Your online reputation is the way people perceive you based on what you say or do online. Everything that you post online, and everything that others post about you contributes to your online reputation.
What are the risks?
Be careful about what you say and do online. The things that you post about yourself or other people online will affect your reputation in your real life. Photos, comments and social networking posts will determine how you are perceived by other people online and offline. Your online reputation can follow you around for years to come, and may be seen by people you don’t know, including potential employers.
- Think before you post anything online! Sharing a silly photo of yourself may seem funny right now, but it will stay online forever and can easily be passed around beyond your circle of friends. Images and words can be viewed, copied and shared by strangers around the world, and can easily be misinterpreted.
- Treat others the way you would like them to treat you, and always be polite.
- Modify privacy and search settings on your social networking accounts. Ensure that the only people who have access to your profile are the ones you don’t mind sharing your personal life with.
- Always check photos tagged by your friends and remove the ones that you find offensive.
- Google your name to see what information about you comes up.
Tips for parents
For safety and privacy, parents can help their children understand the concept of online reputation, and help them to establish a positive one from the start. It is important for children to be aware of where their personal information is available on the internet, who can access it, what others are doing with their information, and what kind of impression they are leaving for others to find. Parents need to discuss the consequences of having a negative digital reputation with their children. Encourage them to post things that are sincere, helpful and constructive.
Creating, sharing or even possessing sexual images of minors may constitute production or distribution of child pornography. Parents should help their children understand that they may be committing a criminal offence when taking or sharing sexual images of themselves or others who are minors.