You may have heard the phrase before, Digital Reputation or Digital Footprint and wondered exactly what that meant.
Your Digital Reputation is the impression others have about you based on your activities online. Everything you like, post, comment on, tweet, text or chat about, adds to your Digital Reputation.
It is important for everyone, especially children and young people, to be aware of where their personal information is available on the internet, who can access it, what others are doing with it and the impression they are leaving for others to find.
What are the risks?
Information posted online can be difficult or in many cases, impossible to remove, and extremely easy for a young persons friends to pass on or share to others outside their circle. This personal information, such as images or texts or online posts, could also be misused by friends they considered trustworthy. Images and words can also lose their meaning or be misinterpreted when removed from their original context.
When private information such as images, posts which were intended for a small group of friends are shared with a larger audience, it can negatively effect the youths relationship with unintended viewers. For example, young people might find it difficult to explain to parents why they are tagged in a photo posted online showing them drinking or with inappropriate and suggestive comments on a Facebook post.
Managing the Risks
Young people need to understand that it is their responsibility to protect their reputation both online and offline and as Parents we need to discuss this with our children. They need to consider how they are going to manage their own and others messages and images. They can do this via the security settings on various devices and also the security settings built in to most applications for mobile and the internet.
Parents need to discuss with their children the consequences of a negative digital reputation and damage that can be caused by not managing your own data security or acting recklessly with your own or others information and not considering the consequences.
It is also important to note that creating and/or distributing sexual images with/of minors may constitute the production and/or distribution of child pornography, even if the people in the image are willing participants, even if it is an image taken of themselves. They may be committing a criminal offence when taking and/or sharing sexual images of themselves or others who are minors.
Where Can I go for Help?
Visit our Cybersafety Websites resource page to find out more about Counselling resources, online Kids Help and other resources for Parents.
You can also arrange for Cybermums to provide our Cybermums Cybersafety Workshop for you and your friends to get hands-on training in how to apply security to devices and applications and how to monitor your childs online activity.