Internet Safety - Building The Right Online Reputation

Updated May 2021. It’s all about building a real digital presence, an online reputation that embraces the best practices of internet safety - building an online presence that lets you take advantage of the internet and not let the internet take advantage of you.

It’s just like life, it requires discipline to build it properly and yet you can still have great fun.

Teenagers need to realise that over the next 10 years they’ll post more than over the rest of their lives and that it’s nearly impossible to reverse their internet impression over the following years.

Internet Safety UK - Online ReputationOnline Reputation destroys careers every day.

Your online reputation walks into the interview before you.

Nobody says that it is fair, it is simply how it is, today more than ever people have already mind their minds up about you before you meet them. Always assume that the interviewer has checked out your profile online, seen your Snapchat feed. 

Understanding Posting

Find your style, don’t post simply to be popular, copied or shared especially if it isn’t you. That doesn’t suit everyone. It’s not a race to 5,000 followers, choose your friends wisely, don’t accept all friend requests.

It’s called social media not stranger media, they are meant to be your friends in the first place. Social media is called ‘social' for a reason, it’s intended to be friendly, social and positive - not a platform for meanness, bullying and fakery.

Be real, be nice, be yourself. If you have nothing to post, don’t post. Having 5,000 followers will not get you the job. 

Furthermore, if you don’t like content or the nature of a message just received, take a breath before responding, think, take your time.  Remember it’s social media not unsocial media.

Review your posts

There’s no substitute for knowing what your online presence says. Some of this you’ll know because you created it! However, an online reputation is a two-way street.  Sit down one day, see if what you have posted over the last 5 years would pass the ‘Grandmother test’. Would your Granny be impressed or annoyed, upset, that’s the test.  If you are shocked yourself, it’s bad.

Do you allow comments, if so what do they say?. Remember it’s how the world see who you are. If there are negative comments, read them, consider deleting them.

Remember Life’s fun but do we all need to know?

When you are a Teenager nothing matters to you but it does to others, you are creating your digital imprint on the internet now, building your online reputation, your digital presence. All the nights out, the fake tan, short skirts, all the flesh, all the tattoo’s, the booze-fueled fun, middle fingers to the world. It’s natural for us to share this online with friends. But is this all you share, is there anything else you could post to paint another picture of you, creating a better impression.

It’s important to know that others including your Teachers, Coaches, Employers, Parents, Colleges will be looking to get an insight into you. 500 nights out and nothing else, is that it? Won’t impress the coach, employer, family, potential partners. Probably not the picture you want to paint of yourself.

The relentless pursuit of followers is toxic

Happiness is an ever-growing social media base to flaunt in front of your friends and followers. Despite warnings from Facebook that a followers only approach is toxic. Influencers, Celebrities complain their social media accounts are nothing more than a hate-filled cesspit into which they dare not look. The internet is not a shoulder to lean on for support, not a place to share your innermost thoughts, but a road to travel carefully, especially if you are female or of colour. Mark Zuckerman, Facebook boss, has told us, they have done the maths, run the numbers, and it is this simple, got lots of followers you will get bullied by some faceless anonymous creep.

Active on Social Media?

Social media — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok — influence your online reputation. Consider the balance and making your presence online balanced.

Try keeping profanities to an absolute minimum or better yet don’t.  ‘F*** you ma bi**h, f*** I*g gre8t nite, all the bi***es were f***ed up etc, etc”. Once or very occasionally we can ignore but NOT every weekend. Learn to hashtag carefully, remember Google records your 500 #Bitch hashtags monthly especially when kids can post easily over 8,000 times monthly.

Post several times a week on social media not just Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Take advantage of the internet don’t let it take advantage of you. Employers will take note that you overpost when out socially at weekends, this is a red flag, they won't admit it, but it is.

Why is this important?

Remember Google, Social Media forgets nothing, they see and keep everything. Google can’t forgive or forget, (despite your right to be forgotten) it’s only a computer that’s all. Remember Google has no compassion, soul, has no kindness and can’t see the good in you. It’s just a computer designed to make money for Google, that’s it.

You need to take care of business because Google is, it controls mobile phone operating systems, 95% plus of all European searches. The same applies to Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram.

Older Teenagers need to realise that summer jobs, college admission, babysitting jobs, team selection, Coaches, first real job applications and interviews will be affected by their online reputation. Do you think that the coach of the U18s soccer team going for the cup isn’t interested in your online behaviours?

That’s just the beginning, all employers, banks, colleges check your social profile before meeting you because they can and it’s the easiest, best way to see if you are reliable. In our internet safety talks to 16,17,18,19 years olds, we make this very plain indeed with examples of real impact. One of the biggest parts of internet safety is to ensure that your online reputation is properly nurtured.

Police look at PhonesYeah, Right, Tried Stopping them lately.

The Police, Border Control

If the Police take your phone off you, it will be sent off for inspection, which might take up to 2 years. A report will be sent back with a breakdown of everything on the phone, including images, videos etc. Most teenagers seem surprised that the Police would take their phone off them in the first place.

Border Control in several countries will request password immediately which they're permitted to do. Numerous countries including Australia have to right to refuse entry based on what they see on a Phone. One exceptionally good reason to never Sext right there.

How not to do it | Snapchat 13-year-Old Boy

Boy in South London, talented footballer, unfortunately, addicted to Snapchat and good enough to make it professionally. He was being actively scouted by Newcastle Utd and West Ham. He was invited to FA sponsored schoolboy accelerator training. On arrival at the training, he was told by the senior coach no social media between players.

There had been aggravation between kids previously. Being 13, he ignored the advice as had every other player. 2 weeks later he was approached by the head coach, told he was upsetting other lads online. Coach told him, that he had 2 chances, and that was his first. The next time, he was out. Advise he ignored.

The kids were invited to Man City, some of the kids got 'stagefright' in front of the Man City players. Much of this was made afterwards on Snapchat, including some vicious memes. The next day on the way back to London, it was reported to the FA and the coach. The bus was stopped, he and his Dad were asked to leave, find their way home themselves. His mother broke down in tears after hearing the news. 

How not to do it | 15-Year-Old Girl on Porn site

Spoke to a 15-year-old girl, who wanted advice as she said her friends” boyfriend had posted a video of them together to a porn site. He refuses to take it down. Her”friend” doesn’t like it and doesnt understand why her boyfriend did this. His face doesn’t appear in the video, he boasts and roasts her regularly online about this video, sharing the link. Understandably she doesnt want to go to the Police, nor tell her parents either. Its only a matter of time until the video is shown to her parents. 

It was decided to approach the friendliest teacher in the school, seeking her advice. They hope the Teacher will explain the situation to the parents, and help her deal with the trauma. Someone is to approach the Police, to ask them to try a friendly informal approach to the porn site, requesting an immediate takedown and permanent block on the uploader. The Police will be relying on the goodwill of the site operators. Hopefully, the site operators will see the girls ‘point of view’.

Aside from the distress, this is a common everyday crime, which spills into every part of people careers, lives and futures. Hopefully, he will be caught and suffer the consequences or at the least, the site will completely scrub all references to video.

A good online reputation could get you a second interview, a bad online reputation will not.

It’s priceless, a good online reputation will give you chances, and maybe win you a job that your interview did not. It’s much easier to forgive a poor interview, write off to being nervous than a lousy online presence.  A great online reputation will open doors all your life.

BeSecureOnline - Internet Safety UK

Our internet safety talks for kids help schools, parents and their children understand the importance of parental control, social media, online behaviour, gaming and cyberbullying.

For more information about our internet safety talks for kids, teens and seniors - please contact us.

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