Importance of a Clean Social Media 

Importance of a Clean Social Media
Importance of a Clean Social Media

The importance of a clean social media profile is often overlooked. People don’t realize it is like a front window. I myself have not offered people jobs due to things they have said on their social media. It could be an immature quip about a laddish prank on a woman, but it exposes something about themselves. Your social media offers people a sneak peek into people’s lives and character in today’s world.  

I am not alone. When recruiters or admission counselors want to get a sense of the applicant’s personality, temperament, and beliefs, they go straight to their social media accounts. A 2020 poll by Kaplan Test Prep found that 36% of college admissions counselors visit applicants’ social media profiles, including Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram, and Twitter, to learn more about them.⁠ 58% of admission officers who did check social media say that what they found had a negative impact. Therefore it is increasingly important for parents to guide their children using social media. This article discusses how to clean up your child’s social media profiles and how to help them build a positive social media presence. If you want more advice on the general use of social media we have a collection of posts here

How to Clean up Your Child’s Social Media

Cleaning up your child’s social media feed is similar to helping them deep-clean their room after a long time. You want to check all the tight spaces where dirt could easily hide and clean them.  

  • Google your child’s name. Begin by Googling your child’s name. Ask them for the combination of names they’ve ever used online to help make the search narrower and more accurate. Googling those names is a sure way to bring up their complete digital footprint. Google would bring up their profiles even on less popular social networks, including abandoned accounts. 
  • Deactivate older accounts. Deactivating older accounts should be the second thing you help your child do. Unfortunately, most teenagers sign up and start posting on their social media accounts without really understanding the far-reaching impact of their posts. Subsequently, many simply abandon those earlier accounts and move on. However, if not deleted or deactivated, a college admission officer might dig up these accounts and will accredit those inappropriate posts to your teenager, even if they’ve grown since then.  
  • Begin from way back in your child’s history. When you’re finally ready to start cleaning up your child’s current social media accounts, begin all the way back, right from the time of creation. Admission officers or potential employers tend to go far back to understand the candidate better. So start analyzing from that first post your child made. Delete all inappropriate posts and the ones that don’t reflect their person currently. On a platform like Facebook, you can utilize the memory tab to delete or edit posts in bulk.   
  • Use the Grandma Test to assess posts. You may be wondering how to determine which posts to delete and the ones to keep. The Grandma Test is a great way to categorize your child’s posts. First, ask yourself if your teen would be comfortable showing you or their grandma in person with each post. If the answer is no, then delete the post. Also, look out for posts that contain racist remarks, drug references, and inappropriate comments about their teacher or high school. Memes and photos should not be left out. Delete all cynical memes and explicit images. Keep only posts that highlight your child’s personality and professionalism.  
  • Reduce your child’s presence across social media platforms. Even adults are sometimes guilty of stretching themselves too thin across social media platforms. This makes it too tricky to curate a positive online presence deliberately. So encourage your child to delete social media apps they don’t frequent. This would allow them to focus on just a few platforms where they can build a healthier online presence. Plus, it’s far easier to audit two social media accounts than five going forward.

All of this is the start of your child building a personal brand. Although at 16 it might all seem a long way off college applications do come quicker if you think.

How to Help Them Build a Positive Social Media Presence Going Forward 

After the cleanup, your teen needs to learn how to cultivate a more positive social media presence going forward. The real-time nature of social media makes it a real possibility for them to get into trouble for their most recent posts.  

Social media posts, especially negative ones, go viral all the time. Some to the point of catching a school’s or employer’s attention. Many social media users have faced unexpected consequences. To avoid something like this, read on to find out how you can help your child build a positive social media presence.  

  • Remind them to customize their privacy settings. Most social media platforms allow users to tag others in their posts. On Facebook, for instance, a post one is tagged in automatically appears on their wall. Anyone can tag your child on any post without customizing their privacy settings. There’s no telling what kind of post that could be. It could be racist, demeaning, or embarrassing posts. Your child could get into trouble for something they know nothing about, was simply in the background.
  • Make them understand that nothing they post online is private. It’s essential to impart this wisdom to your child. Many teenagers make the mistake of forgetting the incredible reach of social media and its far-reaching consequences. Caught up in the moment, they just want to post, and and and and and get something out of their system. Even if they realize the inappropriateness of the post and delete it shortly, someone might have screenshotted the post in question. Screenshotting people’s posts has become a growing habit online. The popular saying “the internet never forgets” embodies this to a tee. So make sure your child understands that nothing is private online. That even deleted posts can come back to haunt them. And that online activities have real-life consequences. Here is an article on internet safety for children.
  • Teach them the 10 o’clock news rule. When most people prepare to post online, something is driving them. Drivers include anger, disappointment, irritation, ignorance, pedantry, happiness, or sadness, just to mention a few. Any of these can influence the wording and content of the post, tilting it towards negativity or positivity. A good trick of the mind is to teach your child to pause and reflect, “Would I be proud to have this post accredited to me should it appear on the 10 o’clock news? Would I be inclined to defend it?” This brief pause of reflection can help put things in perspective for your child.   
  • Emphasize the importance of reality over social media. For every social media user, adults and teenagers alike, social media can be a chance to curate a virtual reality—a parallel life. As a result, many can get carried away and make themselves an open book. Or they may try to create a specific persona online. The above phenomenon tends to elevate social media over reality. In turn, this encourages the habit of posturing for online audiences, prompting people to post without pausing to consider the content of their posts. At its extreme, this can see a teenager become a social media addict. On that ground, emphasize the importance of reality over social media. Let your child know that social media isn’t a private journal, and they don’t have to post every moment of their lives. However, there needs to be a balance. Resist the urge to paint social media with a bad brush entirely. It does have its upsides.   

It’s Better to Have a Social Media Presence Than Not

After reading this article, you might be tempted to delete all your teen’s social media accounts and be done with it. But a nonexistent digital footprint can have a negative impact as well.  

In a survey released by Career Builder, 47% of employers say that if they can’t find a job candidate online, they are less likely to call that person in for an interview. 28% say they like to gather more information before calling in a candidate for an interview, while 20% say they expect candidates to have an online presence. This also applies to college admission counselors.  

To that end, it’s much better to help your child clean their social media feed and then help them build a positive online presence going forward. Friendships now are developed and cultivated through social media. Your children need to have access to this world, our role is to make sure they know the rules of the road.