Potential Magazine August 2014 - Page 6

life skills social identity social identity Child pyschologist Dr. Polly Dunn shares some advice on how to get your teen to understand the importance of maintaining a good online reputation. Do you ever wonder what life would have been like if there was social media in the 80s? Think about some of your teenage memories and the intensity of that age and then imagine the pictures you could have been tagged in if social media had existed back then. I’ve thought about it often, especially as my firstborn begins his senior year of high school. I mean truthfully, when I applied to college, other than finances, all I had to worry about was my GPA, my test scores, and getting my sorority recs turned in on time. That’s it. High school students now have the added pressure of managing an online reputation. And in today’s society, that’s no easy task. Creating a good online reputation is just as important as having a good reputation in the real world. College admissions officers and potential employers can do a quick search on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, or any other social media site and find out lots more about your teen than what they shared in their formal college or job application. Sororities and fraternities can even use information from social media to make decisions during recruitment. With that knowledge, it’s important that teens learn to manage their online reputation as soon as they begin using social media. Here’s how: T  ALK ABOUT IT. Talk openly and honestly to your teen about what they should and shouldn’t share on social media. In everyday conversations, use real world examples of social media done right and social media gone wrong to help them along the way. FOLLOW THEIR ACCOUNTS. I know it’s a lot  to manage, but routinely look at what your kids are posting on social media sites and give them feedback the good, the bad, and the ugly. If what they’ve posted is inappropriate, discuss it, let them correct the problem, and move on. B  E A GOOD ROLE MODEL. Let your teen follow you on social media and then model the behavior you want them to exhibit online, just like you would in the real world. And if you make a mistake and post something you wish you hadn’t, talk to them about it and then let them see you take steps to correct it. 6 GOOD NEWS! According to a recent study, teens are gettig fed up with bad online behavior. •  1% of teens say civility, etiquette and manners are 9 either important or very important to their lives. •  0% of respondents said that they most frequently 2 observe uncivil behavior on social media. •  2% said that social media is making us a less civil 9 society. Even Teens Are Getting Tired of Bad Behavior, ThirdParent THE GRANDMOTHER TEST Sometimes it’s hard for teens to know what is and what isn’t appropriate to share on social media. My advice is simple. Tell your teen to ask themselves if their grandmother would like their comment, status update, tweet, picture, or video. If she’d like it, and they wouldn’t be embarrassed showing it to her, then it’s probably okay to share it on social media. Dr. Polly Dunn is a child psychologist, wife, and mom of four. She is the director of the Auburn University Psychological Services Center and offers her ‘Practical Parenting Solutions’ at www.ChildPsychMom.com. www.potentialmagazine.com