etc.

3. Parent vents on Facebook or Twitter.

4.Child vents on Facebook, Twitter, text and who knows where else!

5. Parent takes photo of messy room, wrecked car or mad teen.

6. Parent posts photo and/or another frustrated status update to Facebook.

7. Parent and child go about their life. They make up, forgive one another and forget about situation.

8. Parent does not update social network status that everything worked out great and that their child is now back to the perfect angel the Holiday cards will depict they are.

So, what’s the problem? 

So now you may asking “what is the problem and point of this post?”  Why is it a problem to complain about your kids constantly? Isn’t it part of life? Part of sharing everything you do, what’s on your mind via Facebook?

As I always say there is only one way to do social media. The way that works for you, your business and  your life.

I am going to share with you my opinion of why I think you should think twice before using social networks such as Facebook or Twitter to blast frustrations about your child. You can take them or leave them. My goal is that you will at minimum have an open mind, take them to heart if appropriate and maybe even use them to help your own child or someone close to you in your network.

I have been concerned recently by many parents within my community. I am seeing a flurry of photos, rants, videos and more focused on bad teen behavior. Some parents are venting, digitally yelling and overall putting their child in a bad light. Often times they take over their teens Facebook page posting as if they are the teen. They are sending messages to their friends and the list goes on.

I know kids who are getting bullied because of content their own parents have posted to Facebook.

photodune 2172172 hand pressing social network icon xs 300x216 Your Childs Online Reputation is In Your Facebook Hands Starting Now! Where do you draw the line? 

So where does a parent draw the line? Where and when is it okay to publish content about your kids? I can’t answer these questions for you in this post as I don’t know you.

We do help parents with these matters but it takes more than a post. We meet with them and help them uncover what is being said about their teen, who their teens are engaging with, how they are engaging, privacy settings and more.

It takes more than a blog post for me to help you with what is appropriate to share with your community and what is not. I am also not a doctor, family counselor or psychiatrist. I can only offer advice based on my knowledge of living and breathing the online social world for many years.

Why you should think twice about what you post to the social networks about your children: 

iStock 000017401902XSmall Your Childs Online Reputation is In Your Facebook Hands Starting Now! 1. You are your kids first online entry. For many their online reputation may start in their parents social networks. You have control of how their reputation is kicked off and nurtured.

2. Your kids are learning from your behavior. They are watching you closely. They know what you post to Facebook. They know if you spend all day gossiping in the neighborhood Facebook group or if you constantly complain via your status updates. You are teaching them as a role model how they should behave.

3. There are likely people who you are connected to via your social networks that have influence over their offline success, status or reputation. You may even be connected without knowing to school authorities or teachers, law enforcement, community leaders, potential or current employers and the list goes on.

4. You are making a lasting impact on all connected to you. Each post of a messy room, mean status update or video leaves a personal brand imprint. Your son or daughter may apply for a job with a leader in the community who saw a Facebook post from you complaining what a rotten child they were two years ago. What if that was the only time the hiring manager saw an update from you about your child? Chances are they are going to remember that post, particularly if they don’t know your child personally.

5. What happens on Facebook goes to Twitter, neighborhood parties, school classrooms, and phone conversations. Nothing posted on a social network should be considered private, ever.

I want to encourage parents to take an active and positive role in helping their kids to properly manage their online reputation. Don’t be the person that teaches them online reputations don’t matter. They do. Social media is real life. It is not fake. Social media can either be used as an opportunity to nurture and grow positive relationships or it can be used to destroy one another. Choose the first and teach your kids to do the same.

6 Proactive Reputation Management Tips for Parents: 

photodune 1816525 pencil with big idea xs Your Childs Online Reputation is In Your Facebook Hands Starting Now! 1. You can say NO! You do NOT have to let your child on Facebook, Twitter or any social network for that matter. My oldest son is 12 and he is NOT on any adult social network. Yes, his friends are on Facebook. However, we have made the decision not to let him join any social network until there is a real need to do such. Chances are he will join Facebook with the launch of his new business before he does it only to connect with friends.  He is currently enrolled in home based virtual school, is educated on social networks and understands how most of them work better than some of our clients do. He could probably teach a class on most of them. However, he also respects our decision. He has told us he is happy he is not addicted to Facebook like some of his friends are.

2. You can monitor. Do NOT feel guilty monitoring what your child is doing on the social networks. If you have a bad gut feeling then do a deep dive check on what is happening within their communities. Treat it the same way you would if something was going on offline. You wouldn’t just ignore it if the problem was offline, right? So why ignore it because the conversation is online?

3. Educate yourself on the details of profile setup and privacy settings on Facebook. It is very easy for a teen to fool their parents into thinking they are seeing all of their updates on Facebook. By using the Facebook friend lists combined with privacy settings you can choose for each post who can see what post. You may think you are seeing every status update your teen is posting, but in reality are seeing only a small percentage.

4. Check that they do not have more than one profile. I have a good friend who found out her daughter had two Facebook profiles. An entire group of their friends each had two profiles. One that their parents could see and one that was uber secret private. Once she got into the private account she found out many things that were happening including experimenting with drugs and more. It was bad enough she pulled all of her kids out of public school and is home schooling them this year. This was coming from a mom who is very involved in her kids lives, a super user on Facebook and never thought she would be one to be fooled. It can happen to anyone folks!

5. Think twice before venting about your child. Just as you would do with a work email, take a deep breath and walk away from the keyboard. Before you type that rant post about your teen, think about it. What good is it going to do for anyone? Is it worth the risk to your child’s reputation to vent at their cost?

handsfreemama Your Childs Online Reputation is In Your Facebook Hands Starting Now! 6. Turn off & become a “Hands Free Family“! If you are getting so frustrated with your child online or offline, maybe it is time you all schedule time offline!

A few months ago I was introduced to an amazing site called “Hands Free Mama”. I took one read at the first few paragraphs and it changed my life. Since that time I am a proud #Handsfreemama and our family is a proud “Hands Free Family.”

We now spend baseball games, basketball games, nights out to dinner with phones put away. We don’t tweet, Facebook or send texts unless necessary. We look our kids in the eye, listen to what they say and give them our full dedication during the time we are with them. I’ll tell you, it has changed our relationships, family and life.

If you are at all struggling with putting that new shiny iPhone away, take a stroll to www.handsfreemama.com. I hope that you too will join the revolution and challenge yourself and your family to do the same.

Just a few weeks ago we had dinner with some family friends. One of the 12 yr olds had his phone with him. He was complaining of getting bullied at school and on Facebook. The entire time he had his head down in his phone. He missed the conversations, laughs and ability to connect with other adults and his friends.

When we left the restaurant my son looked straight at me, hugged me and said “mom, I am so happy we are a hands free family.” He and I both had tears ready to stream down our face. It is moments like those that will change your life and help your child grow. Be the inspiration they need to turn off the tech and turn up the real life relationships they so desparately need.

We should look at our children’s reputation the same we do for our own and for our business. Think before you tweet, post and pin regardless if it’s about you, your business, or your kids. Inspire them to connect to grow and to achieve both online and offline. Inspire – connect – achieve!

What You Say? 

What are your thoughts? What tips do you have for parents? Do you see a trend toward good or bad with parents impacting their child’s reputation online? Have you dealt with this before? Are you ready to be the positive influence in the life of your kids, community and family? It starts with you!

About the Author

Pam

*Forbes Top 10 Social Media Women, Forbes top 50 Social Media Power Influencer - CEO / founder of Marketing Nutz, full service social brand, digital marketing agency. Social media marketing speaker, author, strategist, consultant, coach, & trainer. I help businesses of all size integrate social media into the DNA of their business, connect with target audiences to nurture authentic customer relationships. 15+ years experience working with Fortune 500, Franchised corporations with 4000+ local franchises to entrepreneurs and startups!

  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog RyanBiddulph

    Hi Pam,
     
    We never aired our dirty laundry offline, us Biddulphs, so we never would have done it online had I been raised in the cyber age.
     
    Wise words here. Keep it light on social networks. Ultimately, complaining is negative energy, and you will repel positive, supportive people by ranting more than once.
     
    We are human and allowed to let off steam. But we can also wait 5, 10 or 50 seconds before hitting “Send”. Use that buffer, it will improve your life!
     
    Thanks for sharing Pam!
     
    Ryan

  • TheSandyWalsh

    @BruceFraser fakking kids

    • BruceFraser

      @TheSandyWalsh fakking kids is an acceptable complaint.

  • SarahSawler

    @BruceFraser @braddormanx that’s a great post

    • braddormanx

      @SarahSawler @brucefraser indeed. Things I never thought about prior to becoming a dad, but common sense when you dial things back

      • BruceFraser

        @braddormanx @SarahSawler As parents, we all have those moments of frustration. But i don’t understand people who broadcast it online.

      • BruceFraser

        @braddormanx @SarahSawler As parents, we all have those moments of frustration. But i don’t understand people who broadcast it online.

      • BruceFraser

        @braddormanx @SarahSawler I’ve had to unfollow a lot of people who do. So toxic. I can’t imagine publicly complaining about my kids.

        • SarahSawler

          @BruceFraser @braddormanx I know. I don’t like it when people complain about their spouse online, either.

        • BruceFraser

          @SarahSawler @braddormanx i know! so disrespectful.

  • Bel4fan

    @MelissaOnline it always has been. Always have kept close tabs.

  • lindavonhof

    @roosvanvugt nog niet doorgelezen, maar titel klinkt helemaal waar natuurlijk. Dank voor doorsturen

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  • Gabriella_Rowe

    @s_bearden This is EXACTLY the conversation we need to be having with our kids right now! Bravo!

    • s_bearden

      @Gabriella_Rowe I agree! I am doing a parent coffee on digital footprints for parents next month and plan to share this post!

  • lisaodavis

    @s_bearden Brilliant. Thank you.

    • s_bearden

      @lisaodavis I agree! I was so happy to find this post!

  • http://www.brucesallan.com/ BruceSallan

    Pam, this is such a smart blog – not that I’m surprised ’cause it’s you! I believe EVERY parent must be conscious of not only their behavior online but their kid’s behavior. That means they have to invade their privacy and make it part of their parenting job. If their kids is on Facebook, then dad and/or mom have to be “their friend.” HOWEVER, that is the end of it. Dad and/or mom must NEVER say anything on their kid’s profile – EVEN nice/good things. The moment a parent “likes” something or says even “Congratulations” then it’s OUT that they are there and your kid’s friends will not be themselves or harangue your kids to get dad and mom OFF their profile.
     
    It’s like when you drive your kids and their friends around. If YOU shut up they will eventually almost forget you’re there and open up. You will learn things. Same with FB – visit their page but keep what you learn quiet. If something is going awry you can deal with it anyway.
     
    When they’re younger, NO COMPUTER should be in any other than a family public space!
     
    If your kids don’t agree to YOU having access to everything they do/have online, then NO COMPUTER.
     
    It’s that simple and that important!
     
    Thx Pam for yet more wisdom…

  • DJThistle

    @sheconsulting @PamMktgNut Thanks Esta!

  • susan.m.bearden

    Pam, 
    Thank you so much for this post!  I am the IT Director for an independent school and I am sharing this with our parents and with the broader education community on twitter. I tell our students that they should post nothing online that they would be embarrassed to have appear on the 6 o’clock news and this rule applies to parents as well!  Parents and their children need to understand that content posted online is there forever, and that no matter what their social media privacy settings, nothing posted online is ever “private.” It is very easy for words typed in anger or frustration to be forwarded, screenshot, or otherwise posted to a broader community than originally intended…with potentially embarrassing and/or damaging consequences for all involved.
     
    Parents wanting to learn more about digital footprints should check out http://www.commonsensemedia.org. They are a terrific organization and provide many resources for parents and educators about raising children in a digital age.  (Disclaimer: I have no formal affiliation with this organization but I refer parents and educators to it all the time because it is such a terrific resource.)
     
    Thank you again Pam, for discussing this VERY important topic!

  • handsfreemama

    Pam, thank you. You have raised a very critical topic in a non-judgemental way. We parents are navigating unfamiliar territory. What you have given is the gift of awareness. Perhaps some parents have not thought about the long-term consequences of posting their gripes about their children on social media.  Because of this post, I am certain many people will take pause. I have always believed the best way to air grievances with another person is directly. I try to model that with my children in the way that I deal with personal issues I have with others. I don’t go “public,” instead I try to work it out with that person directly. I want my children to do the same, even if their friends don’t play by those rules. I also feel that going public with family issues breaks a sacred trust—that what goes on in our family is OUR business, not the world’s. I truly believe that my daughter confides in me about her personal issues because I have never broken her trust. 
     
    I am grateful for your support of the “Hands Free” initiative. Every time I read how being “Hands Free” had impacted your family, it brings me to tears. To see a social media expert like you adopting a “Hands Free” approach to life shows that anyone, regardless how involved his or her life is with technology and social media, can create designated times to LET GO of distraction and grasp what really matters in life!

  • arkarthick

    Thanks for sharing, Ann @AnnTran_ Cheers! @PamMktgNut

  • autiglobetrot

    @PamMktgNut -LOVE it-will be reposting on my FB.Many people seriously don’t realize the amount of info they put out there

  • AbsoluteTranspt

    @PamMktgNut this is so so well put!As parents we nd 2 build our kids up-thru actions,words & + importantly love-no matter the medium/forum

  • Michele Quinn

    This is so true! Sometimes we overshare, which can be detrimental to us… in both business and personal arenas.

  • The Social Media Shop

    Posted about this on our site a while back after watching my teens online! Scary!

  • MissChanJ

    @SocialSavvyGeek @PamMktgNut Wow, I didn’t know that some parents put arguments with their kids on facebook… It’s very immature

  • PamMktgNut

    @ShellyKramer Thanks a mill Shelly! xoxo

  • Pocket_Health

    @tonia_ries Thanks for sharing this helpful info.

    • tonia_ries

      @Pocket_Health you’re welcome – always glad to be helpful!

  • The_Tela

    @Ginaschreck @PamMktgNut #parenting #mompreneur absolutely – not just posts but pics, captions and comments. Please be thoughtful, folks.

    • PamMktgNut

      @The_Tela @Ginaschreck I agree. Pics are super important too!

  • http://thecontentcocktail.com/ C_Pappas

    This is an excellent point. While there was no Facebook when I was growing up, an anology I will throw in is when you are arrested and your name shows up in the newspaper police log. You go to trial and are named innocent. There is no update in the police log – the only thing there on your record for any one to search on Google and find is you getting arrested. I always thought this was very wrong.

  • leshhs1

    @s_bearden #ptchat And we must educate our parents how to be connected so they can model for their children.

  • chris722

    @PamMktgNut Even more reason to keep what happens at home, at home!

  • TekTchr

    @jlubinsky @PamMktgNut Thanks! This is great! I’m going to retweet

  • Anthrofashnyst

    @jkcallas @PamMktgNut How true since schools are using it as a criteria for admission.

  • JennSurowitz

    @PamMktgNut Excellent post! Well said!

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