I joined Facebook a few years ago. I was newly single and did a fair share of partying. Back then social medial was pretty new, we didn’t think much of the long term impact of what we were doing so we shared a lot more (well I did anyway). There were a large number of pictures of me at parties, having a good time, drink in hand. No big deal right? I mean we all did and we all wanted to share the good time.
I have removed most of those photos, not because I am embarrassed or have regrets but because my children are getting older now and I don’t really want them seeing some of those pictures.
Recently I was scrolling through one of my twitter feed and noticed drunk photos being posted by teenagers. It was done innocently, they weren’t shaming friends, it was nothing sinister BUT there are now drunk pictures with that persons name attached on the world wide web. These kids haven’t started looking for jobs yet or applying to university but they now have drunk pictures as part of their online footprint. Should a potential employer google them, these are the things they will find. Should they one day find themselves in a custody battle, these photos can be used against them.
I check what Cameron shares on his Facebook feed, he s 12, he doesn’t always make smart choices and often doesn’t even fully understand cartoons or jokes and I don’t want one click of a share button to label him something he isn’t. We all know how unforgiving the internet can be, especially when we mess up.
When I was young we had to have our photos developed and you could only make copies if you had the negatives. So one photo couldn’t really travel too far, too fast and you could cut it up and it was gone. Now a photo is on the web forever and always, even when you delete it.
As parents, we need to make sure our children understand that what they post today will effect them later in life. Every day they are online they are adding to their online CV, they need to make sure that they are proud of everything associated with their name.
We can’t stop our children from being online, it is the way the world is going, but we can make sure they are smart about it!