Making healthy life choices is not just about the food that we eat, what we choose to drink, or whether or not we choose to brush our teeth before bed. It is also about actions, the type of people we become, and the impressions that we make on others. For parents, helping our children make their own healthy and smart choices is extremely important. And the choices that we make may directly impact our children.
Your Social Reputation
This month Responsibility.org wants us to think about how our online reputation may affect our children. This is actually something that I think about quite often. My kids Google me. One of them tells me this all of the time. Also, my daughters have private Instagram accounts and they follow me. My boys are too young to have any social media accounts, however they do know how to use Google. At one point or another all of my kids have Googled me, scrolled through my photos, and even shared information with their little friends while proclaiming that Mommy is famous! With this type of pressure I want to make sure that what they find is appropriate.
I have actually unfriended a couple of people on Facebook that were not close friends because of the content that they posted. Posts were filled with profanity, inappropriate images, and photos of them usually consisted of them holding some sort of drink in their hand. Looking at these posts was not adding anything to my online experience, so I decided that I did not want to see them anymore. I don’t want my own profile to make my friends, acquaintances, or especially my children feel that way. What type of example would that set for my children?
Social Networking Privacy
Because of what I do for a living none of my social media accounts are marked as private. However as mentioned above my girl’s Instagram accounts are marked private. They know not to accept requests from anyone that they do not know. And they have been given talks what it is ok to share and not share on social media. While my accounts remain public I use common sense when posting information online. I don’t do this only for the benefit of my job. I do this for the benefit of everyone that can see my online profiles. I remember that my accounts are public so I am careful about posting personal information and the type of information that I share. We all share the harmless funny video every now and then, but be careful about the type of funny content that you decide to share. It shapes your reputation. Brands may bypass working with you based on content found on your social media accounts. We have heard on the news about people that have lost jobs because of things that they posted on social media. While we may not always think it fair, it does give you something to consider. What would your employer think about your social media account? When my children are old enough to have other social media accounts, I will show them exactly how to lock down their content to ensure that only close friends and family can see what is posted.
Over the past year, Responsibility.org participants have shared thoughts during the #RefreshYourFunny campaign. The campaign is aimed at giving parents something to think about when posting online jokes surrounding alcohol use. We have all either done it ourselves, or liked or commented on a friend’s post about needing a drink or wine. And while our thoughts at the time might be innocent… it may send a different image to our kids. Check out the below video from the campaign which is a fun, but enlightening conversation with some kids about what kids think that their parents talk about on Facebook. It also includes comments from Haley Kilpatrick of My Girl Talk.
Speaking of kids seeing things on social media… You may remember that last year I surprised my children with a trip to Orlando. I kept the vacation a secret for months and told them on the morning that we were leaving. However one of my daughters knew the secret already. How? She was playing with one of my devices and saw my Facebook post about the trip. And if she saw that post that means that she saw my other posts as well.
Setting a Responsible Social Media Example
I think about what I post on social media for the benefit of my children. Think about it… what would your kids think if they were to scroll through each and every post or image that you have shared on social media? What type of things do you share? This is not only important for parents. In the past I have held workshops teaching high school students how to think responsibly about their social media usage. All it takes is a few minutes for any potential employer to do an online search. What they find could decide your fate with their company. And with today’s children being tech savvy it only takes them a few minutes to find Mommy or Daddy’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter accounts. And what are they finding?
On Facebook we may see a lot of videos being passed around showing what is considered the funny side of intoxication. This could be someone falling, slurring speech, singing, or anything else deemed funny. While I may see these videos on Facebook, I do not share them. Glorifying the funny side of alcohol use may give our children the impression that we think drinking the amount of alcohol that it takes to get to that state is ok, and it’s not. Consuming large amounts of alcohol is definitely not considered a healthy choice. It is important that our children know this. Instead of sharing posts that glorify alcohol consumption consider sharing useful information about helping your children make responsible choices, and helping them say no. As our children get older ensuring that they will make responsible choices when presented with alcohol becomes increasingly important. Don’t wait too late to have the talk.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org. All opinions are my own.