Building a Positive Reputation

Digital communications are “sticky.” Anything communicated through digital media remains accessible indefinitely, which is great news when you have . . . great news. Accomplishments are easy to share, easy to track, and there are plenty of forums for positive interactions that speak to your awesomeness.

But, these same features can pose a problem when something online could damage your reputation. Positive online reputations matter:


As educators, we want to help our youth build an online reputation that is an asset rather than a liability. Here’s a quick outline of what media can do for an individual’s reputation, as well as a description of how each action can support positive growth or create risk.

Document Accomplishments
This can support positive growth by . . . providing a way to share and celebrate successes, like finishing a race, acting in a play, or publishing an article in the school paper. It can also document a pattern of success that will follow them into future academic and professional opportunities and open doors among others with similar interests.

This can put users at risk by . . . making information accessible online that might compromise your security or that you don’t want others to see. Help teens limit who can view profiles and blogs, and teach them to clean up their privacy settings from time to time.

For example, Facebook adds new settings at times and often sets the privacy setting on the loose side. Go to Account…Privacy Settings and go through each item to be sure that “friends only” may view photos, etc. Check each feature to see if they are where you want them. I even go so far as to disable all Facebook apps such as family tree or typing. When you add Facebook apps, you give each app creator permission to have some of your personal information. I stopped being comfortable with that and removed all the apps I had on Facebook. To play around with this feature, go to Account…Privacy Settings…Apps and Websites.

Foster Self Expression
This can support positive growth by . . . providing a place where they feel heard and acknowledged, with the freedom of distance inherent in mediated communication. That is, youth may be more likely to express themselves openly when there is low risk of in-person challenges.

This can put users at risk by. . .allowing youth to feel anonymous, enabling them to say and do things they wouldn’t otherwise say or do. Given that youth already lack judgment due to an unfinished frontal lobe, taking away another layer of safety could increase their risk of posting something they don’t foresee as harmful.

Have a Conversation
Here are a few conversation starters for talking about online reputation with your students:

Video: Here are the real-life stories of two college freshmen and how their online reputation affected their opportunities: Project PRO video for educators

RELATED ISSUES
sexting, cyberbullying, pornography exposure, social networking, cheating, plagiarism, copyright, theft, sexual harrassment, boundary invasion, unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors

RESOURCES AND LINKS
* From our friends at Reputation.com: Five Online Reputation Management Tips for Students

WORKS CITED
1. Johnston, Stuart J."Microsoft Survey: Online 'Reputation' Counts." 27 January 2010. Retrieved from http://www.internetnews.com/webcontent/article.php/3861241/Microsoft-Survey-Online-Reputation-Counts.htm

 

Glossary Terms: Faraday Bag, Browser

 

Prevention

Document C3 Framework: Promoting Responsible Use This document points out that school policies and instruction often do not include all Cyberethics, Cybersafety, and Cybersecurity (C3) topics. In some cases this causes schools to miss the mark when it comes to C3 issues and how they correlate with human behavior. It goes in depth about C3 issues to help readers better understand this topic.

URL Faux Paw Curriculum Faux Paw the Websurfing Techno Cat series has been created by a team of leading child psychologists, educators, and law enforcement. This engaging curriculum—complete with books, animated DVDs, and lesson plans—will captivate the attention of your students and teach them how to appropriately conduct themselves online and in the digital space. Take advantage of these proven and valuable assets in your classroom today.

Detection & Intervention

URL Faux Paw Curriculum Faux Paw the Websurfing Techno Cat series has been created by a team of leading child psychologists, educators, and law enforcement. This engaging curriculum—complete with books, animated DVDs, and lesson plans—will captivate the attention of your students and teach them how to appropriately conduct themselves online and in the digital space. Take advantage of these proven and valuable assets in your classroom today.

URL Sexting Fact Sheet This fact sheet summarizes key issues about sexting for parents and educators.

URL TextEd A Canadian Web site that educates about text messaging. Contains an "Acronictionary" that defines many text message acronyms.

Incident Management & Response

URL Faux Paw Curriculum Faux Paw the Websurfing Techno Cat series has been created by a team of leading child psychologists, educators, and law enforcement. This engaging curriculum—complete with books, animated DVDs, and lesson plans—will captivate the attention of your students and teach them how to appropriately conduct themselves online and in the digital space. Take advantage of these proven and valuable assets in your classroom today.