posted by on Internet Privacy, Internet Safety, Online Privacy, Safer Online, Security Online, Uncategorized

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DPDay1Data Privacy Day is Thursday, January 28th, 2016.

For people who are very cautious about their personal information and money, online shopping seems like not such a good idea at all. But if you choose not to shop online, you are missing many great things it can offer for you.

Better relax and read the following safety tips that might be pretty handy if one day you decide to surf the internet retailing world. If you use these tips, you will avoid all cyber criminals for sure and get a chance to enjoy excellent online service as much as you want without any doubt.

Search for the little lock

One of the easiest and quickest ways to ensure yourself that you are shopping at a safe e-store is to find a small lock icon near the website’s address. This lock indicates that the site is safe, and you can bravely shop there using your credit card.

HTTSTo make things more certain, look for the letter “S” at the end of site URL address too. So if you see that website’s address starts with HTTP instead of HTTPS, better reconsider if you really want to shop there. But if the site has both letter “S” and lock icon – you can be confident that you are safe to shop here.

Shop only at stores you know well and trust

Sometimes small websites might seem like a perfect place to shop because it can offer something unique and at modest pricing. But if you want to protect yourself from online fraud, I would strongly recommend you to skip shopping at unknown small stores in general.

Creating a fake website is a piece of cake for cyber criminals, and they can make it look really real in some cases as well. So better shop at brands you know well and trust. For example, e-bay, Amazon, or Target and JCPenney have pretty great websites, and brands are pretty big to protect their domain as well.

Also, be aware of misspelling as well. One wrong letter can take you to a fake e-store even if that looks exactly like a store you intended to shop at. Furthermore, beware sites using a different top-level domain, for example, .net instead of .com and so on. These sites can turn out to be fake too.

Never buy online coupons

Another thing you should keep in mind is about coupons and discounts they gift. You should never purchase a coupon online! Since coupons are in some way similar to money, copying and selling them is illegal in many States. And if you see a website that offers you to buy a coupon – never do it.

Always update your antivirus program

Sometimes you can be very aware of everything, but still lose your personal data and even ruin your personal computer! So avoid that, and prevent cyber criminals from getting into your computer by always updating your antivirus program. It is just essential if you want to shop safe and sound online from the beginning to the end.

Take notice that good and professional antivirus programs might cost a bit, so if you want to protect your computer the best, you might going to open your wallet a bit. On the other hand, there are some free programs as well, which protect your personal data pretty well and help your computer work efficiently.

CyberCriminalShop at home

You should always remember that any kind of public network is always less safe than your personal one at home. Public networks at your work, or even worse – at a café, are very easy to hack for cyber criminals since they usually are protected very weakly.

On the other hand, it is necessary to remind you that shopping with a public computer is even worse than shopping via a public network. All computers collect and save information about you, and a public computer is not and exception. For instance, if someone sits down after you at a computer in internet café, he can steal your information in a second.

And finally, you can’t really trust everyone in this case. Even at work, there might be some people who will use your lack of self-protection. In fact, it is pretty easy to spot your credit card numbers in public and some people even manage to guess the password you use just by looking at letters you type on your keyboard. So the logical solution to all that is to shop at home with your personal computer and with your home network protected with a strong password.

Guest post by Amber Smith, Digital Creative

posted by on Cyberbullying, cyberbullying prevention, Online Safety, Social media, Social Networking

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Social-Media-Overshare-blogA  report from UCLA actually is confirming what I have been saying for a long time – oversharing on social media is putting you at potential risk for becoming a victim of cyberbullying or digitally shamed.

Recent evidence suggests that bystanders are even less likely to intervene with online compared to offline bullying. Given that receiving social support following bullying can buffer victims from maladjustment, it is important to consider specific factors influencing bystanders’ intention to intervene and help the victim in online contexts. The current experiment examined how cybervictims’ disclosures (i.e., sharing personal information) on Facebook influence bystanders’ attributions of blame, empathy, and intention to intervene on behalf of a victim following a cyberbullying incident.

What does this mean?

People have less sympathy and empathy for those that over-expose (overshare) themselves and end up being ridiculed or harassed than those that are innocently minding their own business or have fallen victim to an online prank.

When you constantly are seeking self-approval through your cyber-“friends“, have you de-cluttered your friends list lately?  Are they your real friends or possibly people that don’t have your best interest at heart?

FBFriendsListWe have mentioned this many times – you can create lists on Facebook of your closest friends and families for your  pictures or questions.  Don’t share them with your collection of 2000 virtual friends you barely know! Since you must realize by now — that can multiply off their friends lists too….. Before you know it – your photo, that may be questionable or simply private, has now gone viral.

Think Lindsey Stone.

She initially was clueless that her photo on Facebook would set-off such a firestorm and was quickly shared multiply times until she became a headline.  (If you don’t know the story, read the details – it’s very sad).

How can we stop sharing too much?

Let’s start by considering what we’re about to post.

  • Why is it important to broadcast it to your audience?
  • Who truly cares about this post (especially if you want to post that you’re eating a banana). Do we want to wait to see what friend will make some type of unsavory comment about that?
  • Why is this post important to your timeline?
  • How will it affect your social media footprint?
  • If it is something about family or vacationing (maybe fun in the sun with your latest bikini. Is there a jealous friend that could add a slamming comment?) Have you considered creating a list to those that do care or would be interested in viewing these comments or photos?
  • Bad day at work? Is it important to share that with your timeline? Consider who’s on your friends list. Maybe gather your closest friends over for a “whine and wine” session. Or simply call your best friend. Social media is not a good venting place for this type of laundry.
  • It’s not what you say — it’s how you say it. Keep in mind, opinions are what makes us all unique. We can all agree to disagree in a constructive and nice way.

Remember, yes free speech is our first amendment right, and so is free will for college recruiters and employers to use search engines to determine if you’re a good fit for their campus, business or organization.

Free will also is the right of those cyber-friends to make comments on your pictures, or even tag you in comment and images that may not be flattering to you. People can be mean – it’s that simple. No one is immune to digital cruelty, the more you expose yourself in a way that is less than respectful, the less likely people will empathize with you and want to help you when you are virtually drowning.

Oversharing, over-exposing yourself on social media, according to the recent study, not only puts you at risk for cyber-shaming, it can potentially set you up for scarring your online resume.

As Jaana Juvonen, a UCLA professor of psychology and senior author of this research stated:

“Young people need to understand that by revealing personal issues publicly online, they may make themselves more vulnerable to attacks from those seeking to harm others.” 


Video courtesy of Microsoft Safer Online.

posted by on Cyber Safety, Digital citizenship, Online Life, Online reputation, Social media, Social Networking

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With two surveys recently released, it’s time to check-in with how we’re doing as a digital society.

As far as parents are concerned, they are doing better, according to a recent PEW Survey. They are becoming more engaged in their teen’s activity online including knowing their teen’s passwords (see graph below).

Not to be a Debby Downer, but what about the other 52% – 57% – and the other social media accounts? However this is much better than when parents weren’t involved in their child’s cyber-life. We are beginning to see progress.

Nearly half of parents know their teen’s email password; roughly a third know the password to at least one of their teen’s social media accounts

What I was excited to see was the conversations that are now taking place. I frequently write about discussing online life – offline.

When it comes to guiding their teen about making the right decisions, parents discuss “real life” behaviors somewhat more often than online behavior. Virtually all parents – 98% – report ever speaking with their teen about what is appropriate or inappropriate conduct in school, at home and in their social lives, with 56% saying they have these conversations frequently.

Similarly, nearly all parents say they talk with their teen about appropriate behavior in various online platforms. For example, 94% of parents say they ever talk with their teen about what they should share online, while 92% say they talk with their teen about what constitutes appropriate online behavior towards others.

What’s interesting is that parents of younger teens (13-14) talk more frequently with their child than parents whose teen is 15-17. This is concerning since the older teen is getting ready for their college admission or employment.  They especially need to be conscience of their digital resume (however I’m not saying to neglect the conversation with your younger teen), since all digital discussions are imperative. Your cyber-impression is usually the first one your college recruiter or potential employer will know about you.
Parents of younger teens especially likely to have frequent conversations about acceptable online and media content
Another reason why staying in touch with your younger child is so important brings me to the second report by ChildLine.

Of the total number of counseling sessions ChildLine conducted from 2014 to 2015, 35,244 of them involved children experiencing pressures from social media and cyber-bullying, worries that were considered to be non-existent among young people 30 years ago.

It went on to say that previously the biggest concerns of children at the time were family problems, pregnancy, physical abuse and sexual abuse.

Loneliness and low self-esteem have replaced sexual abuse and teenage pregnancy as the most common reasons youngsters call ChildLine, a study marking the 30th anniversary of the helpline found.

These are all reasons for parents of all age teenagers and tweens to continue to open their lines of communication offline about their online lives. In combination with going online with them.

Back to the PEW Survey, most parents said they check-in with what their teens do online and on their social media accounts and will implement consequences if they see their teen has crossed boundaries.  65% of parents have removed their cellphone or Internet privileges, while 55% have limited the amount of time their teen can spend online.

Interestingly, parents of 13-17 monitor their teen’s digital usage in a variety of ways (review the graph). What is more important is the frequency that parents chat with their teens about their online behavior (review the bottom graph).
Most parents check what their teen does online and on social media and talk with them about acceptable online behavior
Considering we are making strides in general about offline discussions about online life, it’s good to know that parents are realizing that digital dialogue is important to your teen’s future.

I’m going to wrap this up with a final survey that came out recently by OfficeTeam.

No matter who you are, from tweens to teens to adults (including parents) — your social media mistakes matter.

This is why starting early, learning young and being proactive now can prevent you from making cyber-blunders for your future.

Eventually your teen will be searching for employment (maybe you will be or are). According to this recent survey,  62% of Human Resource Managers cited that posting negative or inappropriate comments on social media reduced their chance of being hired.

Digital Blunders

Digital Blunders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Especially for the older generation that believes that not being on social media means your free from digital blunders, think again.

According to statistics, not having a any virtual history is just as risky as having a spotty one.

Why?

  • What are you hiding?
  • Do you have an alias?
  • Maybe you’re not tech or digi-savy. Even if the job isn’t in IT, most employer’s want someone that can at least use a computer.

So we go back to why our offline conversations are so important about online social behavior. Discuss these reports – it’s important to understand that it’s not only teachers, mom and dad telling your teens to behave online — it’s literally their future.

We have come to a point in life that keystrokes and clicks will determine your college, your job and in some cases — maybe you’re next relationship.

PS: I know older teens aren’t the easiest to chat with, tips to open the lines of communication.

 

 

posted by on Cell phone safety, Cyberbullying, Cybersafety, Facebook safety, Online image, Online Safety, Oversharing, Social media, Social Networking, Uncategorized

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SelfieNationNo one is in the dark about the selfie generation. It seems everywhere we go people have their phones in place taking photos of themselves — and posting them on various social platforms.

We’ve read that some forms of selfie love can be about building a teen’s self esteem, however in many situations it goes far past that. From the competitive LIKE’s count, to re-doing their photo until perfection, the selfie world can drive teens to a new level of stress and sadness.

It’s not only teenagers.

With technology and social media – it comes down to a healthy balance. When is too much – too much?

In a recent survey by OfficeTeam, 62% of Human Resource Managers said posting negative or inappropriate comments influenced their decision in hiring that applicant. In their top five list of social media faux pas,  number two was:

  • The Superfluous Selfie Poster has no shortage of social media photos, but they’re not exactly always office-appropriate, and there are enough of them to suggest an inflated ego. Advice: Remove or untag yourself from any images that may raise eyebrows. Use a polished profile photograph.

This recent infographic, courtesy of Rawhide, offers some insights of how a selfie obsession can be unhealthy if not addressed.

It’s important to take note of the 3-R’s they’ve listed to help you and your teenager to start to get control of a selfie obsession.

Before you snap your next selfie – consider the following.

Selfie obsession: Rise of the Social Media Narcissist

posted by on Bullying, Cyberbullying, Cybersafety, Online harassment, Online Safety, Online Scams, Oversharing, Parenting, Parenting books, Parenting Teens

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IdentityCrisis

Order on Amazon today!

YA author and Boston Globe journalist Melissa Schorr talks about her new catfishing novel IDENTITY CRISIS.

I recently read this riveting book. It took me less than two days to finish – it’s a page turner you simply can’t put down!

This fiction novel that parents and tweens and teens should read, can not only open up a dialogue about online life but can also open up conversations about offline issues that our youth silently struggle with.

I recently asked the author, Melissa Schorr a few questions about writing Identity Crisis:

What is your new book for teens, IDENTITY CRISIS, about?

Identity Crisis is a modern-day look at cyberbullying, false online identities, but also timeless friendship in the high-tech age. The story revolves a “catfishing” scheme when a high school girl named Annalise falls for an online romance with a mysterious guy — only to discover that three female classmates are behind the ruse. The story is also told from the perspective of Noelle, one of the girls who regrets her part in the scam as she increasingly grows close to Annalise.

What motivated you to write it?

Sheer terror. I have two daughters heading towards tweendom, and the pitfalls for girls in today’s social media landscape seem so immense. My memories of being left out of parties and cliques in middle school are traumatic enough, but it all seems so much more potentially toxic today, with teens posting “online beauty pageants” and “ugly girl polls” online. I would never have made it out of middle school alive. The fact there is now a name for bullying a child online to the point of suicide — “bullicide” — just horrifies and saddens me.

What do you hope teens will glean?

I suspect many teens just tune out lectures about internet safety from teachers, parents, and cyber-experts, or think they know better. This is a more natural way to engage teens, get them to really imagine the risks, and feel the emotional ramifications of being duped online or hurting someone else. But I’m not a total technophobe! The story also spotlights the potential upside of technology; the power of social media being used for good.

Tell us some fun facts about the book.

Book clubs can be good for much more than wine and conversation — I was chatting about the challenges of publishing with a fellow member who happened to work in the industry. She ended up passing along my manuscript to my editor, and eight weeks later, the book was sold. I got that magical call when I was on vacation with my family in Disney World. I was literally checking my email in a bathroom on Tom Sawyers Island in the Magic Kingdom. So, yes, I tell my daughters, as the motto goes: dreams really do come true!

Thanks so much Melissa!!!

I encourage parents of teens and tweens to purchase and read this fantastic novel. What a great book to be able to have a discussion about!  Yes to book clubs all over!

You can read my review in the Huffington Post.

posted by on Digital citizenship, Digital Life, Online Life, Online Privacy, Online profile, Online reputation, Online resume, Social media, Social Networking

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JobOnlineAccording to the latest survey by Career Builders, 1 in 5 employees are determined to land a new job in 2016.

At the same time PEW Research released their survey entitled, Searching for Work in the Digital Era.

A majority of U.S. adults (54%) have gone online to look for job information, 45% have applied for a job online, and job-seeking Americans are just as likely to have turned to the internet during their most recent employment search as to their personal or professional networks.

The Internet can be your best friend while searching for you next employment or career move.

Roughly one-third of Americans have looked for a new job in the last two years, and 79% of these job seekers utilized online resources in their most recent search for employment. That is higher than the proportion who made use of close personal connections (66%) or professional contacts (63%) and more than twice the proportion who utilized employment agencies, print advertisements, or jobs fairs and other events.

Taken together, 80% of recent job seekers made use of professional contacts, close friends or family, and/or more distant personal connections in their most recent search for employment – nearly identical to the 79% who utilized resources and information they found online.

Roughly one-third of recent job seekers say the internet was the most important resource available to them during their most recent employment search

Now that we have determined the importance of the Internet, it’s imperative you understand the importance of  your digital resume and the use of social media.

According to PEW, social media is an asset when used effectively.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans now use social media platforms of some kind, and a substantial number of social media users are utilizing these platforms to look for work – and also to pass along employment tips to their own friend networks. Some 35% of social media users have utilized social media to look for or research jobs, while 21% have applied for a job they first found out about through social media, and 34% have used social media to inform their friends about available jobs at their own place of employment. In addition, 13% of social media users say information that they have posted on social media has helped them get a job.

Social media users from a range of age groups use these platforms for employment-related purposes

Going back to a Career Builders survey from this past spring of 2015, you will find that your lack of digital engagement is a hurdle you don’t want to find yourself in for two reasons:

There are adults that have refused to engage in social media, whether it’s setting up their LinkedIn profile or having a Facebook account — for various reasons. If you find yourself suddenly out of a job in your mid-40’s or 50’s and realize you don’t have a digital trail, you need to get typing. You might be out of a job longer than you can afford to be.

1 -35% of employers are less likely to interview  you if they can’t find you online according to a Career Builders survey. Why?

  • What are you hiding?
  • Maybe you don’t have any or lack digital skills.
  • Maybe you lack social media skills. Even if the job doesn’t call for it, some employers like to have people that are in touch with trends in technology.
  • Do you have an alias?

2- 52% of employers are using social media to screen their potential candidates. That is a significant increase from years prior according to the recent survey. Don’t risk     your digital resume not being part of today’s landscape.

Let’s keep in mind, content can help – and some content hurts.  Your social media behavior matters.

According to the survey, these were the following top five pieces of content that turned employers off:

  • 46% – Provocative or inappropriate photographs
  • 40% – Information about candidate drinking or using drugs
  • 34% – Candidate bad-mouthed previous company or fellow employee
  • 30% – Poor communication skills
  • 29% – Discriminatory comments related to race, religion, gender, etc.

No matter how old you are, you need to be conscience of your online behavior.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression – today more than ever, your first impression is likely your digital one. Your keystrokes count.

posted by on Parenting, Parenting Blogs, Parenting Teens, Parenting tips

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Use the phone this holiday season

Use the phone this holiday season for out-of-town relatives!

It’s the holiday’s – and there’s no debate, tradition rules. You must learn to use your voice over your keypad.

With technology – a text just isn’t enough.

You aren’t going to get away with sending grandma and grandpa a text message. Great Aunt Holly and Uncle Jess need more than a emoji to know you are thinking of them.

We are living in a fast-paced society where we talk about unplugging yet rarely do it.

However it doesn’t mean we can’t connect with our voices if we aren’t able to visit our relatives or close friends over the holidays.

In a PEW Study this past summer, although texting is the most common form of communication for teens – when it comes to close relationships, especially their closest friends, they prefer to connect through the phone.

Call your family members – reach out and say hello.  Especially those that will send you a gift or a thoughtful card. Don’t text a message of gratitude – call them with message of thankfulness with meaning behind it.

Why do we need to call instead of text?

  1.  A phone call is in real-time. You show the person they matter – and are worth your time.  It’s not just a few keystrokes during something else you are doing.
  2. Hearing someone’s voice is always so much more special. I don’t think we can ever know what it means to an elderly person when they receive a call from their grandchild (young adult) from far away – or any relative that is lonely. Young people take for granted what it’s like to hear the voices of themselves to others. This isn’t only for elderly – everyone likes to hear the voice of a friend or relative at the holiday time, knowing they are being thought of.
  3. Old-school matters. There’s nothing wrong with putting tradition back into our lives. Just because texting is the new form of communication, it doesn’t mean it’s the best form to show your loved ones you care – especially at the holidays. Let’s keep some things the same.
  4. No room for misunderstanding. Let’s face it, with today’s text-talk, many people don’t understand the lingo and sometimes conversations can go astray. When you literally talk, there is less likely any room for miscommunication. Chat for real – it matters.

Gram99As someone that lost my last grandparent this year, I can share with you that I wish I could make that call. At 99 years old, she never texted. It was always a call and although she was hard of hearing, even with those hearing aids, she looked forward to all her calls from her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Never, ever put off a phone call to that special person. Especially the elderly. They enjoy your voice.

For some reason your text messages and emoji’s just don’t sound the same.

Facts about texting.

posted by on Digital citizenship, Digital Life, Digital Parenting, Internet profile, Online profile, Online reputation, Online resume, Sexting, Social media, Social Networking

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What is sexting?

Sexting is sending sexually explicit messages via cell phone or instant messenger. As technology has advanced and cell phones have the capability to record and send photos and video, the practice of sending suggestive and explicit pictures has increased, especially among teens however adults are active participants too.

SextingBoysThere are several studies that will give us a variety of results about teens and sexting. Recently released in the journal of Sexual Health, was a study of 2100 high school students.

  • 42% have received a sexually explicit image
  • 43% have received a written sext message
  • 54% have sent a written sext message

No matter what the studies reveal (there are many reports out there), the fact is, there can be serious consequences for sexting.

I understand it’s today’s version of flirting, however this type of flirtation can be risky – not only from a legal standpoint, but with your future as it pertains to employment or college admission.

Why?

Because your future matters – it’s time to discuss the legal ramifications – parents have a responsibility too.

Your digital footprint is your other concern. You don’t want to risk your name tagged or connected with questionable images or content.

According to a 2015 Career Builders Survey, 46% of job applicants were passed over due to their provocative or inappropriate photographs.

Having knowledge is power.

Last month I reviewed a report that shared that teens were not aware of the severity of sexting:

  • 61% were not aware that sending texts could be considered child pornography.
  • In the study, 59% of respondents reported that knowledge of legal consequences “would have” or “probably would have” deterred them from sexting.

It’s a parent’s responsibility to empower their children with the knowledge to make good choices about how to use all forms of technology and social media. But how can parents approach “sext education”?

Start talking: When your kids hear news of sext crime cases, initiate a conversation. Talk about how sexting leads to negative consequences even for adults.

Just do it: You may not get a perfect time to break the ice, but don’t wait for an incident to happen. Be proactive and use the APA study to open the lines of communication.

Make it real: Kids don’t always realize that what they do online is “real-life.” Ask them to consider how they would feel if their teacher or grandparent saw a provocative comment or picture. Remind them there’s no rewind online and no true delete button in the digital world. Comments and photos are not retrievable. Especially with teenagers – talk about colleges and employers.

Address peer pressure: Teach your kids to be self-confident and take pride in their individuality. ‘Am I pretty enough?’ is a burning question for many young girls today. It takes just a few keystrokes to help them feel good about themselves — or exponentially worse. Acknowledge that social pressure to participate in sexting can be strong. But remind kids that public humiliation stemming from it can be a million times worse.

Give them control: If kids receive unwanted sexually-charged messages or pictures, they should know what to do next: Be the solution. They should tell you or another trusted adult, and never forward or share those messages with friends.

In closing – we don’t need studies, statistics or more sexting crimes to understand that this behavior is not acceptable – at any age. Just because people want to say it’s common, doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.

posted by on Cyber Safety, Internet Predators, Internet Safety, Online activity, Online Safety, Parenting Blogs, Sexual Predators, Social media, Social Networking

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As we enter the holiday season, kids, tween and teens will be spending more time online.

Recent studies from Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) that 81% of parents believe they know what their kids are doing online.  87% in this same study say they do have rules in place for technology use.

Talk with your teen face-to-face.

Talk with your teen face-to-face.

In my opinion, we can read these stats all day long, however unless we are conversing with our child offline and working with them online, it’s difficult to gauge exactly what’s going on with them in their virtual lives.

Parenting in today’s digi-life is completely different yet almost the same as it was a generation ago. 

Why?

Because we still need to be able to keep our lines of communication open – and no matter what generation we are in, chatting with a teen or tween can be a struggle, yet it’s imperative to our child’s health and well-being (online and offline).

If they’re not talking to you — who will they take up a conversation with?

You don

Infographic is courtesy of  http://www.rawhide.org/.

 

posted by on Cybersafety, Digital citizenship, Digital Life, Online image, Online profile, Online reputation, Reputation Management, Social media, Social Networking

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giftofsocialmediI wrote an article for Huffington Post, Your Online Reputation Doesn’t Take the Holidays Off.  Why?  Because I was browsing Facebook one day and stunned at what people will share – or should we say – overshare.

It isn’t only photos – there are videos that can be questionable too.

Since it is the holidays and it can be a time of gift giving, there are some people that are difficult to buy for.

With teens especially it can a struggle – besides all those tech gadgets, the list can be limited – unless your budget includes a new car.

Giving the gift of digital presence is priceless.  Helping to give your teen a digital lift into their virtual life is a great way to showcase their talents, hobbies, interests and other attributes. By the way, it’s great for their college admissions too.

Have you considered giving a friend or relative a gift of digital presence?

Do you have a friend or relative that is unemployed and could maybe use a digital lift?

As a victim of online defamation, I know firsthand what it is like to struggle with a tarnished virtual image.  Fortunately many people haven’t gone through the malicious attacks I have been through – but today the slightest scarring on your virtual resume can potentially eliminate you as a job candidate.

Don’t be fooled – not having a digital footprint can be just as risky.

It’s simply part of today’s world:  Surveys are showing higher percentages of employers are performing Internet searches on a job applicants name and finding reasons not to hire people due to their social media behavior or hire them because of their social media presence.

In either situation, you need to be in control of your online image.

Learning how to manage your online reputation is not difficult, but can be time consuming.

The first step is simply setting up your Google Alerts – which many people know already, but have neglected to do.  This gives you an alert when information is posted about you.

Next you need to start building your online presence – your digital real estate.

Whether it is a website, free blogs (through WordPress or Blogger), and signing up for free social media networks – such as Facebook, LinkedIn, About.me, Google+, etc…. you need to be proactive in building your digital image.

Most important is keeping it truthful, consistent, and current.  Be active – be engaged – be interested and interesting!  Remember be kind.  Your social media behavior is also being judged.

Does all this seem overwhelming?

Just add your name!

Just add your name!

This is where the gift of online reputation comes in.  Back in 2006 I was fortunate to meet one of the pioneers in online reputation management world. They literally saved my career and my online life. In 2006 we didn’t have the world of social media that we have today. It was built on blogs and websites – today, you have a smorgasbord of social platforms to build on!

In addition to all the social media that we know the kids have for free, consider buying your teen (or niece, nephew or friend) a URL of their name, it’s very cost effective. GoDaddy has them as little at $7.99. Building their own website can help them in creating their brand for who they are – including their interests, community service events, sports and more. Hosting is another reasonable fee to launch their site. The best part is each year thereafter – you can renew this gift as their holiday present!

It’s part of our life now. Your digital impression will most likely be the first impression someone knows about you – let’s make it a good one. Start ranking your website and virtual real estate this holiday season.

Keep in mind – your digital behavior is a priority on all platforms, from blogs to Twitter to Facebook or Instagram — even Snapchat which you believe vanishes….. always pause before you publish anything on any screen, including zipping a text message off – just stop, before you hit send. Read it. Read it again. It’s listed under my 5-E’s of Social Etiquette…. Exhibits… could it ever come back to haunt you as an exhibit in court?

Sure, sounds extreme, but it won’t if you’re ever a victim of a sexting scandal or anything that involves people taking your computers or devices for your messages or emails. It’s not about thinking anymore, it’s literally pausing and stopping before you press that send key.

EXTRA Special Holiday Gift from Cyberwise!