How To Protect Your Family’s Online Reputation
There was a time when the biggest threat to a family’s reputation was the neighborhood “gossip” living next door. Her loose lips could wreck havoc, causing a chain reaction of phone calls throughout the community in a matter of minutes. However, unlike the gossip that spreads on the internet, those phone calls would eventually die down when the newest juicy tidbits of half-truths became available.
Once something is posted on the internet, it can be downloaded and spread around the world before you are even aware of it’s existence.
Sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Youtube have changed the way the world sees us and our children.
Bullies post unflattering videos, stories and images across the web that can do enormous harm, as has been witnessed by the recent suicides of several youths over embarrassing videos.
As parents, we need to find ways to counter-act and protect our family’s online reputation.
The first step is to actively monitor the web. Do Google/Yahoo/Bing searches using your names in quotation marks. If you have common names you can put your name in quotations then add a plus sign and your city name. (i.e. “John Jones’ + “Atlanta”).
Next go to “http://www.google.com/alerts” and sign-up to have Google email you whenever new information is posted using your names.
If you find negative information posted about you or your children, you can use an online reputation management service to remove and monitor your information.
Ask your family and friends not to tag you in any pictures without your permission. Once your name is tagged to a picture, it becomes “searchable” on the web.
Start your own online personal branding campaign by posting positive information about your family’s activities.
Online personal branding is also a great way to build a profile for future employers or as school references. Many employers are wisely checking potential employee’s Youtube and Facebook profiles as character references. With personal branding you can project a positive image that reflects your best qualities. This means keeping the drunken party pictures in your wallet and not on the web.
The key is to stay aware of what is posted. Make sure your children understand the importance of protecting their reputation online.
Take control of your reputation by being pro-active.