When It Comes To Social Media is Your Teen Losing Out?

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Potential Impact on Your Teen’s Life and Career

Facebook offers great opportunities for teens to socialize and meet others, but social media sites like Facebook can have a negative impact on the lives and the careers of teens. Many teens just don’t realize the harm social media sites can cause when discretion is not used and the profile page is public.

Discretion, a Valuable Skill Teens Need to Navigate the Social Media World

When teens think before they post on Facebook and other online websites they learn to use discretion. In the world today many teens live their lives online. They share and post to friends on a public profile, without considering who may be viewing their comments and activity or what affect or chain of events, their posts could cause. This NPR article captures the significance and devastating consequences of regrettable Facebook posts. We as parents need to help our teens understand that anything they put on social media sites could have painful repercussions to their lives and to those they love. Not to mention that it could also reflect on them poorly in the case of a prospective job if a potential employer checks their public social media content and activity. Golden rule: never post anything unless you want the world to know about it.

Teens’ Public Profiles Highly Visible to Employers

Many teens post comments and images without a second thought as to who can see their activity. They may be building an image on Facebook of who they want to be, instead of who they are. This can be a mistake that could impact employment possibilities. If the Facebook profile page is public then anyone can see it, including potential employers. Privacy settings are easily confusing and you may believe fewer people are reading your post than actually do. Look here to learn how to set Facebook Privacy settings.

More and more employers have turned to using social media in the hiring process. The website Career Builder found in a study that “37% of employers use Facebook to screen potential employees.” And, there are also the traditional screening tools in a recruiter’s arsenal: background checks, credit checks, employment verifications, etc., to help employers determine the best possible candidates for a position. With the recent economic turmoil it is tough enough for teens to succeed in the business world and compete with individuals that have more experience and skills. Though you may get some push back at first, have a conversation with your kids about their social media activity and talk about the consequences that can result without careful thought.

Teens Should View Social Media Sites Like Their Front Lawn

A good concept that I have used with my kids is to view Facebook as their front lawn. If a teen would not post a sign or shout the comment from the front yard, then they should not post it online, neither on Facebook nor any one of the other social media websites. Would they want their FB “friend” shouting the message they are sending from their front lawn? For my kids the answer was a decided no, and they thought that this analogy really helped put things in perspective. With a different way to look at it, teens can make sure that they are much more selective about their newsfeeds, posts, and other online content.

We’d love to hear how you’ve handled this topic with your teen. Leave us a comment to let us know how the conversation went!

  • Have you ever posted something on Facebook that you regretted later?
  • Have you ever gotten in trouble for a post or other content online?
  • Is it better to keep your profile private, even though this may limit your social media results? Why or why not?
  • How much time do you spend each week on social media websites like Facebook?
  • Have you ever posted a comment that was hurtful without thinking it through or considering the other person’s feelings? Did you wish you could take it back later?

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