Introduction for Kids:In your school, you're probably known for more than just your name. You may be the star basketball player, the most likely to succeed, or the best dressed. You work hard to earn your reputation through hours of practice, dedication to studies, or commitment to fashion. But how would you describe your reputation on the Web?
At school, it's important to have a favorable reputation, and it's the same with your reputation online. The good news about online reputations is that you can create the one you want. But the bad news is that if you've created a questionable online reputation, you could have problems getting into the college of your choice or getting the summer job you want. Some colleges and employers are checking the Web to learn about potential candidates, and because Web content is accessible to anybody who wants to search for it, information can be interpreted in ways you never intended. And online content can surface even years after it is posted.
Introduction for Parents/Adults:
When it comes to their reputations, teenagers are hyperaware. Geek, jock, goth, and other labels are shorthand for the way your students think of each other, and the school gossip network is constantly fine-tuning those labels.
Students know that it's not the positives that get notice from their peers. True or not, a Monday morning story about a student who threw up on the shoes of the Ultimate Frisbee team captain at a weekend party will circulate through the halls and affect a reputation a thousand times faster than news about someone who volunteers at a food bank and turns in every assignment.
- Today, over 45 million American teens are online. And 22 million American teenagers are creating actual Internet content of their own. Children as young as 7 years old can do and often do create their own content. Of the teenagers who surf the web, 20 percent write a blog, especially teenage girls. If your child has Internet access at home, school, the library, or a friend's house, chances are that your child is putting information online. (292)
- A study of 1,150 hiring managers by Careerbuilder.com found 26 percent of managers admitted to using search engines such as Google and 12 percent of managers said they used social networking sites like Facebook in their hiring process
- Of the 12 percent who checked social networking sites, 63 percent declined to hire an applicant based on what they found, citing lying about qualifications and criminal behavior as two of the top disqualifiers.
- The Careerbuilder.com study found 64 percent of hiring mangers had their hiring decision confirmed by information found online and 40 percent of managers said their decision was solidified by seeing that a candidate was "well rounded" and showed a wide range of interests." (293)
- Out of the employers surveyed, one in ten said they planned to review social networking site profiles prior to making a hiring decision. More than 60 percent said the information they see on these profiles will influence what they think about the job candidate, and more importantly, who gets hired and who doesn't. The other 40 percent are undecided as to whether or not the images and text seen on such sites should factor into a hiring decision. (294)
Want to learn more? Join Ms. Katie Koestner, a national expert on student safety and “teen relationship culture” for a special evening session “Parenting Skills for Cyberspace” on Wednesday, January 4 at 7pm in the Janet Root Theatre.