“But everyone’s doing it, Mom!” Not only is social media contributing to the annihilation of your child’s grammar and spelling, but it may also be destroying his or her chances at a promising career down the road. The combination of social media and impressionable youth is like Pandora’s box, releasing the evils of the world for all to see, tweet, post, like, and comment on. What your son or daughter thinks is “cool” to share with friends on social media today, may come back to bite him or her in the career butt later, which is totally not cool, man.
Not all young adults are committing career suicide on social media; some are actually using it to bring awareness and attention to important matters like bullying, abuse, self-harm, and illness. However, a vast majority of what is posted online by the younger generation could jeopardize their chances of landing jobs in the future, if parents don’t take the necessary steps to educate them about the consequences of being careless online. A recent study conducted by On Device Research surveyed 6,000 individuals within the age range of 16 – 34 and found that:
– “One in ten young people have been rejected for a job because of their social media profile.”
– “Nearly two thirds (of the surveyed individuals) are not concerned that their use of social media now may harm their future career prospects.”
– This age group (16-34) is more likely to alter their profiles to impress their friends as opposed to prospective employers.
The overall lack of concern by young adults about how social media can and will negatively affect their careers is astonishing. If your child doesn’t care about his future, then you (the parent) need to take action for him. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources out there to help parents educate their children on the good and bad of social media. Digital Royalty University produced the Parent’s Guide: The Other Talk for this exactly reason. For $40, parents are given a toolkit to help their children on the path of “social media success.” The toolkit includes a class with lessons, live demos, downloadable guides, and activities that the parent and child complete together. The following five tips can also support your efforts to safeguard your child’s future career from social media destruction.
1. A diamond is forever. Scratch that, the Internet is forever. In other words, anything and everything you decide to share online has a permanent digital footprint that can be traced and retrieved, despite any efforts to delete it from the public’s view.
2. Think before you tweet. Remind your child to think twice about sharing something on social media. A good rule of thumb: If you don’t want your parents or your teachers to see it, then don’t post it.
3. Undercover mother (or father). Monitor your child’s social media account by creating a fake account and “friending” or following him under an alias. I know many parents who have done this and found out some pretty interesting things about how their children were behaving online. Your child will probably think twice about posting anything else that may be incriminating or embarrassing if he/she knows that you’re capable of finding out.
5. If all else fails, make your child recite The 5 Commandments of Social Media Etiquette: 1. Thou shall not insult; 2. Thou shall not use careless grammar; 3. Thou shall not post incriminating pictures; 4. Thou shall not lie; 5) Thou shall not be confrontational.
Don’t let social media ruin your child’s chances at a successful career in the future. Educate kids early on to ensure that they are aware of the consequences and impact of being careless online. Your child might be one drunken picture or post away from spending the rest of his/her life unemployed and sleeping in mommy and daddy’s basement.
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