Harry L'École des Réseaux Sociaux
  • An online reputation is what other people think about you. It is shaped by your digital footprints; the content you create, post and share and the nature of interactions you have with others. It also includes the content that others have created, posted and shared of you or about you. Some of this content may be private, but much of the content that shapes an online reputation is public. Who you choose to connect with or follow online can also influence how others perceive you.
  • Others can see the type of reputation you have by searching for your name through a search engine or on a social media app. The results they find will give them an impression of who you are as a person and may reveal personal data as well. They may think positively or negatively about you based on what they find.
  • People who search for your reputation online could include new friends who want to know more about you. For a child, their school could also search for them to see how that child is behaving online. For adults, it is common for companies or potential employers to search for their reputation online before offering them an interview for a job.
  • Companies, groups and organisations – including schools – also have online reputations. These can be affected by personal online reputations of people who are part of or affiliated with them. They will usually have policies or agreements on how employees/members should behave, in order to protect an organisation’s online reputation.
  • Online reputations grow and develop with time – they can include content that has been placed and shared online over a number of years. A child’s online reputation may have started from birth or even before they were born – posting baby scan images or newborn baby photos of them on social media were the first steps in creating their online reputation!
Conseil L'École des Réseaux Sociaux
  • Discuss with your students what a positive reputation looks like – what can they do online to show the best of themselves and to help others see them in a positive way? Some students may already have an online reputation that can be used as a positive example.
  • Explain to your students that their online reputation can be shaped by others. When they begin to use social media or interact with more people online, it is important for them to check regularly what other people can publicly see about them online, and the impression that creates. One way to check this is to use a search engine to search for their name. As a class, choose a positive role model and search for them online – which search results lead to content they created to shape their reputation, and what content was created by others? Who does that role model associate with, and how does that affect their reputation?
  • Discuss with students what to do if they are unhappy about something someone has shared or posted that negatively affects their reputation. Discuss ways of respectfully asking people to remove the content, and strategies to pursue if that person declines (e.g. reporting the content on social media if it breaks the rules, asking a trusted adult for help).
  • Remind your students that their reputation can affect the reputation of others – such as their family or school. Considering how their online behaviour might also affect others is important.
  • Help your students to understand what privacy settings are and that they can control who can see the content they post online. Explain how they can make content more private and how this can prevent it from being included in public search results.
  • Encourage your students to work with a parent/carer to find and use privacy settings on any social media apps or games that they use.