Protect Digital Disaster Article

Tuesday,May 03, 2011

Protect Children From Digital Disasters

With every post and click your children are creating a digital reputation.  A positive online reputation can open doors for educational scholarship and employment opportunities.  A negative one will have the opposite effect.  Often, your digital reputation is the first impression someone has of you.  That’s one reason parents need to communicate with their children about their digital reputations and to keep checking their Internet activity.

Expert Opinion

As Davina Pruitt-Mentle, director for Educational Technology Policy, Research and Outreach at the University of Maryland, says, “As a parent, it’s important to know about digital reputation – for kids to understand their future in terms of admission to college, internships, externships and scholarships, whether it be academic or sports.  But more, they need to understand the consequences down the road.”

Forty-three percent of job recruiters eliminate candidates due to negative content found online.  At the same time, only 3 percent of people self-search online for reputation problems.

What to do and the American School Counselor Association have teamed up to provide families with a number of resources that will help them build an online reputation that is an asset rather than a liability. 
Suggestions for creating a positive online image:

  • Maximize networks.  Use online communication and tools to connect with people you know including teachers, coaches and employers.
  • Use e-portfolios to share your creativity and interest for college admissions and scholarships.
  • Share your expertise and passions. 
  • Share your skills, knowledge, and creativity for employment and Internships.  Too many young people, however, make choices they may regret later. 

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned  Pregnancy:

  • Seventy-one percent of teen girls and 67 percent of teen boys who have sent or posted sexually suggestive content (known as sexting) say they have sent it to a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • One five teens say they’ve sexted even though the majority know it could be a crime.

Helpful Resources

To help families understand the impact of online reputation go to

- Accidents resulting in
injuries in 2010

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