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How Social Media Can Change Your Life

Updated on January 30, 2014

First impressions last

Employers use Facebook as a recruiting tool. Millions of job listings go on Facebook each year. Companies like the Gap and Pepsi use the social media site to post openings worldwide,

Posting your resume and a brief biography can speed job hunts. Also, keeping a clean Facebook increases your chances of landing a job.

You cannot take it back

The world has become smaller as technology grows. Instant communication makes business faster and brings families who live far apart together.

It also gives employers, family members, children and school teachers an opportunity to see your personal life. The use of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter began as ways for friends to post pictures and enjoy personal dialogs.

Now, these sites can lose you the job you want, get you fired or even kicked out of school. The way institutions use social media to gain insight into people seems intrusive but those doing it say it works.

Who looks at you

It seems odd for an interviewer to request the password to your social media account, but it happens. Employers will base their hiring decision on what they find on your personal pages.

If you have any embarrassing pictures posted or suggestive conversations, you probably will not get the job.

Brought to life as a place to reunite with old friends, make new friends and post pictures of the fun things in your life, social media sites now play host to HR managers looking for reasons to not hire you.

Companies secretly scanning Facebook profiles before the interview has reached about 20-percent. The person scanning does not need a password, just your name. Your name typed in any search engine results in pictures and profiles.

Are your kids practicing safe social networking?

Protect your children

School administrators, teachers and counselors have started checking the social media pages of students. Schools prohibit students from using campus computers to check their Facebook and other accounts. Most school districts block access to social media sites.

This means faculty members check student's activities that take place off-campus. Children need to keep their pages private and only accept friends they know and that parents approve.

Parents need to have full access to their children's accounts to monitor their interactions. Several tragedies have occurred in the past year that call for closer scrutiny of social media interactions.

Cyber bullying and even adults harassing young people have led to teen suicides. This represents the sad side of cyber anonymity. Monitoring internet behavior adds an ounce of prevention even when met with displeasure from your kids.

Teach by example

Adults often use social media sites to publicize their personal problems or their not-so adult-like behavior. With more employers using these sites as character references, airing your dirty laundry can now get you fired.

Kids copy their parents behavior and that includes cyber behaviors. Stop and think about what you post. Would you want your employer to see your wild weekend? Would you want your children to see it?

Your Child's privacy

Should parents monitor the smartphone and computer usage of teenagers 16 and older?

See results

Sexting and your sons

Sexting: The act of one person sending suggestive, nude or pornographic pictures to another's cell phone via multimedia text.

This practice has caused problems for teenage boys who open the message not knowing what it contains. When caught, the boys face charges of trafficking child pornography and possession of child pornography. If convicted, teenage boys as young as 13 will have to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.

Stopping minors from sending such messages means taking control of their cell phones by demanding full access to them and looking at what they use them for. Teens call this invasion of privacy while adults call it accountability.

Do you know who really reads your message?

In business writing, the content must stay concise and neutral. Follow these guidelines with text messages and emails as well. When you write, assume the person you do not want reading it will read it.

Judges like email and text message evidence because no one can deny what was said. The message even comes dated and time stamped.

Protect your family's online reputation

Protect yourself and your children's online reputation by setting rules and monitoring for inappropriate activity. Make sure:

  • You never instigate or become involved in online arguments
  • Your children keep their social media pages private
  • Your children only friend kids they know and never give their password to anyone (including teachers or school administrators)
  • You refrain from sending angry text messages and emails
  • Monitor your kid's multimedia messages and texts
  • Talk to your kids about internet safety
  • Teach your children to post only respectful comments and pictures

Remember the first impression a potential employer has of you comes from your social media sites and post carefully. Text messages do not always stay private and can hurt you in court. Your behavior influences your kids and they will follow your example.

© 2013 Brenda Speegle

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