Kids are young, adventurous, and clueless by nature. Now they’re running around taking outrageous pictures and video on mobile devices. But on reflection, a lot of that media looks like a really bad idea.
What we’ve heard again and again is that kids have a college application declined because of their social media reputation. Or that your social media imprint essentially blacklists you with employers — even if you’re an otherwise qualified candidate.
But now I have some hard numbers to put to that. A new study from Kaplan finds that more than a third of all college admission people check to see what they can find about applicants through Google and social media background searches. What they find means about 16% of applicants are eliminated from consideration for admission!
If you have teens or college kids or you are one, hear this and act on it now. Don’t hear me now and believe me later. I don’t want you to learn this in the school of hard knocks when you are Tweeting, Facebooking, Google Plus-ing or whatever the next hot thing is.
Pictures and posts can hurt you. If your parents hear this and you hear this, don’t do the eye roll when they talk to you about it. Listen to me on this!
States come up with an “erase button” for kids on social media
Come January 2015, California will give its teens and pre-teens the ability when they reach adulthood to go back and “erase” digital history from their childhood years. Facebook and Twitter have already put these mechanisms into place to comply with the coming law.
Yet note this well. If something goes viral, you can’t put that genie back in the bottle. It’s only for the stuff that’s confined to your own social media outlets that you participate in.
Ultimately, the California law is one thing. But what’s more important is what you do in your own home in setting out rules as a parent with your kids. It’s going to take not just one, but multiple conversations with them to explain your point.
In the meantime, be sure to follow your kids’ social media accounts from your own. It is a privilege for you to allow them to do things on the web. So they should know that the deal is you’re watching them.
Every kid is different. Some kids you won’t have to follow that closely. But others if you don’t follow them, you’re just fooling yourself into thinking that everything is hunky-dory.