Know that everything you put online (or a device) has the possibility of becoming “Public and Permanent“® – and expression coined perfectly by Richard Guerry, founder of the Institute of Responsible Online and Phone Communication (IROC2).

Majority of colleges are reviewing your teen’s online behavior prior to offering them scholarships.

Until 2018, surveys said that colleges, schools and businesses were monitoring candidates and applicants social media posts and contents. As of 2018, they took it up a notch. It’s now about online behavior.

Your online behavior is never off-the-clock.

Schools and businesses consider you an extension of their brand both online and offline. In an age where the majority of people spend a lot of time on their devices — one wrong click can cost you an internship, scholarship or employment.

In the spring of 2017, we witnessed 10 students that lost their college acceptances at Harvard University after posting mean memes on a Facebook private group page. Harvard stated, they didn’t accept this type of online behavior.

Your online behavior is a reflection of your offline character.

In Shame Nation book as well as in his hundreds of workshops around the country, Richard Guerry reminds us:

“Far too many people with technology are not stopping to think about the long-term repercussions of their actions. Digital tools were never designed for privacy. We’re going against the grain for what these tools were intended. By no means is everything going to be Public and Permanent®, but you have to be prepared.

Critical thinking starts early

Whenever you digitally document anything — anywhere — you need to realize there is a distinct possibility of it becoming engraved online forever. Parents should discuss this with their children with the analogy that the keypad is like writing with a Sharpie® (which is permanent), not a pencil ( which can be erasable).

Privacy settings can help, but as many of us may have learned, they are not always reliable.

Today we read headlines of many adults, as well as teens, that lose jobs as well as scholarships due to tweet regrets or post remorse. Is what you’re about to post going to embarrass you or humiliate someone else? Are you posting for short-term gratification, that may result in immediate or long-term ramifications?

We also have to be aware of our cyber-friends. Are they tagging you in less than appropriate images or making comments that could jeopardize your future? The cliche, you are who you hang-out with, doesn’t only pertain to your offline friends, it has meaning online too. It’s probably more important in the cyber-world where we’re all a click away from digital disgrace.

Consequences of what you post

It’s not only what you share, but how you share it. With a mindset of rethinking how we share online – we can take precautions to be more thoughtful with our digital resume and landscape:

  1. Is it necessary. Being mindful with your sharing is one way to be a responsible digital leader. People who overshare are typically frowned upon, less likely to receive help or empathy if they are bullied or harassed (and more likely to be bullied or harassed). This is a reminder that not everything we do offline needs to be documented online.
  2. Emotional sharing. Are you in conflict with a friend, your parents, a teacher? Social media is not a venting machine. Your cyber-friends are not your cyber-therapists. Take it offline with a good session of whine and wine (water) with your real-life friends.
  3. Inappropriate sharing. There is never a good use for profanity, sexual content, drugs, or any substance abuse. These sorts of irresponsible posts or behavior could put your future (potential) job opportunities at risk.
  4. Constructive sharing. Are you about to leave a rude comment? We all can’t agree with everyone – and that’s okay. These can be good opportunities to showcase our wisdom in our areas of expertise or our opinions, but we must be constructive, not combative. The minute you feel your fingers getting snarky – click-out.
  5. Know your audience. Who are you about to share content with? Friends, family, colleagues, boss, etc… Part of critical thinking is knowing your audience before you share your content.

Also read 6 Ways you can keep your teen from posting something they’ll regret.

If you’re school hasn’t had an IROC2 LIVE workshop, contact Richard Guerry for more information. Every student needs to attend:
Develop Your Digital Consciousness With The Public and Permanent® Live Event.